the Braille institute has created Via
(Visually impaired apps), a resource for
the visually impaired who want to see
what’s available—and accessible—in
the world of mobile apps for idevices.
apps listed on Via are sorted by category,
price, and itunes app store ratings to
help visually impaired users easily find
a cross-section of useful apps.
Blind or low-vision users can search
categories such as accessibility,
entertainment, health, k– 12 education,
navigation, news, productivity, reading,
magnification, and social networking.
in the forum, users can also suggest
and discuss apps they find useful, track
new apps that fall into categories that
interest them, and develop an interactive
community of visually impaired app
users. learn more at brailleinstitute.org/
If There’s an App for That, ViA Lists It!
VoiceOver speaks content on the screen. can be controlled with on-screen gestures, Bluetooth Qwerty keyboard, or braille
device. enables compatibility with braille displays.
Zoom enlarges items on the screen. Users activate Zoom by tapping
twice with three fingers and dragging their fingers up or down
to control zoom level.
Invert Colors reverses contrast to show white or yellow text on black
Large Text increases font size in mail, imessages, and notes up to 56
Built-In Accessibility Features
Expanded Core Curriculum
How do high school students communicate these days? Do they call each other
on the phone? No. They text, tweet, and
post on Facebook. If students with visual
impairments can’t network with their
peers in this manner, they are left out of
the social loop. iOS devices can support
students with vision impairments in the
areas of social communication, daily
living skills, and orientation and mobility. These are domains of the Expanded
Core Curriculum (ECC) for students
with vision impairments.
iMessages, Twitter, and the Facebook app are compatible with VoiceOver and braille displays. Additionally, apps such as Look Tel Money
Reader enable a blind student to
identify paper money. Finally, GPS
apps, such as Sendero Look Around
and Navigon, support orientation and
mobility skills when students are out
in the community.
reads text aloud when the user highlights it on the screen
and then touches speak.
launches apps, makes an appointment, writes a note, or creates
a document by voice command.
enable productivity in a portable manner, facilitate
social networking and daily living skills, support
orientation and mobility skills, and even bridge
the gap between braille and print.
An iOS device can provide timely access to curriculum,
Improvements to Accessibility
With the release of iOS 6 in September 2012, the built-in accessibility features have improved at no additional cost to the user. Enhancements to vision accessibility features
include the ability to run Zoom and
VoiceOver simultaneously; access via
braille display to Item Chooser, which
presents elements on the screen as a
list, allowing users to quickly navigate
through them; and the compatibility
of VoiceOver with Maps. And Siri—
Apple’s voice-recognition feature—
is available for the iPad 3 and the
newest iPad with retina display.
Using Siri, a student can now
launch apps, write a note, or search
the web through voice command
(Wi-Fi access is required).
Is it perfect? No. But when you consider that iOS technology has been
around for only a handful of years,
you can’t argue against its potential.
And you can’t beat the price. Until
now, “blind technology,” or expensive
third-party software, has been the