Apple Accessibility

Hello Everyone,

I hope you are all doing well.

I recently got an apple watch, and I also have an iPhone and MacBook Air and thought I would outline why I love apple and their accessibility of all their products. After seeing the new commercials they are running showing how people with disabilities use their products in everyday life. Even better is that the people in the commercial were not being portrayed as inspirational for being able to use the products, but that they enhanced their life and they could use them like everyone else.

Having a product that you can go into the store open up and have it accessible right out of the box is huge for me. I love that I can take my apple products out no matter what it is and set it up myself. I do not need to buy extra software to install on it or wait for someone else to set it up and then turn on the accessibility features for me. The level of independence that I can have with the apple products is great.

I love my iPhone for all of the things that it can do to make my life more accessible. I have many apps on my phone that I use throughout the day to do daily things. I have a GPS app called Blind Square that is a great help when going somewhere new especially. I have two apps that help with finding out what things are such as a box from my pantry or even what color something is. Those two apps are TapTap See and Be My Eyes.I also have all of my social media apps on my phone so that I can interact with all of you !

I use Voice Over on my Apple products this is the built-in screen reader that comes on all of Apple’s products. It will read out whatever is on my phone screen and allow me to do everything a sighted person can do on their phone. I can send e-mails, text messages, even take photos as it will tell me how many people I have in the frame and where they are in the frame.This is available on all of their products, even the Apple Tv making it my go to because I can scroll through Netflix or iTunes to find something to watch without needing my family to read out the program guide.

The Apple products that I have and use on a regular basis are MacBook Air, iPad, iPhone, iWatch, and Apple Tv.

The fact that Apple has made accessibility a priority says a lot, it also shows so many other companies that it is possible and if you take the time to make products accessible you will have people who will buy them and appreciate it more than ever.

Thanks for taking the time to read !

Until Next Time !

Ashley and Rick

Adaptive technology for the Blind

Hello Everyone,

This is part 2 of my last blog post on Apps for the blind and partially sighted. Today I am going to talk a little bit about the things that I use daily or almost daily. There are a lot of products out there that are designed for the blind or partially sighted. I have tried many things over the years and these are the ones that have lasted the test of time and I still use. There are times when the technology in theory is good but when the practical reality of life happens and it is not all that convenient to use it.

So the first thing that I use for more than most of my day is my iPhone. I told you about the apps I use in my last post so if you have not read that one check it out. There are more things that I use my phone for that I did not mention such as siri for the weather but I don’t find I am much different than most people now a days with their phones being attached to them.

IMG_0358.JPG

The next thing that I use quite a bit is my liquid level indicator, this is good for making tea or anything hot. When it is cold I just hook my finger over the top of the cup but when it is boiling water common sense kicks in and I use the liquid level indicator. If I do not have it with me I will use the echo from the liquid pouring into the cup the is usually successful but has it’s times when it is not.So how the liquid level indicator works is that it hangs over the side of the cup and it makes a high pitched very annoying sound so you stop pouring instantly and take it off your cup just to make the sound stop !

 

Braille is a big part of my life and I use it daily for reading, making lists, and also for labels around my house. I use braille for things like canisters of pasta or a bin of flour and sugar. I have a  braille labeller that makes strips of braille with whatever I need it to say. This is very handy as I don’t need to have anything else with me other than my hands to read what is in the container.

IMG_0344.JPG

My Pen Friend is something that I use every day. I have talked about it in my blog before but since this is about the technology that I use I am including it. The Pen Friend is a device that looks like a large pen, it will read and record on the microchipped stickers. I use this for medications, canned goods, makeup, recipes the list of uses is endless. It is very convenient to use and is really one of my top products after my phone.

IMG_0351

I also use bump on dots around my home, these are not really technology but they are very helpful. They come in all different shapes, sizes and colours. I have bright orange ones because I used to be able to see the orange colour. They are helpful on things like microwaves and stoves for marking temperatures or certain buttons.

IMG_0356

GPS this is something I have said that I like to always have with me especially when I am travelling alone. I do use my phone with the apps like Blind Square and Google Maps, but I also use a device called the Trekker Breeze. This is a hand held device that does not rely on a cellular signal and data to use it, which is why I use a combination of the two. The Trekker is handy for marking out bus stops and putting in many different routes and adding in voice memos about your route like construction on the next block or keep left because of sidewalk signs. It will also tell you what type of intersection you are coming up on so four lanes two way traffic. It gives you lots of information which is especially helpful when you are travelling a new route. You are also able to put in a new route by putting in your starting point and end point, you are then able to go in a listen to the route turn by turn so you have an idea of where you are going.

IMG_0353

The last thing that I live on and use more than once a day is my Macbook Air. I am a mac user because it is accessible out of the box and I do not need to purchase expensive screen reading software to use it. I also find the screen reader Voice Over to be very easy to use and navigate the computer from everything like emails to editing my YouTube videos and writing my blog.

IMG_0357

In order to be successful in life as a person living with blindness I have had to make my world accessible. A lot of the time this just means thinking out of the box and using some creative methods. However with the advances in technology I feel like there is nothing in my way for living my life my way. Technology has come so far even from when I was in school back in (well lets not discuss how long ago that was ha ha). In fact had I had the technology there is now I would have been much more successful and on the same playing field as my peers in school.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post today and if you have any questions about how I use any of these and would like a video on it please let me know and I would be happy to do that. If you are curious where to get any of these products I can also provide that information.

Until Next Time !

Ashley and Rick

Apps for the Blind

Hello Everyone !

I hope you are all well, my family and I have been enjoying our holidays and are dreading going back to reality in a few days, but it was sure nice while it lasted !

There are so many products and apps out there geared towards people who are blind or partially sighted, so today I am going to tell you about some of my favourites. The ones that I use on a daily or almost daily basis are the ones that I am going to focus on.

These are the ones that work for me and that I like, they may not work for everyone. This will be a two part blog post to keep it from being too long. The second post will go up tomorrow. The second post will focus on the products and this post will focus on the apps.

The apps that I have on my iPhone 6 that I use daily or almost daily are:

be-my-eyes

Be My Eyes – This is a great app that you are able to ask questions to a volunteer on the other end such as “what colour is this shirt”, “what temperature does this need to be cooked at ?” You are able to do this by the app accessing your camera on the back of your phone. This app works pretty well you are able to ask questions rather than just take a picture, however sometimes it can take quite a while to get someone to answer your call as it is all volunteers. The other downfall is that it is only available for iPhone right now. The app is free for those with an iPhone.

Crowd Viz – This is an app very similar to Be My Eyes and has the same concept, but you do need to pay to use the volunteers help, you get so many free calls when you download the app, then you will need to pay for the rest. Some people don’t like to have to pay for things like this, but the app does have a much quicker response time than Be My Eyes. I like to have options and never be stranded when I need to borrow someone’s eyes. So I am willing to pay for this service if necessary.

tap tap see

Tap Tap See – This app takes pictures using your phones camera again. After it takes a picture of say a price tag it will tell you what it is in the picture. So it works well if you are looking for say a can of tomato soup and you have two options. This app can be useful but you do have to pay for the pictures after you use up the initial amount you get with the download of the app. This isn’t great because if you don’t have something facing the right way you can use up 3 or 4 pictures trying to get the information that you are looking for depending on what you are using it for. It does pretty well for colour recognition if you are using it to determine say your pink shirt from your black shirt. I have also used it to determine if the bathroom sign is the women or mens when there is no braille, it works really well for that.

FaceTime or Facebook Video Messenger – These are great options when you are out and about and need to ask someone you trust a question about something. For example when I go makeup shopping I will usually ask the store clerk if something looks good and then I will FaceTime my friend and ask her opinion because she knows me and my style and I trust her more than a stranger. Also say you are at the store looking for tampons and don’t feel like using Be My Eyes and asking a complete stranger if the ones you are looking at are super or regular you can video chat with family or friend someone who will just laugh along with you. I also use this when I am clothes shopping if something fits and I think I like it I will call and ask my husband or friend if it looks good. I like that I can go out alone and live my life but have the option to get a little help with the visual things when I need to. I have also used this when I have gotten turned around and a little lost. I called a friend and asked her what was around me and where did I need to go. There are many many uses for these two options.

blind-foursquare

Blind Square – This is a GPS app that is intended for people who are blind or partially sighted. It will give you turn by turn directions to a location you have put in, or it will help you to locate what is around you. For instance if you are travelling alone and want to find a coffee shop you can use this app to help you find what coffee shops are around you and then it will give you the turn by turn directions to get there. It is nice to have this right on your phone so that you do not need to carry around another device with you. You can put in your favourite and most used places as well. This app is great if you get turned around or are not sure where you are exactly as well. I think it is always important to have a GPS with you whether it be on your phone or a external GPS because when you can not see where you are going it is not hard to get a little mixed up and no one wants to feel the panic of “I don’t know where I am”. This app has been great and I really like using it.

OverDrive_App_300x250

Direct To Player / Overdrive – These are apps that I can borrow audio books from the library and listen to them on my phone. This is great because I can still use the library services and read books for free rather than paying for them all. These apps are very easy to use and are geared towards people who have low vision and are using a screen reader.

audible

Audible – I am sure we all know what Audible is at this point, but for those who may not, it is a audio book app. You can purchase audio books and listen on the go. I may have a slight problem with reading books and needing to have many on the go at once. It is great to pass time and I love to read so this way I am never without a book !

These are the most used apps on my phone that make life easier and more accessible. If you have an app that you love please let me know, I am always on the look out for new apps that will make life more accessible.

Thanks for reading !
Until Next Time !
Ashley and Rick