AppleVis Unlimited: What's New in Accessible Apps for February 2015
Welcome to the February 2015 edition of AppleVis Unlimited, our new monthly series which aims to highlight what’s new and noteworthy in the accessible app landscape. Below, you’ll find a recap of the best content posted to AppleVis - from new app entries, to app updates, to podcasts and blogs. For easier navigation, the major sections of this post are at heading level 3, and each individual item is at heading level 4.
New and Noteworthy App Entries
Blindfold Video Poker (Free; offers in-app purchases)
Created by the authors of Blindfold Racer, Blindfold Blackjack and Blindfold Solitaire, this game is designed for rapid audio play and is fully accessible without need of VoiceOver.
Current version: 1.1 (January 29, 2015)
Blackjack Free! (Free; offers in-app purchases)
Blackjack, also known as 21, the card game found in casinos all over the world can now be experienced on your iOS Device.
And, what’s even better is that it’s from the same developers as Dice World, who once again have pulled all the cards out to ensure that their newest game is 100% accessible with VoiceOver.
Current version: 1.0 (February 17, 2015)
A complete list of all recent iOS App Directory entries is available here
Noteable App Updates
BBC News (UK Version) (Free)
Last month, we were expressing our disappointment at how the BBC had dropped the ball in terms of accessibility with the release of version 3.0 of this app. So, it’s been great to see two updates released in February, both of which have explicitly addressed some of the accessibility issues introduced in that release. There’s still some work to be done before this app is back to the level of accessibility that we have come to expect from BBC apps, but we are nearly there.
Current version: 3.0.2 (February 27, 2015)
The knfbReader app converts printed text into high quality speech to provide accurate, fast, and efficient access to both single and multiple page documents. Features such as the Field of View Report, Automatic Page Detection, and Tilt Control all helped to make this an immediate hit with blind users when it was launched last year and a category winner in our Golden Apple Awards of 2014.
Released in February, the version 1.4 update has added a number of new features:
- A new design for the file explorer, now all files in one table instead of three seperate tables.
- Text recognition on images from email or the camera roll.
- Vertical tilt detection added.
- Optimized VoiceOver and Braille display support.
- New import/export user-interface and optimization for import/export functionality.
Current version: 1.4 (February 17, 2015)
Voice Dream Reader ($9.99; offers in-app purchases)
Having recently been voted the best iOS app of 2014 in the AppleVis Golden Apple Awards, it is unlikely that this powerful and high-configurable reading tool will need an introduction.
In the latest update, there are minor improvements in most of the voices. The developer has also taken the opportunity provided by this update to offer many new voices:
- US English: Ashley from NeoSpeech, and Karen and Rod from Acapela
- UK English: Hugh from NeoSpeech
- Scottish English: Rhona from Acapela
- Australian English: Lisa from Acapela
- Latin America Spanish: Violeta and Francisco from NeoSpeech and Rodrigo from Acapela
- French: Manon and Robot from Acapela
- Canadian French: Chloe from NeoSpeech
- Polish: Monika from Acapela
- Korean: Minji from Acapela
Current version: 3.5.0 (February 23, 2015)
Workflow: Powerful Automation Made Simple ($2.99)
Workflow is a recently-released automation tool for iOS that enables you to create powerful workflows which might previously only have been possible on jailbroken devices.
Workflow includes over 200 actions, including those for Contacts, Calendar, Maps, Music, Photos, Camera, Reminders, Safari, AirDrop, Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox, Evernote, and iCloud Documents.
Your workflow creations can be launched from inside the Workflow app or from other apps using Workflow's Action Extension. You can even export a workflow as a standalone app on your home screen.
The initial release of this app could be used with VoiceOver, provided that you put some time and patience into it. However, the developer has sought to address many of the accessibility issues, meaning that version 1.1 is much more usable.
Current version: 1.1.1 (February 27, 2015)
Listen to a podcast demonstrating Workflow: Powerful Automation Made Simple
Read the AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for Workflow: Powerful Automation Made Simple
Download Workflow: Powerful Automation Made Simple from the App Store
Recent News and Views
We’re Making it Easier For You To Keep Up-To-Date With The Status Of Accessibility On iOS And OS X
By the AppleVis Editorial Team | February 19, 2015
We are pleased and excited to be opening the doors today on a completely new area on AppleVis, one that we hope will help to keep you up-to-date on the current status of accessibility on iOS and OS X.
As AppleVis has grown and evolved over the past 5 years, we’re aware that it’s become increasingly more difficult to keep track of what accessibility-related problems have been reported and discussed on here.
So, to make this easier, we are pleased to announce the launch of The AppleVis Accessibility Bug Database.
Apple Announces ‘Spring Forward' Event For March 9, 2015
Apple has announced that it will be holding a media event on Monday, March 9, 2015, where it's expected that they will give more details on the upcoming launch of the Apple Watch, and potentially unveil other new products or updates.
As with other recent keynote presentations, we’ll be live tweeting news as it happens from our @AppleVis Twitter account; we’ll also have full details and commentary available on the website later in the day.
This Month in Podcasts
AppleVis Extra 28: Dr. Howard Kaplan, MD, Creator of Spotlight Text and Accessibility Advocate
In this edition of the AppleVis Extra, Michael Hansen and Monique Ramirez interview Dr. Howard Kaplan, MD. Dr. Kaplan is a New York-based retina surgeon, the creator of Spotlight Text (an accessible eBook reading application designed specifically for low vision users with little or no previous technology experience), and a passionate accessibility advocate.
An Introduction To Workflow For iOS: Powerful Automation Made Simple
As already mentioned above, Workflow is a recently-released automation tool for iOS that enables you to create powerful workflows which might previously only have been possible on jailbroken devices.
In this podcast, Alex Hall gives us an overview of the app and a taster of the options that it offers for creating your own automated tasks or using those created and shared by others.
Blindfold Crazy Eights: A Fully Accessible Card Game Designed For Rapid Audio Play
In this podcast, AnonyMouse gives us a walk-through and demonstration of Blindfold Crazy Eights, a fully accessible Crazy Eights card game for iOS which has been designed for rapid audio play.
Blindfold Solitaire: An Audio Version Of This Classic Card Game
In this podcast, Alex Hall gives us a walk-through and demonstration of Blindfold Solitaire for iOS. Created by the authors of Blindfold Racer, Blindfold Blackjack and Blindfold Video Poker, this game is designed for rapid audio play and is fully accessible without need of VoiceOver.
Can You Win Big Against The House With Blindfold Video Poker for iOS?
In this podcast, AnonyMouse gives us a walk-through and demonstration of Blindfold Video Poker for iOS. Created by the authors of Blindfold Racer, Blindfold Blackjack and Blindfold Solitaire, this game is designed for rapid audio play, and is fully accessible without need of VoiceOver.
How To Enable FileVault Disk Encryption On Your Mac And How It Changes System Login For VoiceOver Users
In this podcast, Katie demonstrates how to enable and disable the FileVault encryption feature available on Mac computers. FileVault uses full disk encryption to help keep your data secure. However, once enabled, it does change the login process for those using VoiceOver, so Katie also demonstrates this so that you know what to expect and how to deal with it.
Quick Tip: Displaying And Browsing Events As Lists In The Native iOS Calendar
In this podcast, Alex Hall shares a tip for displaying and browsing events as lists in the native iOS Calendar.
Things to do before selling or giving away your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch
In this podcast, Scott Davert talks about some of the steps you should take to ensure that all of your personal information and data is removed from your iOS device before you sell or give it away.
A complete list of all podcasts posted to the AppleVis website is available here