AppleVis Unlimited: What's New in Accessible Apps for February 2016
Welcome to the February 2016 edition of AppleVis Unlimited, our 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
Alter Ego (iOS, US$4.99)
What if you could live your life over again?
In this text-based interactive fiction, you choose what happens next. It's in the style of pick-a-path gamebooks, but with over a thousand multiple-choice questions, it's much longer and deeper than traditional gamebooks. Alter Ego starts at birth and ends at death, including two substantially different versions, depending on whether you choose to be male or female.
Will you grow up to be confident and happy? Will you fight with bullies, or befriend them? Will you find a date to the senior prom? Will you marry and have kids, or start your own business and become a millionaire? The choice is yours.
This game will change your life.
Current Version: 1.3.0 (July 9, 2015)
Blindfold Games (iOS, Free with In-App Purchases)
Kid Friendly Software, developers of the Blindfold series of accessible audio games, have released new titles during this month. Below are links to each app in the App Store:
Day One 2 Journal + Notes (iOS, US$4.99)
Capture life as you live it. From once-in-a-lifetime events to everyday moments, Day One's elegant interface makes journaling about your life a simple pleasure.
We are pleased to introduce the next generation of the Day One journaling app. Version 2 is a new app built from the ground up for an excellent writing and life-capturing experience.
- Multiple Photos per entry (up to ten inline photos)
- Multiple Journals (up to ten journals with unique colors and names)
- Day One Sync 2.0 (See dayoneapp.com/sync-faq for more details.)
- Map View
- Custom Reminders
- Entry Management (select, move, tag, and delete multiple entries at a time)
- Timeline Filters (star, tags, location, year, activity, and music)
- Timezone Support
- 3D Touch
- Local, Exportable Backups
- Passcode Lock with Touch ID
- Automatic metadata (location, weather, motion activity, step count, and music)
- Apple Watch App
- Tags and Stars
- Export to PDF with smart filters
- Today Extension
- Share Extension
- Export to PDF and plain text
Current Version: 2.0.2 (February 17, 2016)
Go for Facebook (Mac OS X, Free)
Go for Facebook is the best and most powerful Mac app for Facebook. It is fully feature packed and built for addicts who want to easily use Facebook without having to ever open a web browser.
- Instant access to Facebook via your Mac's menu bar
- Awesome color-coded notifications with audio alerts
- Choose between desktop (full sized browser view) & mobile (condensed view) modes
- Popup notifications support
- Facebook Chat support with notifications
- Ability to turn off Facebook distractions/ads
- Window opacity control
- Resizable window
- Ability to run app via both the menu bar and the Dock
- Fullscreen support
- Slick touch gestures support
- Accessibility options with font size modification, hotkeys and VoiceOver support
Current Version: 1.7 (December 6, 2015)
TeamTalk 5 (iOS. Free)
TeamTalk is a conferencing system which allows users to participate in conferences on the Internet. Users can chat using voice over IP and listen to streaming media files.
TeamTalk for iOS has been designed with particular emphasis on accessibility features for visually impaired.
Here is a list of the main features:
- Real time voice over IP conversations
- Public and private instant text messaging
- Private rooms/channels for every group
- High quality audio codecs with both mono and stereo
- Push-to-talk and voice activation
- Standalone server available for both LAN and Internet environments
- User authentication with accounts
- Accessibility for visually impaired using VoiceOver
Current Version: 5.1 (February 18, 2016)
Vorail (iOS, Free)
Vorail, discover and be discovered.
- Speak to ask.
- Listen to learn.
- Zero tolerance towards abuse. Once any user reports an abuse, the offender is out forever.
Relax and enjoy
- An old Chinese saying "Apart from birth and death, nothing is a big deal in life." Relax, really. There is nothing to lose. To use the service, no photo/profile/phone number is required. Let the true you emerge.
Don't give up
- Some people may feel a little disoriented in the first couple of sessions, because, hey, it's like being in the dark room. Don't give up, you will get through it.
- magic tap on home feed moves focus to next person
- magic tap on IM screen to start record, the magic tap again to stop / save recording
- magic tap on record screen to start recording, then magic tap again to stop / recording
- four finger tap to access tabs
- rotor action to select actions for each voice on home feed
Current Version: 1.53 (February 25, 2016)
Text-Based Games from Various Developers
A number of text-based games for iOS were added to the site this past month, which you may also be interested in:
- Choice of the Rock Star
- Frequency. - A text-based survival game. Send messages through time and space!
- Superstud Adventures
- The Forgotten Nightmare - A Text Adventure Game
- The Forgotten Nightmare 2 - A Text Adventure Game
- The Lost Heir: The Fall of Daria
- The Lost Heir 2: Forging a Kingdom
All recent app entries posted to AppleVis can be found at:
Notable App Updates
Netflix (iOS, Free with In-App Purchases)
Watch TV shows and movies recommended just for you, including award-winning Netflix original series, movies, and documentaries.
Netflix has something for everyone. There’s even a safe watching experience just for kids with family-friendly entertainment.
No commercials. No hidden fees. Try one month free. You can cancel anytime.
Current Version: 8.0.0 (February 24, 2016)
Changes in Version 8.0.0
Although not specifically mentioned in the release notes, this update includes improved VoiceOver support.
Papa Sangre and The Nightjar (iOS, US$4.99 and US$3.99)
Somethin’ Else recently announced that their iOS audio games would each receive only one more update before being discontinued and the game engine being made open source.
The updates for Papa Sangre and The Nightjar have now been released, addressing a problem which caused both to crash when used on iOS 9.
TapTapSee - Blind & Visually Impaired Camera (iOS, Free)
TapTapSee is designed to help the blind and visually impaired identify objects they encounter in their daily lives.
Simply double tap the screen to take a photo of anything, at any angle, and hear the app speak the identification back to you (Note: Spoken identification requires VoiceOver to be turned on).
TapTapSee helps the blind and visually impaired become more independent in their day-to-day activities.
Current Version: 3.1.0 (February 18, 2016)
Changes in Version 3.1.0
TapTapSee is now free for unlimited use.
Trivia Crack Kingdoms (iOS, Free with In-App Purchases)
Enjoy the new and exciting Trivia Crack sequel! It's FREE!
Explore the new Kingdom of Trivia Crack and challenge your friends, family and classmates in trivia channels based on your favorite topics.
Discover what's trending among your friends and take a crack at outsmarting them in their own interests.
Play in tons of awesome trivia channels! From sports teams to pop stars, from TV shows to the latest Greenpeace global campaign, there's a channel to follow for every field of knowledge imaginable.
Current Version: 1.0.9 (February 19, 2016)
Changes in Versions 1.0.8 and 1.0.9
The release notes do not explicitly mention it, but the developer has continued to improve VoiceOver support in Trivia Crack Kingdoms.
Recent News and Views
An Apple Watch Weekend: Initial Impressions of the Watch from a Long-Time Holdout
By mehgcap | February 14, 2016
For a long time, I've wanted an Apple Watch. I held back for several reasons, not the least of which was because I didn't know if it was worth the money. When a tiny little watch costs around the same price as the latest iPad, it gives one pause. If you're in the same boat, I hope this post will be of some use. If you've never wanted an Apple Watch at all, I encourage you to read on. I've been as fair and unbiased as I can be, so you'll find plenty of criticism and honest assessment. You might, though, discover aspects of this device you never thought of before.
The Apple Watch came out in April of 2015. At that time, though I was very intrigued, I was stopped from getting one by two factors. First, I didn't have the money to spare; second, I knew that most Apple products are good in their first iteration, but great in their second. I figured I'd wait a year, until the next generation Watch came out. At that time, I'd see if I had the money and look at what the new Watch had, to judge if it would be worth buying.
Small Differences Matter: Cleaning up with FileBrowser and the Dropbox App
By Morgan | February 12. 2016
I really meant to finish reorganizing my home office last month. I like things orderly. I pulled everything out of my office closet with the intention of throwing just a few things away. Not a good idea. Now my treadmill is stacked with random boxes and unmatched luggage. My stationary bike has become a temporary home for my displaced leashes, coats, and sweaters. My desk is in there, cleverly hidden under uprooted technology, Braille magazines, and cables galore. I do not dare bend over to look for a lost shoe, or even a lost child, because I could easily hit my head on a step ladder, trombone case, or my assortment of retired white canes. Maybe it is time to finish Spring Cleaning.
I have a really good excuse though. I am reorganizing something else. I recently shoveled more than 100,000 of my personal files into nearly a terabyte of Dropbox storage. The mess included hundreds and hundreds of poorly named folders with duplicates and triplicates of files with incomprehensible names of their own. Rather than sorting through the contents from my closet, I chose to sit in a different room and focus on my digital litter.
In yesteryear, on the rare occasion that I would have both the time and inclination to look at ancient data, I would engage the Mac Finder. However, times have changed. My iPhone is now my primary computer and I really want to be able to access and organize my Dropbox holdings from the comfort of my living room chair, or the car, or a cafe. Anywhere but my office.
For quite some time, I have been using the iPhone Dropbox app, currently version 4.2.5. It is stable, mostly accessible, and lightening fast when performing searches. Although I do pay for the full terabyte of Dropbox storage, all new accounts and the mobile apps are free. Dropbox initiates accounts with 2GB of free storage, which may be sufficient for many users. The Dropbox app is often all that I need. It is a wonderful tool that gives me quick and easy access to my precious memories as well as the many documents that I will never read again.
This Month in Podcasts
Finding and Watching Audio Described Movies on your Apple Device
David Woodbridge recorded a series of three podcasts in which he shows how to find and watch audio described moves on different Apple devices:
- Finding and Watching Audio-Described Movies on iOS
- Finding and Watching Audio-Described Movies on the 4th Generation Apple TV
- Finding and Watching Audio-Described Movies in iTunes for Mac OS X
Beginners’ Guide to the iPhone
In this series of introductory podcasts, Thomas Domville discusses and demonstrates various features of the iPhone. New in the BGI series this month:
- Beginners’ Guide to the iPhone: a Physical Description of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus
- Beginners’ Guide to the iPhone: Exploring the ‘Restrictions’ Section of the iOS Settings
- Beginners’ Guide to the iPhone: An Introduction to the iOS App Switcher
- Beginners’ Guide to the iPhone: Exploring the ‘Touch ID & Passcode’ Section of the iOS Settings
Quick Tip: An Overview of the Accessibility Enhancements in Netflix for iOS
In this podcast, Jamie Pauls gives us an overview of the recent accessibility improvements in version 8.00 of the Netflix iOS app.
An Overview of Tweetings for iPhone and iPod Touch
While there are too many features of the client to cover in one podcast, this demonstration and explanation of Tweetings should be more than sufficient to get the user up and running successfully.
AppleVis Extra 37: Interview with Ted Drake Regarding TurboTax Accessibility and More
In this AppleVis Extra, Jamie Pauls and Michael Hansen talk with Ted Drake about the accessibility of TurboTax for iOS, a tax-preparation program for users in the United States. Ted oversees the accessibility implementation across the entire line of Intuit’s products, and he shares some insights into how a large company approaches the subject of accessibility in a very positive way. In addition to TurboTax, Ted touches on the accessibility of QuickBooks, for managing your small business finances and Mint for tracking your personal finances.
Finally, Ted makes mention of BizAbility.org, a sight dedicated to small business accessibility.
Using iOS with VoiceOver and a Bluetooth Keyboard Part 2: Editing Text
In part 2 of his mini series on using bluetooth keyboards on iOS devices with VoiceOver, Scott Davert covers how to edit text and use of the Notes app. While not an exhaustive list of keyboard commands, as this would make for a very dry presentation, topics include: creating a new note, the cursor and how it differs from Windows, text selection, how to apply basic formatting to a note, and deleting of text within a note.
A Demonstration of Repeat CheckList for iOS
In this podcast, Sheri Wells-Jensen gives us a demonstration of Repeat CheckList - A custom can be learned! for iOS.
Quick Tip: How to Navigate Podcasts by Chapter Using Downcast and Overcast for iOS
In this follow-up to Jonathan Mosen's recent demonstration of Podcast Chapters for Mac OS X, Jamie Pauls shows us how to navigate podcasts by chapter using the Downcast and Overcast: Podcast Player iOS apps.
Blindfold Horserace: Let Your Fingers Do The Winning
In Blindfold Horserace, you walk or run your fingers on the screen as if the horse is running. You are in post 2 and the other horses are in post 1 and 3. Once you hear the starting bells, race as fast as you can, and you may win.
Races are from 1 furlong to 1 mile and there are several types of racetrack. There's even a steeplechase race where you must jump over fences and steer your horse left and right.
The game comes with coins; you need one coin to play. To get more coins you can listen to advertising videos or purchase coins as an in-app upgrade.
Using a Bluetooth Keyboard with VoiceOver on iOS Part 1: An Introduction, and Navigating the Home Screen
In part one of this mini series, Scott Davert explains some advantages of using a Bluetooth keyboard, demonstrates pairing a keyboard to an iDevice with a Bluetooth keyboard, and goes through some general commands and concepts for using a Bluetooth keyboard with your iOS device.
iOS Quick Tip: Quick and Easy Video Trimming
In this podcast, Mike Malarsie shows us how quick, easy and accessible it is to remove unwanted parts of any recorded video on iOS by using the built-in Trim feature.
A complete list of all podcasts posted to the AppleVis website in the past month can be found at www.applevis.com/podcasts