I read about the new innovative accessibility features previewed by Apple on https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2022/05/apple-previews-innovative-accessibility-features/.
I would like to communicate with some higher level accessibility person about some considerations and suggestions. As I see Sarah Herrlinger is the person I am looking for, but I can't find her contact information. The only possibility I find is through LinkedIn, but I don't want to go through the hassle of signing up and buildup a fancy professional-looking profile just to start a conversation. I don't have so much time, especially before the WWDC in two weeks. The other possibility I see is dean Hudson. It seems they both are the public accessibility voices of Apple but are impossible to reach for the average user.
I understand it is too late for the first public beta but would like to start a conversation.
Finally, VoiceOver will support my native language and may open the doors for more people here to Apple's products. Apple is using Nuance voices exclusively, but the current Bulgarian voice is poor quality pronunciation. Two new high quality natural-sounding voices are at final stages of development and I would like to speak with someone responsible for the accessibility policy about the possibility to include them.
Do you have any contacts or suggestions?
Call or write
Hi. I suggest you call or write to Apple support or Apple accessibility (or whatever they are named these days) and simply ask to speak with whomever your comments and questions should be addressed. A telephone call will take much less time than writing. Ask the person who you are speaking with to forward your call to their supervisor if they don't know who the person is that you need to speak with. Be polite. They are usually very happy to help. Be sure to have your comments and questions organized and ready to share before you make the telephone call.
Good luck trying to get anyone at Apple to take you seriously. I swear, it's more of a cult than a company. Apparently you're only allowed to talk to someone if you're deemed worthy to do so. Even if you contact her on LinkedIn, there's no guarantee she would respond to you. The public accessibility address is a joke as far as I'm concerned. All they do is spout canned responses.
Honey catches more flies than vinegar; squeaky wheels catch more flies than honey. smile
it's not so easy
it's not so easy to get to higher person on the accessibility departement. i don't know why they are so strange about it.
let me tell you a story.
we're in israel have a problems with Hebrew in VoiceOver almost 4 years. any update, something is deffecting the user expirence.
i'm trying to get to someone higher then a simple rep. but no luck over 3 years.
they're just forwarding and forwarding the cases but 99% nothing is actually happening.
OK, here's the deal
It's very simple. Do nothing, and they will do whatever they feel like doing, which will probably be less than otherwise because no one is telling them how important it is to do what you are wanting them to do.
On the other hand, you can motivate and organize the blind people you know into regularly contacting them to tell them how important it is to do what you are asking. If you do get the blind regularly contacting Apple, Apple will still do whatever they feel like doing, but it is significantly more likely they will do what you are asking, and it is significantly more likely they will do it sooner.
As I see it, these are our choices. I don't see any other choices. Do you?
In my life I have been fortunate enough to succeed at motivating and organizing the blind and friends of the blind into a successful lobbying force. I know from personal experience it can be done, and I know from experience that it works. What it requires is someone like you to start motivating and organizing the people who care, people like you and those who care about you.
There is a miscommunication between accessibility and main services, such as bugs. Reporting an accessibility bug and having it fix takes forever or sometimes is not address.
aren't all company are the same?
I can say the same thing with all other company that we can't really contact them to give them our 2 zens! if they make it so easy then everyone wants to contact them then they don't have time to do anything else but talk to us which that's not what they are there for. why do you think you are more special than the rest of us who want to get a hold of them too? why do you make it feel like you have to be the one! but anyway, hope your perseverance will get you the help you needed.
I doubt a company with as many employees as Apple would be terribly bogged down by consumer input. Quite the contrary. Apple actively seeks consumer input. But you do have a good point: all companies are the same. They respond to supply and demand. They control the supply; we control the demand. All companies pay attention to their consumers. Not easy to pay attention to consumers who aren't saying anything, though.
this is a serious problem
As Afik Souffir commented, and Most of you already know, contacting official firstname.lastname@example.org doesn't help solving many serious problems, at least not so fast. I want to prevent such serious problem before it strikes us in full force. If Apple is top-level and brags with its accessibility, they should not break it. This is what I want. And I don't want it for my self. I'm okay if there is no Bulgarian voice. But I am not okay if the voice is this crappy unfinished Nuance junk called Daria. We have an old voice since 2005 which works on android for version 3 and beyond. All blind people use this voice. No one I know uses Daria, which is newer and should be better, but it is not. We have no UI or voice support for Bulgarian till now. So, all Bulgarian users who want to use iOS should know at least one other supported language. There are not as many multilingual blind people here.
Do you knowhow many voices there are for English? In iOS 15 there are about 9 or 10 US voices, and the total number for all English dialects is above 20. Do you know how many voices there are for Bulgarian? None! And now Apple offers us such a crap without any alternative? What should I say!?!
And for such an expensive product, we expect much more. An older iPhone model costs much than the minimal monthly salary. If you want to save money to buy one, it may take year or two. And when you think you are ready to buy, the new price is grown half minimal salary above your savings. The other option is second-hand.
Unfortunately, it is not so easy to organize as many people as I want for a massive campaign, because we are small market, and of all blind people here many don't know English. We have a phone support for Bulgaria, but again, guess what language it is in! You guessed it! English, of course!
Many people do want to try iOS, but the language barrier is a big obstacle. Even if they buy an iOS device, would a crappy voice present a good user experience? No way.
So, this is not a complaint. This is a valid concern. I am not more special than any other customer, but I hope I can be a voice that brings the necessary change. It is not about me; it is for all blind Bulgarians who want a good-quality product. And now we can offer a quality voice, but Apple doesn't open iOS for external voices. Last year there were rumors, and We expected the current version to contain such API. Unfortunately, it didn't happen.
All things are possible
When I went blind, I hitchhiked alone for two years around the US, Europe and elsewhere. When I came home, I went through college in 3 years and then went to law school. While in law school, and while holding down one to two jobs, I did my political organizing of people who were blind an d who wanted to help. We got 2 bills passed into law, both of which were very badly needed to enable handicapped children.
I learned from experience that if we believe we can't do something, we won't do it, but if we believe we can, we just might succeed.
Climbing the information ladder inside Apple is a good example. Do your research, starting with the head of Apple's accessibility department. Add the search term "Apple directory" in your search. This is only one example of what you can do to find the contact information you are looking for.
There's also the head of Apple Marketing, or the head of software development, or researching who heads the team to program languages for VoiceOver and/or SIRI, etc. Be creative. Believe in your own success. Don't quit. Don't complain. Act.
Thanks for the encouragement
Bruce, thank you for your positive attitude and for the encouragement! You gave good and practical examples. I hope I wont be the only one who does something. Unfortunately we are a small market and even less iOS blind users, mainly because of the language and cost barriers. And most people are pessimists. We have a saying here: whoever wants to do something will do it, whoever doesn't want, he'll find a good reason not to.
I am sure the applevis team have some contacts and could help, at least by forwarding our concerns. Sarah and Dean were guests on the podcast few times, so they know how to contact them for sure. I hope they can give a hand.
E-mail to email@example.com
I think you can send an e-mail to
and see how they reply!
I’m Canadian , not Bulgarian, but I support your efforts
So I am Canadian, speaking only English. there are so many English voices. French is similar in that respect. I think Apple needs to consider supporting other languages, such as Bulgarian, and open up voices so all languages have good quality voices. There was a man a while back in iOS releases, who advigated for a Hebrew voice, as he was from Israel. He wrote an open letter and posted it on AppleVis. He wrote from the heart, and eventually Apple came on here, read it, and put the vocalizer voice in question, into iOS. So I would write a letter , and write it in such a way, where emotion comes across. Apple might read it, and do what you are asking.