iOS 5 Newsstand Magazines/Newspapers are *NOT* VoiceOver Accessible

Club AppleVis Member
I've downloaded, installed, and purchased iOS 5 Newsstand issues from: Wired, GQ Magazine, Popular Science, Golf Digest, and Glamour. This resulted in over $20 and 1.25 GB in issues. Unfortunately, all of these issues are inaccessible/unusable with VoiceOver. The issues will read as one of two ways: * button, button, button, button, button, button. * Nothing at all, but will make ding/border sound. It's very sad, awful, and horrible that these 5 iOS 5 Newsstand apps allow one to purchase/subscribe to issues, see all the details, but not actually read the issues with VoiceOver that one paid for. Please, I hope that users will contact, educate, advocate for, and push for accessibility of these and all Newsstand apps by reaching out to developers. Newsstand is quite a big feature in iOS 5, had the potential to revolutionize magazine and newspaper access for print-disabled, but is inaccessible/unusable in its current form.

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#1 One possible exception

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I've read elsewhere that the New York Times app is accessible and shows up in Newsstand when there is new content, so it seems that not all Newsstand capable apps are inaccessible.

If anybody knows of others that work with VoiceOver, post them here and we will try to compile a list.

#2 Another blimmer of hope?

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I've just read elsewhere that Popular Mechanics is apparently quite accessible. It's reported that there are some unlabelled buttons, but that articles themselves are accessible. I'm assuming that this is for the content delivered by subscription, and not just for the free app. If so, there might be a glimmer of hope that Newsstand won't be a total write-off for VoiceOver users. Personally, I would want to be pretty sure that content was going to be fully accessible before subscribing to any of these publications.

#3 0 for 10: all inaccessible with VoiceOver

Club AppleVis Member

NY Times iOS 5 Newsstand for iPad 2, select issue, app crashes with VoiceOver. that's 10 magazines and newspapers I've tried. All 100% inaccessible.

#4 I agree. And all the people

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I agree. And all the people who are Voiceover users who bought things they can't use should have their money refunded. For the US, at least, there is still NFB Newsline which works great in Safari. Using the newly added rotor settings, the website is even easier to navigate than before.

#5 Newsstand category now added to the App Directory

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I've now added a Newsstand category to the App Directory, so it would be great if people could use this to share their findings.

#6 Hi Kevinchao89, Just to say I

Hi Kevinchao89, Just to say I totally agree with your post! Also inaccessible are: WWE Magazine UK; Fighting Spirit Magazine; MacWorld UK; Mac Life; PC Pro; XBox 360 UK. Initially, I was really excited when the News Stand feature was announced, thinking that I would be able to read loads of magazines. Apparently, it wasn't to be. I do make a habbit of contacting developers regarding accessibility - usually I receive a response a kin to "Thanks for your feedback, we'll forward your comment to the appropriate department. This type of feedback is very useful to us ... etc!!!" The problem is, we are a minority in the sense that we are a comparatively small group who use Voice Over. Most developers probably focus on the sighted majority. I would like to emphasise your point to everyone reading this - the more developers we contact regarding this issue, the more chance we have of being able to use News Stand!

#7 The Daily

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

The Daily for iPhone is accessible...and the subscription rates are very reasonable. I don't have an iPad, so I can't comment on the iPad app. But the iPhone app is very accessible.

#8 Daily iPhone and iPad

I was the technical lead on Daily for iPhone and a member of the team working on the iPad app. While the iPad app is not fully accessible, the body text of most articles does work with VO and the navigation mostly works well. There are still some bugs which we are still working to address that you'll see in future releases. Another newsstand app that is VO compatible is SPIN Play (Disclosure: I was also the technical lead on that project)

#9 The Guardian newsstand app is

The Guardian newsstand app is somewhat accessible. You need to turn VO off and tap a few times around where today's date is displayed. Then once you are in although you can't read the artacle titles if you flick til you hear a something labelled ZBX then double tap this will take you in to the artacle. Everything else is then accessible. This is iPad only, the iPhone app is different but is fully accessible with VO. Despite the issues I do use the Guardian iPad app every day. To bring up the different sections is also fully accessible.

#10 The Daily for iPhone

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hi Doug, It's great to see app developers here on AppleVis! Thank you for making sure The Daily for iPhone is accessible with VoiceOver...it is because of developers like yourself that iOS devices are so useful for people who are blind or visually impaired.