iWork for iCloud and the wider accessibility problem

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team
Forum
Accessibility Advocacy
Apple has begun rolling out the iWork for iCloud beta to the public. After having some time to check it out, my speculations came true. The service is unusable with Voiceover. You can access the three web apps from iCloud.com and navigate the controls, but you cannot read the contents of your document. This makes true productivity with this service nearly impossible with Voiceover. The first thing on the page when you load the app says, "Group, editable zero items." This is where you can type your text. The text is not spoken with Voiceover, and is not read back either. The only thing you can do is type something and read it with the corresponding native app, which defeats the whole purpose of cloud based productivity. This represents a wider issue regarding the shift to cloud computing and its lack of accessibility. This is seen with Google Drive, Microsoft Office, and now this. I think it would make a good campaign on this site in the future to increase awareness of accessibility issues in web apps. I have emailed Apple Accessibility with feedback on how to improve Voiceover to work with an increasing number of cloud solutions and web apps. If anyone has any thoughts or is using the service, feel free to comment on this post or give Apple your feedback.

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Comments

Submitted by AnonyMouse on Sunday, July 21, 2013

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team
Thanks so much for giving us the heads up on it. That is very unfortunet. However, what we have to remember is that this is in the Beta still. So with people like you giving the Apple team with your findings. Plus, the fact that they need to focus on making it more accessible. So for now I am glad that Apple has invited some public users to give this a try. Luckily for us. They have picked you for the testing. So I can't express enough to make them aware of the problem. As like you if there are other Public Beta testers out there. Please do voice up so this can be fixed for the rest of us when it does come LIVE and out of the Beta. For now that since this is still in the Beta stage. We would probably take the approach of waiting until it comes out of the Beta cycle before we would consider any kind of Campaign of the Month on it. There are still plenty of time for them to make the necessary changes. So I ask for some patience and understanding. However, please do leave them feedbacks as you are testing this out for them. Thanks for taking the time in posting in your findings. Please keep us up to date as more Beta releases comes out for you and if any improvements have been made.

Submitted by Michael Hansen on Sunday, July 21, 2013

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

In reply to by AnonyMouse

Thank you so much for giving us the heads-up on this...I know a lot of people are curious about iCloud for iWork, myself included. While I had hoped this would be fully accessible, I am unfortunately not surprised by the current situation. It is important to remember, though, that while iCloud for iWork is available to the public by invitation, it is still a beta product. So, what we see now could drasticly change from what is available in the final release.

Submitted by Tyler on Sunday, July 21, 2013

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team
I only wonder that with some users being invited to test iWork for iCloud, if it will eventually propagate to all iCloud users in this form. That way, it could remain a perpetual beta, like other web services have done as a marketing strategy. iWork.com remained in this state all its life, and it looks like Siri will also remain in this state for the foreseeable future. If this is the case, it will never be, "Officially released."

Submitted by paras shah on Sunday, July 21, 2013

I also have early access. How ever, when I click on get started nothing happens. Do you need to have pages purchased. I am using jaws for windows latest version with I e and windows 8. Thanks

Just beyond the get started button should be the app contents. The welcome message will remain until you close the page and open it again. At least that's how it worked for me.

My main question is do you need to pay to get I works before you can access the beta. In other words, do you need to purchase the app before you can access the beta version.