What do you wish developers knew? (straight from you to their ears next week)

Accessibility Advocacy

This time next week, I will be presenting on VoiceOver and Voice Control to all of the iOS and macOS developers at the /dev/world conference in Melbourne. Over on this AppleVis thread I asked for your pet peeves and examples of VoiceOver near misses, and I'm still interested in those.

But here, I have a simpler question: what do you wish developers knew?

My plan is to present to those developers exactly what you say—by quoting you to them. Let me carry your voice straight to them. (Even better, should you want to record in audio/video, I would love to present your literal voice. Let me know and we can arrange how to get that to me.)

Awesome problem I might have: so much material, I can only present extracts. But I will present at least a quote from everyone who posts here...



Submitted by Dawn 👩🏻‍🦯 on Monday, August 26, 2019

Accessibility matters!
One of the things that gets me is if an app says in it's discription that it's fully Vo. supported, I'll get it. If you don't make an app accessible, you're missing out on a huge market. For example, I have allergies, & I find 1 of the hardest app categories to find accessible apps for is in this category. That & weather radio apps.
Learn about accessiblity, & if your users come 2 you & say they have an issue related to that, respond, & work with them.

I think you should tell them about this site. And I think you should take a look at Weather Gods & explain the story of this app to devs next week. Abut how the app wasn't accessible @ 1st & how active the dev is on here. This is a prime example of accessibility & response & feedback.

Submitted by DPinWI on Tuesday, August 27, 2019

One thing developers could do is offer consistent button placement across an app. Some examples...

In Dice World, the Roll button is at the bottom left of the screen. However, it moves slightly, and muscle memory isn't enough to find it if one plays multiple types of dice games. It's close, but, the same finger placement doesn't find it when switching from Farkle, to Threes, to Yahtzee. It's a small thing, but it makes a difference.

In a larger example, I use Amble App as an interface with our local shared ride taxi service. When booking a ride, sometimes the Done button, for example the date input, is above the picker, and then on the next screen for time input, it is below the picker. Having it in one place would make it easier to find and the use of the app more efficient.

Thanks for presenting ideas to developers who may have no idea our world of access exists.

Submitted by gregg on Tuesday, August 27, 2019

When designing an app, show the developers with VO on, flick and double tap and have them try it and listen to what is spoken by VO.

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Tuesday, August 27, 2019

When a developer is going to add Voiceover to their app, I would think that, despite the time it takes to learn the Voiceover user interface, they would know whether or not Voiceover actually works as they expect it to, before ever releasing the app. After all, if they cannot use it with the Voiceover active, as they can with it turned off, how would someone without sight be expected to interact with the app. this also goes for the other accessibility features, as well. I realize it's more work on their part, but if they want their app to be used by all, then spending their time to learn and actually use the accessibility features themselves would save them a lot of time and frustration in the end.

Submitted by Kai on Tuesday, August 27, 2019

There should be a way for blind users to know when the battery reaches 100% when charging your phone. It’s very easy to over charge your phone, do you to not being able to tell when it’s done. If it could make a sound when the battery reaches 100% to tell the blind person it’s done, that would be incredible. Either a repeating sound or a notification on the phone would be super handy, that way you don’t overcharge the battery and wind up cutting the phones life short. When creating games, keep in mind that there are blind people who love to play. We’re all gamers so why not make everything accessible to everyone. By not doing that, you’re creating a very hurtful impression. It cuts very deep, like a knife to the heart when you find a good game but it’s not VoiceOver compatible. Developers need to keep in mind that everyone, whether or not they have site, loves to play games. Those who have half hazard Lee attempted to put voiceover in or not fixing the rest of the game when suggestions have been made available to them. By their continuously not listening to that person/ideas, the person can’t play the game and feels even more like an outcast. If you’ve put voiceover in, please make sure the entire game is accessible. Otherwise, the blind gamers cannot play and that is unfair. Please consider everyone’s feelings regarding playing games. When you forget/neglect those with out any and all site, you’re creating a huge divide and making us feel like no one cares and we don’t matter one bit. Please keep all of this in mind, when it comes to voiceover. Thanks so much.

Submitted by Trenton Matthews on Wednesday, August 28, 2019

If there was a ‘Virtual Screen” feature built-in to VoiceOver itself, it certainly could help along with many applications that aren’t acccessible out of the box (especially ‘Unity” ones,) though it is up to the devs themselves for properly adding the Accessibility to said applications natively if possible.

Submitted by Duncan Babbage on Saturday, August 31, 2019

Hi Trenton,
Can you explain to me how a Virtual Screen would work? Want to be sure I understand the idea. Thanks!

Here is how "Virtual Screen" works with an Android screen reader called "Commentary" (also known by its Chinese name "Jieshuo," " with info taken direct from its user guide from with in the help section. (For screen readers on Windows that have a similar feature to Virtual Screen, it is towards the end of this long explanation.)

" Virtual screen (member function):
The OCR recognizes the content on the screen, displays the result according to the text position, clicks the result text to activate the corresponding focus, long presses the word to split the focus, and clicks the word to activate the position of the corresponding word.
Android 7 or above double-click to activate, Android 6 below three times to activate."

The term" Member Function, " refers to it being an" online" feature, though it is a "paid" feature thus needing the premium version of Commentary itself as an "in-app" purchase.
Some Games that folks have tried using the Virtual Screen feature include, though not limited to:

1. Elder Scrolls
2. Final Fantasu Run Keeper.
3. HarthStone

I have tried using Virtual Screen with Wizards Unite, though at he current time have not had much luck with it.
I haven't tried other apps that may work well on my S10E yet with said feature above.

Other screen readers such as Jaws and Non Visual Desktop Access have a similar Virtual Screen-like feature built-in to their respective screen readers, and Seeing AI also has a similar feature where ya can interact with pictures by moving your finger around, though ya can;t click on objects within the picture.

I hope the above message explains things better, and have a good day!

PS. So to not talk about Commentary so much on here, since it is an Apple forum after all, If you would like to learn more about Commentary itself, please feel free to join of the following Telegram groups:

Official Support Group:

English Only Group)(Which is also the one with "less" traffic):

Submitted by Brennen on Saturday, August 31, 2019

I believe that it’s very important to have Accessibility and all apps not just for the iPhone but for all platforms for something as simple as just labeling all buttons with what they’re actually supposed to do and not focusing so much on images and more on just making the app functional for all

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Saturday, August 31, 2019

Hi, there are so many things but one that could be easily implimented, keep the salient information at the start of what VO says so instead of, as it does with the Deliveroo App:

Restaurant Pizza hut... Restaurant Biblos...

And so on, get to the meat of the infomration quickly also keeping it suscint. They must remember that visually scanning dense information is easy, listening to it is incredibly time consuming. Ask them to listen to what voiceover says as it is navigating their apps and then ask if there is any way of boiling those announcements down by cutting away any repetition or verboseness...

*He says with a verbose reply

Submitted by Bobcat on Sunday, September 1, 2019

Gestures really need to be understood in order to give good Accessibility. Gestures in an app May conflict with gestures for voiceover.

Hardly anyone uses direct touch. This allows gestures in the app to be passed through from voiceover. It is really important when using direct touch to make it possible to turn it off. Sometimes if Direct touch is on, there is no way to turn it off using the rotor. Because you can't get to the rotor.

Speaking of the rotor. developers don't always use all the possible actions available in the rotor. Example is the YouTube app only has headings and does not have links or line navigation available.