Help for a newby blind app developer

App Development & Programming

Hi, I've got an idea for a pretty simple IOS app which I want to build but, well, I have no idea how. To save me venturing down dead ends in terms of accessibility, could someone please give me a road map or resource?

Thanks so much for any help you can provide



Submitted by brandon armstrong on Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Hi there, if you go to, you can read about VoiceOver there for iOS.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Hi Brandon, thanks for your reply. I don't think I was very clear, I'm a voiceover user who is looking to create an IOS app, I was looking for some other blind developers for info about creating an app in X code etc... Sorry for the confusion.

Submitted by Michael on Wednesday, August 3, 2016


There are many resources for new developers that are blind have you learned much about Swift or the coding aspect of iOS development?

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Hi Michael, No, many moons ago I did coding at university but that's lost in the fog of my mind. I've heard of swift but I'm afraid that's it. Basically I need a starting point, a hello world task or something similar if I'm to go down that route. I do recall there being an IOS app which used pallets and drag and drop to design basic apps but for the life of me I can't remember what it was called.

Submitted by Michael on Wednesday, August 3, 2016

In reply to by Oliver Kennett

IBooks has several books for free on Swift and iOS 10 will have a great accessible app called Swift Playgrounds for people getting started Also, I will help in any way I can in getting anyone started in Swift as I am a low vision developer myself if you want, email me at and I can send some code samples

Submitted by Austin Seraphin on Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Hello. I use RubyMotion. You can get more info at
They offer a free starter version, then charge for the full version. I prefer it because I don't have to use XCode at all. I use the terminal to do everything, which you may like or not. I use Emacs, but you can use whatever editor or environment you wish. Plus, I prefer the Ruby language over Swift. You have access to all of the same frameworks which Apple gives you, and you can even use Cocoapods. For me it makes an ideal solution. We have to do everything programatically anyway. Interface builder will never become accessible - too visual. And while Xcode's accessibility has certainly improved, it will always remain a visual IDE at its heart. I will have my first app in the app store relatively soon.

Submitted by Paige on Monday, August 22, 2016

There's an app called Dapp. I only have the lite version, but i don't rellly love it because you can't create very complicated apps. I am waiting for Swift Playgrounds, but isn't it an Ipad only app? I hope not, because I use an iphone.

Submitted by Orinks on Monday, August 22, 2016

As of now, unfortunately yes, Swift Playgrounds is only for the iPad.

Submitted by Mani on Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Hello Orinks,
Is the Swift Playground on iPad any different from the one available on the OS X via Xcode or Terminal?

Submitted by splyt on Tuesday, August 23, 2016


XCode is indeed accessible.

It is not easy, not very useable, not friendly from a blind perspective but it is doable now.

It has been useable cinse long ago, including the interface builder, but it was really really very not productive and hard.

One had to really want to make apps for ios to agree to use such an agressive environment. It was needed to write pieces of code while nobody else had to, it was needed to deal with cursor tracking in voiceover, it was needed to know how to use advanced aspects of the screen reader and it was part of the job to get to something you just did yesterday and for some strange reazon you just can no longer do today
because you know something has just changed ...

I avoided to learn ios app development because with so many productivity gaps I just had not the time to invest on it, while I could be more productive on other platforms.

But, the very exact same way I criticise Apple when I think I have to, I have to recognize stuff happening latter om that is letting our lives easier.

As of now (xcode 7.3) , I have been able to successfully and eficiently perform these actions:

- put components from the components library in views.
- create and configure viewControllers
- Make connections either from components to code or from components to components in cases where a button of the navigation bar should take the user to a new view controlller.
This envolves creating outlets and actions with no problems.

- use stackviews and constraints to make basic layout constructions *
- configure attributes of components using the inspector
- build a ** rudimentar but usable ** work flow on xcode by employing heavily the hotspot concept of VoiceOver, allowing my productivity to grow slightly cinse I can quickly move to commonly used areas of the screen.

None of those actions envolved dealing with cursor tracking or anything special. Lots of vo cmd f5 to move mouse, vo cmd shift space to make the lock of the mouse button, but other than that nothing else ..

* being blind and not having had any useful vision, I recognize that for me building beautful layouts is something out of scope.
I am better consentrating myself where I really can make a difference, but the use of stackviews and autolayout have enabled me to put things aproximately where I want them to be.

Another designer can easily come and work on the layout latter on making the fine tune or change the conception of the presentation as he or she prefers, allowing me to consentrate on the coding.

** voiceover is darn unstable when it comes to hotspots. They sometimes work and sometimes not, so I end up having to reset them from times to times. VoiceOver is really unstable in its behaviour in xcode, but recently not enough to make the thing not viable. You be better to get prepared to restart voiceover sometimes during your xcode operation, but again nothing for me as irritating as it used to be.

There is a low trafic e-mail list for blind Apple developpers. If you want more info send me an e-mail and I will give your more information about it.

Submitted by Paige on Saturday, September 3, 2016

Oh, that's disappointing, maybe they will make it for Iphone in the future.