iWork updated with new features and accessibility improvements
By Tyler, 24 January, 2014
macOS and Mac Apps
Apple has updated its iWork product line for Mac, iOs, and iCloud. I don't use iWork for iOs, so I don't know the changes specific to that version, but I did check out the Mac and iCloud updates. On the Mac and iOs, the updates for the three apps can be downloaded from their respective App Stores. If you have an iCloud account, the updates will take effect automatically. When iWork for iCloud first debuted, I posted a form topic about its lack of Voiceover support and the wider accessibility challenge faced by Voiceover users in an increasingly cloud oriented environment. As mentioned in the release notes, iWork for iCloud includes improved Voiceover support in some areas. However, these improvements are modest. For example in Pages, you can't navigate to a dedicated text field like you would in a native app, you just have to type. Voiceover speaks what you type, and you have basic editing abilities. However, it is implemented in a very peculiar way and doesn't seem to respect Voiceover settings, probably because text is inputed differently than Voiceover is designed to recognize. While this improved support is a clear sign of activity and coordination between the iWork and accessibility teams, there's still a ways to go. I would imagine further improvements would come in the form of tweaks to Voiceover so it can natively support web based productivity software, which between this and Google Docs, is becoming more of the norm. Voiceover needs to handle it more naturally to make it, "Just work," which is what I've come to expect from Apple. For the native mac Apps, they fixed an issue that I had reported to them and mentioned in a podcast on this site. In the export dialog in all three apps, the options were spoken as, "Unknown." This appears to have been fixed and you can now navigate how you would in any accessible environment. Hopefully, I can update my review as Apple updates their products. I have and will continue to give them feedback. The fact that they're updating their web based services is a good sign for commitment, since they've had something of a rough history with web services.