iWork updated with new features and accessibility improvements

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team
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macOS & 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.

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Comments

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Friday, January 24, 2014

How is keynote in terms of accessibility? I have to do a power point presentation in about 3 weeks and am putting together the slides in to separate files for now anyways. so I can get my thoughts organized. Will I be able to save the slides in ppt format like I could with the proper olive 2009? Also will I be able to play the presentation to see if it even works? Thanks.

Submitted by Piotr Machacz on Friday, January 24, 2014

Someone on the accessibility list said that keynote's presentation view finally works. That's probably not a modest improvement, it's definitely over do though. Haven't tried it myself yet, but I think this is quite important.

Submitted by Piotr Machacz on Friday, January 24, 2014

Speaking of pages, it no longer has the issue of not indicating links, which probably caries over to other iWork apps. So, if you now add a link or a file has one, just like in other rich text fields or html areas, Voiceover will tell you if a piece of text is a link.

Submitted by John W. hess on Friday, January 24, 2014

Now we need voiceover to indicate headings in pages. I've written about this to accessibility. The wonderful thing is they are quite responsive on the e-mail side and on there hotline.

How is the iCloud Mail web app in terms of accessibility? I've had poor results trying to use iCloud Mail on Windows with IE 9 and JAWS 15. I've been wanting to switch to iCloud because of the native push notifications but want something "accessible" first.

Submitted by Tree on Friday, January 24, 2014

I have been dreaming and longing for a good fully featured accessible word processor on mac for a long time now. I am good at word on the pc side of things, but I hate winblows with a passion and only run bootcamp for microsoft office. I would give anything to clean my beloved mac of the parasite that is windows and never look back. I have been reading about pages and the improvements that have been made in its accessibility, but I have not been able to try it out because I'm still running mountain lion. As a long time Apple user I have seen accessibility and over all responsiveness often slip with major updates, especially when your hard where begins to get older. So my question is, are the improvements to pages worth updating to Mavericks? I am perfectly happy with my mountain kitty right now, but if dealing with the oddities of Mavericks means having access to a word processor as good or almost as good as word then I will jump on the wave.

Submitted by Ekaj on Friday, January 24, 2014

Thanks for the heads up on this. I am planning to take my Mac to my parents' house this weekend, so that my mother can hopefully help me out with the credit card information needed for these software updates to download and install. I'm thinking ahead a bit here, and I'm pretty sure the only thing I'll need Pages and/or Text Edit for at this point is my weekly grocery lists which I type out and then print. But Apple's continued work on these accessibility issues is definitely a step in the right direction. Hopefully I'll be able to check out more of this stuff once I get more familiar with the Mac.

Actually you can use the reminders app for lists. Just make a reminder for each item, or just use text edit and make it a bulleted list by hitting the option [lis number 8 key next to each item. for example. Sorry it did not turn out in separate lines but I assure you I did put a CR (carriage return) at the end of each item. • Here is an item • Here is another item • and here is the final item. I put a space between the bullett and the start of the item just to make it easier to read should it rap. Take care.