The Website of the Year interviewed Apple's Head of Accessibility who Explained how the company is driven to Think Holistically
Apple's accessibility API’s became officially part of the operating system in version 10.2, released in September 2002. Apple has continued to advance their accessibility feature for the disabled. To get the bigger picture of how Apple devices support accessibility features, you could check their 'Accessibility' web page here that provides segments regarding features for Vision, Hearing, Mobility and learning on six Apple devices.
Sarah Herrlinger, Apple’s global head of accessibility sat down with UK's website of the year the "Evening Standard" for an interview. In the big picture, Herrlinger notes that "One of the great things about doing this kind of work at Apple is that the company controls its hardware, software and operating systems. We can infuse accessibility [features] across everything we do and do it in a really holistic way."
When it comes to accessibility and Apple devices, it’s all about creating customizable features that people can set to their own liking. For instance, being able to set a bigger text size on the screen so it’s easier to read, or invert colors to dark mode in iOS13 can prevent eyestrain as well as benefit people who are dyslexic and may find it harder to read black text on white backgrounds.
Herrlinger added that "Hearing what is on the screen is particularly useful for the blind community. Apple created the VoiceOver screen reader back in 2009 for the iPhone which is available in 35 languages. Braille displays can connect to an iPhone via Bluetooth too, with the company supporting over 100 models of displays. VoiceOver is built to be available in every nook and cranny of the operating system. If you’re trying to take a photo, it’ll tell you how many heads are on the screen, where they are centred, if you need to tilt the camera slightly and how to move so you can take a more levelled photo."
Apple's Chief Technology Officer added that "Developers can use Apple's accessibility API so VoiceOver works succinctly with their apps, such as Trainline. Apple provides a very detailed and rich accessibility API. Considering how to make your app accessible from the very start of the design process will ensure a smooth integration and ultimately a better user experience. Taking the train or coach is an essential part of everyday life for most people and we want to ensure it’s as easy and seamless as possible for everyone."
Accessibility even extends to the new AirPods Pro. Apple's Herrlinger added that Accessible features aren’t just about making things easier for people with disabilities, but often they can improve the lives of everyone.
Take Live Listen for instance. This allows you to use the microphone of the iPhone as a directional mic for hearing aids so they drown out the ambient sound in say a busy restaurant and pick up what you actually want to hear.
This feature has worked so well that it is now available in the new AirPods Pro and some Beats headphones products too." If this subject interests you, then be sure to check out the full Evening Standard report.