Mobile Accessibility

Google is requiring developers explain how their apps properly use Accessibility Service to help people with disabilities in order to keep their requests for Accessibility Services. Noncompliance will mean the removal of the app from the Play Store. This is separate from the effort to make an app conform to the WCAG 2.0 Level AA guidelines. Some sites, such as Android Police, have speculated that this initiative could largely be due to security.

Read more on Google’s new requirement on 9TO5Google.

In this episode

Jeremy and Mark have a fund discussion about the accessibility of the iPhoneX especially as it relates to the facial recognition feature.

The Interactive Accessibility Podcast (IAP) is an entertaining approach to accessibility. We enjoy sharing our discussions on accessibility and how it relates to technology, real-life issues, information, businesses, and people with disabilities.

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The 32st Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference, known to people in the industry as the 2017 CSUN Conference, is being held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Diego, CA from February 27 to March 3. CSUN, through the International Conference on Assistive Technology for Persons with Disabilities, provides an inclusive setting and hosts many groups including:

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, played a video that focused on the accessibility features of Apple’s products. Paulson, a woman with cerebral palsy, starred in the video. But that was just the beginning; using Switch Control to interact with her computer, Paulson edited the entire video, too.

Cook also announced a redesigned accessibility website featuring accessibility needs and how Apple’s devices address these needs. It also includes a section for inclusive education. 

iOS has an accessibility feature to allow users to select their preferred text size. Some applications will respect this setting and change their text size appropriately, however, some do not. To change your preferred text size

The release of new features for the first smartwatch app for people with vision disabilities was announced by Novartis Pharmaceuticals. The smartwatch app call ViaOpta is a turn-by-turn navigation app that allows users to navigate daily life with greater ease and fits seamlessly into their existing routines.

The additional new features include:

ViaOpta Navigation:

  • Points of Interest Feature: The user can discover points of interest near their location and:
    • Find information about it
    • Set Navigation to it
    • Find information on accessibility facilities around them
  • Extended Map Coverage: Map coverage has been extended worldwide, however it is less in rural areas

ViaOpta Daily:

  • New Object Recognizer Feature: Identifies objects when the user points the devise’s camera at an object.
  • Addition of Scene Recognizer Feature: When the user points the camera in a specific direction the voiceover will tell them what is in front of them, helping them navigate unfamiliar environments. 

Specialists in computer vision and Machine learning who are base at the University of Lincoln, UK and funded by a Google Faculty Research Award are looking to embed a smart vision system in mobile devices. This would be to help people with vision disabilities navigate unfamiliar indoor environments.

Their work is based on preliminary work done on assistive technologies at the Lincoln Center for Autonomous Systems. The plan is to use color and depth sensor technology inside new smartphones and tablets to enable 3D mapping and localization, navigation and object recognition. The team is working to develop the best interface to relate the information to users.

Read more in the GAATES Article

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