iPhone Accessibility

This page links to resources for and about visually-impaired iPhone users collected by the creators of the eyes-free List Recorder app. They are here for sighted people who often wonder when they see blind people using the iPhone. And they are here for visually-impaired people who are considering an iPhone and want to research iPhone accessibility in depth.

Why does the iPhone appeal to the visually-impaired? There are three main reasons.

First, mass-market mobile deceives and low-cost accessible apps hold the promise of economically replacing the more expensive purpose-built equipment and software used by the visually-impaired.

Second, IOS, the operating system for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, has the most accessible human interface of available mobile devices. Key to this is Apple's VoiceOver, which both reads aloud the iPhone's screen to a user as well as enables user input through a simple set of gestures.

Third, Apple's accessibility features and the iPhone's acceptance by the visually-impaired community have motivated software developers to create apps specifically designed to be used by visually-impaired as well as sighted users. Our List Recorder is such an app.

Important to an accessible iPhone app is accessible support material. An example is this site's List Recorder Overview, which is available in two versions: text and graphics for sighted visitors and text and audio for visually-impaired visitors. You will also find a lot more audio material here than on most sites supporting mobile apps.

Explore the following links to learn more about the iPhone and accessibility for the visually-impaired.

User Experience

The most widely-circulated article on the social web about iPhones and the blind is "My First Week with the iPhone" by List Recorder user Austin Seraphin:
http://behindthecurtain.us/2010/06/12/my-first-week-with-the-iphone/

An article about how Josh Miele uses his iPhone:
http://www.baycitizen.org/technology/story/smartphones-fail-visually-imp...

A YouTube video interviewing Josh Miele about the iPhone:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQKtSR5Li1A&feature=player_embedded

Social Media

A good site to find podcasts to help beginners with VoiceOver and the iPhones in general:
http://www.blindcooltech.com/

A helpful community of visually-impaired iPhone users is the Google VIPhone Group:
http://groups.google.com/group/viphone

Many visually-impaired people connect on Twitter. You can find relevant tweets by looking for #blind or #a11y (#accessibility) in combination with #iphone or #ios. Examples at our Twitter feed @SixthMode.

iPhone Accessibility Features and App Development

How Accessibility works on the iPhone 3G S
By List Recorder user Mark Taylor on Mark's blog:
http://candleshoreblog.com/mark/docs/iPhone_3G_S_Accessability.htm

Product Evaluation of The Revolutionary New iPhone
by Darren Burton in AFB AccessWorld September 2009
http://www.afb.org/afbpress/pub.asp?DocID=aw100502

Apple's website that covers Voice Over and other accessibility features on the iPhone and related devices:
http://www.apple.com/accessibility/iphone/vision.html

IOS developer Matt Gemmell on creating accessible iPhone apps:
http://mattgemmell.com/2010/12/19/accessibility-for-iphone-and-ipad-apps

How an iPhone App can work for both sighted and visually-impaired users

Learn more about our eyes-free List Recorder iphone app: click here for our overview with text and graphics or click here for our overview with text and audio.