Accessibility

How can I encourage developers to prioritize accessibility features in apps and sites?

Episode 1333

Julian from Los Angeles, CA

Julian is frustrated that app developers don't document the changes when updating an app anymore, because it often will break accessibility features. For instance, if an app was completely redesigned, and it said that in the description of the update, Julian would hold off for awhile because that usually means the accessibility features aren't going to work like they used to. Leo says this is somewhat done for security. Apple in particular doesn't want to disclose what bugs they fixed because they don't want to give out that information.

How can I hear my old albums with age related hearing loss?

Vinyl LP

Episode 1327

Archie from Hawthorne, CA

Archie is getting older and having trouble with his hearing, but he loves to listen to old 78 records. He doesn't like listening with headphones because he can hear too many of the clicks and pops. CDs are too clean. Archie could use an equalizer to boost certain frequency ranges so he can hear them better. There may not be that much of a benefit if he's lost a lot of his hearing, though. There are hearing aids that are designed for that and they are programmable, but they aren't cheap.

Can I get my TV to read menus for me?

Samsung J5500

Episode 1327

Kenny from Springfield, MO

Kenny is vision impaired and is looking for a way to have his TV read the channels and menus aloud. Scott says that he's never heard of that and neither has David. The chatroom says the Samsung J5500 can, though. Scott doesn't know if there is much choice out there for that, which is a shame because accessibility is important. If it's in the J series, it's probably in the K Series as well.

Will the Windows 10 free update expire for those using screen readers?

Episode 1304

Ben from Fresno, CA

Ben says that Windows 10 has extended the free update for accessibility users who need screen readers to use Windows because Microsoft is still having trouble adapting screen readers to it. Leo says that's great news. Eventually they'll work out the bugs and it's a great thing that Microsoft knows they have to keep offering the free update to screen readers until they do.

Why is Apple the only company taking accessibility seriously?

Episode 1280

Tyrell from White House, TN

Tryell says that Apple has done an outstanding job with accessibility while Google and Microsoft have a lot of work to do. Leo says that Apple is the gold standard on accessibility. The screen reader is great, and it doesn't cost any extra either. So many of those tools are so expensive.

There is an open source screen reader called Orca. He should check out NDVP.org.

What's a good mobile phone for the vision impaired?

Episode 1280

Mike from Lubbock, TX

Mike needs a phone that is easier for him to use. he's blind and needs a phone that supports accessibility. Leo says that there are two ways he can go:

1) A smartphone that supports accessibility and allows him to run programs. The iPhone is very good at that.
2) There's also a flip phone, or feature phone. Cricket makes them with huge buttons that are very easy to use.

Is there a simplified keyboard that has big buttons?

BigKeys LX

Episode 1274

Rocko from Lancaster, CA

Rocko wants to know if there's a simpler keyboard for someone who has motor control issues or are vision challenged. Leo recommends going to Living Made Easy, which is a British company. He should also check a local independent living resource center as well, as they could help him out. Hypertec is a good company that offers larger button keyboards. Rocko should also check out BigKeys.com. Fry's and Walmart are known to carry large key keyboards as well.

What do you know about eSight Eyewear?

Episode 1267

Thomas from San Diego, CA

Thomas wants to know if Leo has heard of eSight glasses. He has a friend who is legally blind and wants to know if they're worth the price. Leo says it sounds like he'd have to have some sight and it just amplifies the visual signal. Leo says that is a great thing, though. It's like Oculus Rift for the legally Blind. They aren't cheap, though, at $15,000. But they're brand new and the cost will likely drop really fast once the word gets out.

Is Apple ideal for blind people?

Apple MacBook

Episode 1265

Michael from Oxnard, CA

Michael is blind and is looking to get an Apple computer because he hears the accessibility is good. Leo says that Apple is one of the better ones, but he's by no means an expert. The MacBook is a great option, as its thinner and lighter. The Type C connector is fine and he can always get a dock for it to fit in other connectors. The only downside is that it isn't as fast as the MacBook Pro. As for smartphones, the iPhone is king for accessibility.