Accessibility

Why doesn't Apple have more accessibility options in iOS?

Episode 1082

Andrew from Los Angeles, CA

Andrew doesn't like how the app store on the iPad utilizes the screen real estate. Leo says Apple has to make things big and take up space because it has to be large enough to tap with fingers. He also isn't thrilled with the new design that puts light grey or blue text on a white background. Leo says Apple does a better job with accessibility than most companies, but it's still not perfect. Leo suggests writing to Apple about his accessibility issues.

I have an idea for a blind person using a smartphone

Episode 1082

Kathy from Maryland

Kathy is blind and she suggests to the caller who wanted to know if the iPhone was good for blind people, that maybe he try the iPod Touch. It's essentially the same as a phone. Leo says that by buying from the Apple store, they can walk him through using it.

Leo also thinks that RokForm makes great cases for those who are blind because they have very powerful magnets that can allow users to hang their phone on an appliance.

How can I use a tablet as a blind user?

Episode 1047

Steve from Nashville, TN

Steve got the Dell Venue Pro tablet for Christmas and he says it's great and very fast. He's blind and uses JAWS. Leo didn't know you could use JAWS on a tablet! It supports some touch gestures, but not all. Is a tablet better or worse for a blind user? Steve says it's worse. Far more challenging, but for the size and battery life, it's worth the challenge. Does he have to install Security Essentials? Leo says no, Microsoft has included that with Windows 8.1, and it's called "Defender."

How can I configure my DVD player to hear it via TV Ears?

Episode 1044

CJ from California

CJ's mother is hard of hearing and would like to get something that will help her listen to the audio on DVD. She's currently using TV Ears and it's not working. Leo says it should and it's likely that she doesn't have it set up properly to get the DVD audio as well. Leo advises contacting their help line toll free to have them walk her through configuring it correctly.

Which Internet ISP should I get?

Episode 1040

Marylin from Highland Park, NJ

Marilyn is getting a new computer and now wants to get broadband at home. She's wondering what the best ISP would be: Verizon FIOS or Optimum by Cablevision? Leo says that either is excellent, with FIOS likely being faster. Optimum is #2 in the country right now in service. So both options would be excellent.Marilyn should look beyond the teasing first year "tease" rate, and find out what the cost will be afterwards.

What's a good phone for the hearing impaired?

Episode 1032

Joe from Los Angeles, CA

Joe is hard of hearing and he can't use a smartphone because the ringer is too soft. Leo says that texting may be a good solution, but a mobile phone should be able to be loud enough for the hearing impaired to pick up. Leo got his mom a Jitterbug. Jitterbug also has smartphones. They are hearing aid compatible, but also has a large speaker with great sound. Leo also suggests talking to his cellphone carrier. TTPhone makes a senior phone with big buttons and loud speakers.

Can an Android phone read text aloud?

Episode 1020

Connor from Castle Rock, CO

Kyle wants to make sure that an Android phone will read back the text that he highlights. Leo says that it's called "text to speech" and Android has some really good options for that. Google calls it "TalkBack." The iPhone will do it by highlighting the text and then pressing the button that says "speak." In the Android settings under "assistive technologies" tab, he should select "TalkBack". That will just read back everything, though, but he should be able to narrow it down.

How good are accessibility features in smartphones?

Episode 1012

Aaron from Albany, OR

Aaron has a friend who needs to be totally reliant on voice command. Is there a smartphone that can do that? Leo says that the main issue is apps, and using apps require touch. He could use the Motorola Moto-X with Google Now, but it'll be limited.

Leo recommends contacting the Foundation for the Blind, an independent living resource center. He could also try Lighthouse for the Blind. They're really good at customizing the technology for the need. Doctor Mom in the ChatRoom recommends HelenKeller.org.