I will make my final comment on this topic concluding what I think about accessibility, Apple and Android.
As far as my mind tells me, it drives me to believe that I am pro of the thought “your device should work for you, and not you, for it.” This is from an accessibility standpoint. The reason is because everyone who is not blind let’s his device do the work for him. An his work, is not on an inaccessible environment. For example, a sighted person with an Android device does not need to download another keyboard for more accessible typing, neither does he need to download another Mail client because the built-in one is not accessible. And what happens to a blind person with an Android device is staggering. He/she will need to replace almost half of the built-in apps to create an accessible environment. Sometimes, he/she will even need to pay for accessible and better software. For instance, only an inconsiderable number of Talkback users use the default Google TTS. Most of them buy text-to-speech voices from Code factory or Acapela to improve the performance with Talkback. Hopefully, the number of users who buy other accessible keyboards for daily use is not as great as the number of those who buy text-to-speech software. The question is, why should the user be forced to buy even the most elementary apps and services to gain access to his device? Perhaps because he’s being treated as a second-class citizen? Perhaps because he, belonging to another community, considered to be equal to all the other people of different communities or societies, should work and pay more to have the same access because he’s not part of other communities who are different from his? Or, possibly the company, who is a giant distributor worldwide, does not respect the laws concerning accessibility standards? Maybe, and we may go on with questions and assumptions, but keeping in mind that we should have the right to buy and use these technological products just as accessibly as all the other part of the world. It may be too harsh, and probably rather offencive to say that I’m not responsible for being blind. After all, it wasn’t myself who took away my sight. Accessibility is a standard and not a bonus. Well, at least in this small world of technology which is more artificial than the real world.
Now, talking a little about Apple, I’ll show my reasons why I will stay with iOS, despite the removal of the headphone jack. By the time you unbox your iPhone, you just press the homebutton three times consecutively and you have full access to your device. You do not need to install an extra screen reader, neither call a sighted friend to turn it on for you. Also, you do not have to install another homescreen, another keyboard, another music/video player app, another mail client, another phone manager, and another PDF viewer. You have the possibility to do it, but in most of the cases, you do not get the same quality as you do with the built-in apps. It’s true that you need to download other apps such as software for productivity, communication or messaging, but you need not necessarily download them. What is true is that you’re not downloading them as a replacement to the built-in apps as a result of inaccessibility. Voiceover will cover all the areas on your phone and you won’t need to occasionally look for sighted help as you may do on Android. It is easy and simple to navigate, plus you’re instructed in most of the cases what to do. Everything can be accomplished quickly, from answering a call to typing. And let’s pay a little attention for a minute to typing. The Braille keyboard on Voiceover is one of the greatest features on this screen reader because you can type nearly in the same speedas you do with a computer keyboard. You can even use it on the bus or school, as your fingers will be easily accommodated to the dots on the screen, and the only thing you need to do is to let your fingers do the typing while holding your phone in landscape position with the homebutton facing your right hand, and the top of the screen touching the palm of your left hand. There are hopefully a good number of languages supported both by voiceover and text-to-speech service, so you can use high-quality voices and full integration with your language. Internet, being one of the most used services nowadays, is fully supported by Voiceover, and you can browse with ease using roter and left-right swiping/flicking. Being a student at faculty, I have had the need to use many PDF books part of the curriculum of my subject, and believe me, it has been a great pleasure for the first time to read PDF books on my phone. iBooks didn’t crash like Adobe reader and it switched pages automatically without having to manually do that. From February up to now, I have never asked for sighted help, and this is the reason why I defend Apple, who, despite of using accessibility marketing for profitable purposes, (which I think is of little interest), I praise them for what they’ve done towards accessibility and I’ll continue to use their products as long as they offer me reasonable access.
Ironically enough to mention again,
Apple is not my God!
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