Apple Curates a New Collection of VoiceOver-Friendly Apps

Date Posted: 11/11/2016

by Bill Holton, AccessWorld Correspondent

To celebrate Blindness Awareness Month, Apple has released an updated collection of “Popular Apps Using VoiceOver.” Many of the apps made the list because they have been optimized for VoiceOver accessibility. Others are blindness-specific, which is to say they solve particular challenges faced by blind and low vision individuals. It’s not coincidental that many of these apps have been reviewed in detail in AFB AccessWorld. We’ll highlight and describe several of the best and most popular in this post with AccessWorld links where appropriate. The complete list can be accessed on your iDevice or on a PC or Mac running iTunes.

Naturally, Apple includes their productivity suite apps on the list--Pages, Numbers and Keynote, but they have every reason to do this. The development team has put a lot of work into making their word processor, spread sheet and presentation manager accessible. Best of all, they will run on your iPhone or iPad, and they’re free. I have listed a few for you to check out and sample.

Voice Dream Writer is another word processing app that delivers accessibility. The developer, Winston Chen, goes to great length to make both Voice Dream Writer and its companion, Voice Dream Reader, completely accessible, with extra features for VoiceOver users. Voice Dream Reader is also on the list. It’s an excellent way to read Bookshare books, along with word processing documents, PDF files and ePub titles using your choice of premium text to speech voices.

Ariadne GPS is an inexpensive app that can quickly tell you where you are, and how far it is to your stated destination. Blindsquare is another, more powerful alternative. Blindsquare combines a VoiceOver accessible navigation app with the power of millions of FourSquare users who are constantly adding and updating points of interest. It works with Apple Maps and Google Maps to help you plan a route and obtain turn-by-turn directions. It also links to Apple Google public transportation engines so you can check the schedule for the next bus or train. Blindsquare is an absolutely must have app for any VoiceOver user.

The past several years has seen dramatic improvements in the accessibility of social media websites and apps, and they are well-represented on the list. Facebook in particular has gone to great lengths to make their app accessible. Twitter, YouTube, and Skype have also made a number of accessibility improvements in recent releases.

Gamers—don’t feel left out. The list includes Papa Sangre. Travel through the underworld and try to rescue your one true love. The game is played entirely using sound--no sight required.

So, there you have it! Now you have a taste of some of the new Voice Over friendly apps. But again for the full list check out iTunes or download from your iDevice. Enjoy!

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