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iOS 8 Accessibility Call to Action

September 17, 2014 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

iOS 8 hit the street with accessibility bugs that severely impact bluetooth keyboards, Braille support, screen scrolling and other critical areas of the operating system on which blind VoiceOver users rely in order to effectively use iOS devices. A list of The Accessibility Bugs in iOS 8: From Serious To Minor effectively describes the situation on iOS 8 launch day.

Accessibility bugs impact not only people who want to stay current with the latest version of iOS on their existing devices, but they also affect those who have purchased a new iPhone 6, where there is no choice to downgrade the version of iOS.

Let’s help the decisionmakers at Apple understand that we want an equal seat at the Apple table. We want to be able to use our iOS devices on terms of equality with the sighted. Since VoiceOver is built into iOS, that means we need Apple to make correcting accessibility-related bugs a high priority.

How You Can Help

If you are a blind or low-vision iOS user, or you are someone who cares about one, we ask that you please take at least one of the following action steps:

  • If you upgraded to iOS 8 or you bought an iPhone 6 or 6+, email accessibility@apple.com or call Apple’s accessibility team at 1-877-204-3930 and ask for resolution of the accessibility bugs found during the iOS 8 developer beta.
  • If you have not yet upgraded to iOS 8, or you are hesitant to purchase a new iPhone, email accessibility@apple.com or call Apple’s accessibility team at 1-877-204-3930 and explain how your upgrading and purchasing decision is being impacted by new accessibility barriers introduced in iOS 8.
  • Email Tim Cook (tcook@apple.com) or tweet him @tim_cook asking him to direct Apple’s iOS developers to address the accessibility bugs discovered by blind VoiceOver users during the iOS 8 developer beta cycle.
  • Post on Twitter about your iOS 8 accessibility concerns by mentioning AppleAx and including the #apple, #ios8 and #a11y hashtags.

Let’s all take action today to insure a brighter future for blind, deaf-blind and low-vision people in the Apple ecosystem.

Electronic Brailler

July 25, 2014 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

In this approximately 22-minute podcast, Allison Hilliker and Darrell Shandrow speak with Sean Kelleher from Electronic Brailler LLC and learn all about the portable, quiet Cosmo Braille Writer for blind children and adults.

We love hearing from our listeners! Please feel free to talk with us in the comments. What do you like? How could we make the show better? What topics would you like us to cover on future shows?

If you use Twitter, let’s get connected! Please follow Allison (@AlliTalk) and Darrell (@darrell).

Categories: Braille, podcast

Let Literacy Ring: an Overview of the NFB BELL Program for Blind Children

July 7, 2012 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

In this approximately 11-minute podcast, Allison Hilliker and Emily Gibbs talk about a summer Braille learning program for blind children. The two-week Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning (BELL) program focuses on intensive Braille instruction for children with some residual sight who might not otherwise be granted the opportunity to learn this important skill.

For more information about the BELL Program, please contact:
Emily Gibbs
Education Programs Specialist
National Federation of the Blind
EGibbs (at) nfb.org
(410) 659-9314, ext. 2407

We are excited to report that the BELL Program was the recipient of this year’s
Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award at the 2012 convention of the National Federation of the Blind in Dallas on July 5.

We love hearing from our listeners! Please feel free to talk with us in the comments. What do you like? How could we make the show better? What topics would you like us to cover on future shows?

If you use Twitter, let’s get connected! Please follow Allison (@AlliTalk) and Darrell (@darrell).

Categories: Braille, podcast

CSUN: Perkins Products Mini Braille Display

March 4, 2012 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Allison Hilliker and Darrell Shandrow chat with Gayle Yarnall and learn all about the Perkins Products Mini Braille display.

We thank Jeff Bishop (@jeffbishop) for his tireless hours of dedicated work on the audio editing of our CSUN podcasts. These efforts made it possible for us to share our CSUN experience with all of you and expand our knowledge of the assistive technology field.

We love hearing from our listeners! Please feel free to talk with us in the comments. What do you like? How could we make the show better? What topics would you like us to cover on future shows?

If you use Twitter, let’s get connected! Please follow Allison (@AlliTalk) and Darrell (@darrell).

Categories: Braille, CSUN, podcast

CSUN: Freedom Scientific Focus 14 Blue Braille Display

March 4, 2012 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Allison Hilliker and Darrell Shandrow talk with Ryan Jones all about Freedom Scientific’s soon-to-be-released Focus 14 Blue Braille display.

We thank Jeff Bishop (@jeffbishop) for his tireless hours of dedicated work on the audio editing of our CSUN podcasts. These efforts made it possible for us to share our CSUN experience with all of you and expand our knowledge of the assistive technology field.

We love hearing from our listeners! Please feel free to talk with us in the comments. What do you like? How could we make the show better? What topics would you like us to cover on future shows?

If you use Twitter, let’s get connected! Please follow Allison (@AlliTalk) and Darrell (@darrell).

Categories: Braille, CSUN, podcast

CSUN: Braille 2000 and Accidental Accessibility

March 28, 2011 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

I had an enlightening conversation with Dr. Robert Stepp, where I learned that the Braille 2000 translation software for transcribers is accidentally accessible but not marketed for use by blind people. I think we ended on a positive note, and I hope many of you will find this an interesting look at how some small companies in our own field employ many of the same arguments as the mainstream technology industry to explain why they are not fully accessible.

Listen or Pause – Braille 2000

Download – Braille 2000

CSUN: Churning Out the Dots at 800 Pages Per Hour on the Index Braille Box!

March 24, 2011 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Just in case you’re thinking there’s nothing new and innovative in the field of hardcopy Braille production, Index Braille is here to turn heads with the new 800-pages-per-hour Braille Box! I spoke with Björn Löfstedt, Index Braille’s CEO, about this fast, quiet $13,000 Braille embosser that should find a home in many Braille production houses around the world.

Download, Play or Pause – Braille Box

Categories: Braille, CSUN, podcast

Exploring the iPod Touch and Learning Braille Using the Refreshabraille 18 Display

January 6, 2011 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Tyler Juranek demonstrates the iPod Touch with VoiceOver and the Refreshabraille 18 display.

Tyler covers a number of topics in this approximately 30-minute podcast, including:

  • A physical description of the Refreshabraille 18 with commentary and a demonstration of its durability.
  • A thorough demonstration of the process for pairing the Refreshabraille with the iPod Touch using Bluetooth.
  • Remote control and navigation of the iPod Touch using the controls on the Refreshabraille from a distance.
  • Contracted Braille keyboard text entry.
  • Using VoiceOver Practice Mode to demonstrate a possibly easy means for teaching and learning Braille.

I am honored to welcome Tyler to the Blind Access Journal podcast for his excellent debut. We are looking forward to many more contributions.

Download, Play or Pause: Exploring the iPod Touch and Learning Braille Using the Refreshabraille Display