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Blind Access Journal Posts

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).

Tune in the World of Live, Streaming Internet Radio: ooTunes for iOS

June 28, 2012 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

In this approximately 25-minute podcast, Allison Hilliker and Darrell Shandrow demonstrate the accessible and popular ooTunes app for listening to more than 30,000 radio stations on your iOS device.

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).

Ready, Set, Fight! Object Identification Apps Battle It Out On iOS

June 28, 2012 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

In this one-hour show, Allison Hilliker and Darrell Shandrow demonstrate the Digit-Eyes, LookTel Recognizer and VizWiz iOS object-recognition apps with six typical household products.

This podcast was recorded on March 25. Since that time, Digit-Eyes has been updated to include product information from Directions For Me. We do not believe any other significant changes have taken place with object-recognition apps since we did the testing demonstrated in this episode of the show.

Additional Resources

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).

Convention Tech: Packing Your iOS Suitcase

June 25, 2012 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

It will soon be time for many blind Americans to travel to the summer convention of the National Federation of the Blind or the American Council of the Blind. In this approximately 30-minute podcast, let Allison Hilliker and Darrell Shandrow help you pack your virtual convention suitcase by sharing with you all about the iPhone apps they use during conferences.

Convention Resources

Apps

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).

Accessibility Report on Foursquare 5.0 for iOS

June 7, 2012 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

In this approximately 26-minute podcast, Darrell Shandrow demonstrates some of the VoiceOver accessibility concerns found in the latest Foursquare 5.0 iOS app update.

On the heels of its Wednesday update, Foursquare posted a brief article on its support website stating that accessibility is a “top priority,” inviting users to submit problem reports to accessibility@foursquare.com. We urge all blind Foursquare users who rely on VoiceOver to submit a clearly-written accessibility report to Foursquare as soon as possible.

The following accessibility report has been sent to Foursquare’s development team at accessibility@foursquare.com for their consideration.

Hello Foursquare Development Team,

I am writing to thank you for inviting the blind VoiceOver user community to be part of the Foursquare accessibility development process and to report my accessibility concerns with Foursquare 5.0.

There are two primary accessibility issues throughout the new app’s user interface: unlabeled buttons and elements that provide no accessible information. I will demonstrate these by way of a podcast and a step-by-step write-up. It is my hope that the podcast will serve as a live example while the write-up will represent a concise description of the issues.

Please be sure VoiceOver is enabled on your iOS device in Settings > General > Accessibility >VoiceOver before opening Foursquare and following these steps.

Friends Tab

  1. Double tap the Friends tab in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen.
  2. Flick to the right repeatedly through this screen, listening to VoiceOver speak each user interface element.
  3. Listen to VoiceOver read elements such as “button,” “activity btn comment” and “activity btn like.”
  4. Observe that it takes five or six right flicks to read the information about each friend in the new user interface where it used to require just one.
  5. Notice there’s no longer an option to select between “near by” and “world wide” friends. Either this option is no longer available or it is not accessible to VoiceOver users.

Checkin

  1. Tap the top of the Friends screen with four fingers to make sure you are at the top. VoiceOver should say “Logo.”
  2. Flick right once to and double tap the “Global Checkin” button.
  3. Flick right repeatedly through the checkin screen, listening to VoiceOver read each user interface element.
  4. Notice that VoiceOver says “map” before reading the first place on the list. The meaning of this is unclear. Are we missing some important context or information?
  5. Continuing to flick right through the list, listen for an element that says “current location.” Double tapping this element seems to do nothing except repeat “current location.” What is happening with this item?

Explore

  1. Tap the top of the screen with four fingers. VoiceOver should say “Logo.”
  2. Flick to the right repeatedly through this screen, listening to VoiceOver speak each user interface element.
  3. Notice that VoiceOver says “map” before reading the first place on the list. The meaning of this is unclear. Are we missing some important context or information?
  4. Continuing to flick right through the list, listen for an element that says “current location.” Double tapping this element seems to do nothing except repeat “current location.” What is happening with this item?
  5. As you flick to the right, observe several elements where VoiceOver clicks and says nothing.

Please feel free to let me know if I may beta test or be of further assistance in your accessibility efforts.

Regards,
Darrell Shandrow
BlindAccessJournal.com

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).

What’s the Latest? Stay Current with NFB-Newsline for iOS

June 5, 2012 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

In this approximately 37-minute show, Allison Hilliker and Darrell Shandrow demonstrate the NFB-NEWSLINE Mobile app, which opens the world of accessible magazines, newspapers and TV listings to blind people who use iOS devices.

NFB-Newsline provides more than 340 magazines and newspapers, as well as accessible TV listings, to eligible people with print-reading disabilities through a telephone-based speech-output reading system, Bookshare, an accessible website and, now, a fully VoiceOver-accessible app for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch users.

If you would like to sign up, call your state’s talking book library, dial NFB-NEWSLINE directly at 1-866-504-7300 or visit the NFB-NEWSLINE website.

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).

Shop Smart with Blind Bargains for iOS

April 5, 2012 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

In this approximately 33-minute show, Allison Hilliker and Darrell Shandrow demonstrate the new Blind Bargains app for iOS, which provides a simplified way of accessing the deals and news available on the popular blind-community website.

Follow Blind Bargains (@BlindBargains) and A T Guys (@atguys) on Twitter to stay up to date with the latest news about the Blind Bargains website and the assistive technology sales company that operates the service.

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).

iOS 5.1 Software Update

March 7, 2012 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

In this approximately 13-minute podcast, Darrell Shandrow demonstrates and teaches the over-the-air (OTA) Software Update process as he makes the jump to iOS 5.1 on his iPhone 4 without the need to connect the device to a computer running iTunes.

iOS 5.1 is a minor update containing a number of bug fixes and new features, including a fix for dropped audio on some outgoing calls, improved battery life, playback speed controls for podcasts and enhanced camera face detection. Read this article on the changelog and direct download links for more information.

Before updating iOS, it is strongly recommended that you thoroughly back up your iOS device in iCloud and iTunes. Follow these instructions to complete both backup tasks.

The gestures indicated in all instructions assume VoiceOver is enabled and are performed from a blind person’s perspective.

iCloud Backup

  1. Flick to and double tap Settings.
  2. Right flick to and double tap iCloud.
  3. Right flick to and double tap Storage & Backup.
  4. Right flick to and double tap Back Up Now to start the process.

iTunes for Windows Backup

If you are running iTunes with JAWS for Windows, the free Blind Tunes scripts enhance the experience significantly.

  1. Connect your iOS device to your computer and open iTunes.
  2. Press F6 until you reach the Sources list.
  3. Press down arrow until you reach the name of your iOS device. If a dialogue box about your iTunes purchases opens, press enter on its OK button, then continue down the list until you reach your device.
  4. Press Shift+F10 or the Application key to right click your iOS device.
  5. Down arrow to Back Up and press enter. A quick series of tones will be heard from iTunes when the backup has completed.

iTunes for Mac Backup

  1. Find and open iTunes. You may want to launch it by pressing Command+O instead of Control+Option+Space Bar so iTunes doesn’t “forget” the location of your media library if it has changed from the default.
  2. Use the Control+Option+Left and Control+Option+Right Arrow keys to navigate to the Sources table.
  3. Press Right Arrow+Down Arrow to interact with the Sources table.
  4. Press down arrow until you reach the name of your iOS device. If a dialogue box opens asking you to log into Apple’s Ping social networking service, press escape to close it and resume moving down the list. If a dialogue box about your iTunes purchases opens, press enter on its OK button, then continue down the list until you reach your device.
  5. Press Control+Option+Shift+M to open a context menu for your iOS device.
  6. Down arrow to Back Up and press enter. A quick series of tones will be heard from iTunes when the backup has completed.

Update iOS

Once you have completed the iCloud and iTunes backups, you are ready to update iOS.

  1. Flick to and double tap Settings.
  2. Right flick to and double tap General.
  3. Right flick to and double tap Software Update.
  4. Right flick to and double tap Download and Install to start the update process. Allow 10 to 15 minutes for the download to complete. Left flicking a few times will take you to a download progress indicator. Once the download has finished, you will hear a couple of messages about downloading and verifying the update. Your iOS device will reboot and complete the installation of the new software.

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).

CSUN: LookTel Recognizer for iOS

March 6, 2012 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Allison Hilliker and Darrell Shandrow talk with Joe Soderquist and explore the new LookTel Recognizer object identification app for blind users of iOS devices. Follow LookTel (@LookTel) on Twitter for the latest news on Money Reader, Recognizer and the company’s upcoming products.

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).

CSUN: Nancy Miracle – Digit-Eyes Bar Code Scanner for iOS

March 6, 2012 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

In this approximately 29-minute podcast, Allison Hilliker and Darrell Shandrow talk with Nancy Miracle about the Digit-Eyes bar code scanning and labeling app for iOS. Nancy assures us the product is alive and well and lets us know that an update will be released in the near future. Follow Digit-eyes (@digit_eyes) on Twitter for the latest news.

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).