This post was originally written for and featured on the University of Pennsylvania’s PennWIC blog.
iOS accessibility features are often regarded as tools exclusively for users with disabilities and sometimes portrayed as “secret” or “hidden,” but they’re really not!
As universal design plays an increasingly important role in our engagement with the complex digital world, iOS accessibility features are a prime example of how our technology devices can be tailored to fit our needs.
Many times our tech tools are not always customizable but rather come one-size-fits-all. Those users who cannot adapt, sometimes require supplementary assistive technology, which is often very expensive and challenging to learn how to use.
However, Apple includes accessibility features built in on every device that are designed to support ALL users. These features are found in Settings under General. Scroll down to Accessibility.
Here are some suggestions for you to trick out your device 😉 :
Located under Switch Control, add a new switch to allow your device’s camera to track your head movement. By shaking your head to the left or right, you can execute a range of actions such as adjusting your volume, navigating to the home screen, and summoning Siri. After selecting “Switch Control,” choose “Switches” and “Add New Switch.” The camera source will allow you to assign actions to left and right head movements. Don’t forget to actually turn on Switch Control after everything’s set up!
Ever feel like you’ve been staring at a screen for too long? At the end of a long day of researching and writing on a computer, the last thing I want to do is stare at my iPhone’s brightly lit screen. Turn on “Invert Colors” on your device to avoid the glare and enjoy a new aesthetic.
Activate Speak Screen located under Speech, and swipe two fingers down on any speakable content. It works great with Safari and book reading apps. You can also adjust the speaking rate, choose different languages, and highlight content.
Ever wish your call, text, email alerts were a bit more noticeable without having to rely on your iPhone’s sound, vibration, or screen light feature? Turn on LED flash to receive a distinct but unobtrusive notification.
New to iOS? Guided Access will allow you to practice using the apps on your device. To encourage focused learning, Guided Access limits the distractions by turning off the extra options and locking the user into the app of choice.
Want to learn more? Join me for my Accessibility on iOS workshop on December 1st! And, of course, not everyone uses an iOS device, so stay tuned for later accessibility posts on other operating systems!