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How Apple accessibility tools are empowering the disabled in India

New Delhi: Technology is most powerful when it empowers everyone and Nivedita Vasant, a musician who suffers from cerebral palsy (a group of disorders that affect movement and muscle tone or posture), has won over the medical condition with help from Apple products that are made accessible from the very start.

She is using Apple devices for over a decade now and the accessibility features have really made her life easy.

“Apple’s Accessibility features are really impactful for people like me, who live with cerebral palsy,” Vasant told IANS on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities that was observed on Thursday, with Apple launching a redesigned Accessibility website to help persons with disabilities use its products seamlessly.

“I am a musician and love to play my piano and guitar. I use Music Memos on my iPhone to record small tunes and for music note scores, I use my iPad. I also use Assistive Touch, Siri and Dictation extensively,” Vasant informed.

On her iMac and MacBook Air, she uses multi-touch gestures.

“Over the years, these products have become integrated into my life”.

According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, persons with disabilities are “in a struggle to have their human dignity acknowledged”.

“They’re frequently left in the shadows of technological advancements that are a source of empowerment and attainment for others.”

For people like Vasant and millions more out there, the redesigned Apple website is another commitment from the Apple CEO to help them discover rich accessibility benefits available on every Apple product.

The website delves around four key areas — Vision, Mobility, Hearing, and Cognitive.

It provides helpful tips and information about dozens of powerful features available with just a tap or click that can take device customisation to a whole new level.

Apple devices let you write a text or email without seeing the screen. You can take a perfect group selfie just by hearing how many faces are in the frame.

VoiceOver describes exactly what’s happening on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, or Apple TV, so you can navigate your device just by listening.

“Apple’s built-in apps support VoiceOver, which will talk you through tasks you do with them,” according to the company.

For people with colour blindness or other vision challenges, they can adjust the view on their Mac, iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, and Apple TV.

“Choose from a range of colour filters or fine-tune them. And turn on Invert Colours on all your devices to instantly change the values and create more contrast.”

The Magnifier feature works like a digital magnifying glass. It uses the camera on iPad or iPhone to increase the size of anything being pointed at, so people can see the details more clearly.

“Move your cursor over any text — a paragraph, a caption, a headline — then press Command for a bigger, high-resolution version of what you selected. Hover Text also lets you choose the fonts and colors that work best for you,” the Apple informed on the new website.

Over the past decade, Apple has made key strides with its accessible features.

The powerful assistive features into Apple products are giving people with physical limitations greater control over their lives.

Hear it from Dr Alim Chandani, Mission Leader of ‘Hear A Million’ Project Enable India.

“I remember buying my first iPhone in 2007, and the experience of the device made me adapt to the entire ecosystem. I genuinely appreciate my Apple products for the value they bring in my life as a Deaf person,” Chandani told IANS.

FaceTime is an important part of his daily routine as he communicates using sign language.

“iPhone makes it easy to shoot, edit, and post video-logs I create in sign language to spread awareness around Deaf culture,” he emphasised.

“I also love the visual alerts that show the messages I may have missed through the day, and the vibration on my Apple Watch works as an alarm to wake me up every morning”.

For the differently-abled, Apple Support is also releasing a new collection of videos showing how to use some of the latest Accessibility features.

“If you have trouble using standard gestures, like pinch, you can use AssistiveTouch to change them,” according to the new Apple accessibility website.

One can navigate macOS with minimal use of a physical keyboard. The Accessibility Keyboard is fully customisable and gives users advanced typing and navigation capabilities.

“And it includes toolbar support, as well as improved typing, autocapitalisation, and word suggestions”.

The Speak Screen feature can read text from newspapers, books, web pages, or email on your iPhone or iPad.

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