The INDATA team just got an iPad! We quickly learned that this is a wonderful assistive technology device that is easy for almost anyone to use. Not only is it conveniently lightweight, making it very portable, but it also has several accessibility attributes available for people with disabilities. I’ll take you through some of these features now.
Getting to the Accessibility menu is just a couple of taps away! First, tap the Settings button on the home page. The screen will besplit into two sections, and you will see “Accessibility” on the right side. From there you will be given different options to personalize your user experience on the iPad. The first option is for VoiceOver.
VoiceOver is a great tool for people who have low vision, a print disability, or any type of disability that makes reading a challenge. When turned on, VoiceOver will read aloud the items you tap on the screen. This mode changes your gestures a little; for instance now you must double-tap to access something.
For those who struggle with reading black print on a white background, you can easily flip the colors so that the text is white on a black background. You can also use Zoom, which will magnify the screen for you. After activating Zoom, just double-tap the screen with three fingers to magnify whatever it is you wish to get a closer look at. Then you can drag the screen up or down with three fingers to scroll. Another great tool on the iPad is Closed Captioning for watching movies and shows, which you can turn on under the Video menu.
The last feature I want to mention is the word prediction tool. Typing on the iPad may take some getting used to, so this is very useful for avoiding typos. As you type, any time you hesitate a word suggestion will pop up, which you can select by pressing the Enter button.
The iPad is similar to its predecessors, the iPhone and iPod touch, however the larger screen makes reading, typing, and controlling the applications much easier for people with disabilities. We look forward to seeing how this device can be used to help others gain independence.