Emerging Technology as Assistive Technology: The iPad, Accessibility, and Libraries

Welcome MSU Libraries Emerging Technologies Summit attendees!

The resources referenced in my presentation, Emerging Technology as Assistive Technology: The iPad, Accessibility, and Libraries, are listed below. They are also available via the Diigo collaborative bookmarking site: mbfortson’s MSULibCon11 Bookmarks on Diigo.

You can find a copy of the presentation slides here: Emerging Technology as Assistive Technology: The iPad, Accessibility, and Libraries. If this PDF is not accessible to you, please contact me so I can get the slides to you in a format that is.

Thanks for visiting.

From Apple:


Apple’s Accessibility page. Offers information about assistive technology options included as standard features in Apple products and links to product-specific accessibility information.

Accessibility | iOS Technology Overview | Apple Developer

“Apple’s Accessibility APIs define how iOS apps can make their user interface available to an external assistive application or service. Apple strongly encourages developers to support these APIs in all of their applications so they are compatible with features built into iOS such as VoiceOver, as well as other third-party products.”

Accessibility Resources

Community resources, third-party solutions, and accessibility standards resources. Also offers downloadable Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates (PDF format) that describe how specific Apple products and services address Section 508 Guidelines.

Accessibility Solutions for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

“Hardware and software products (sold separately) that adapt iPhone and iPad for specific needs.”

Hearing | iPad

Information about Accessibility features that make the iPad easier to use for those who are deaf or hard of hearing: FaceTime; Closed Captioning; Headphone Jack; Bluetooth Audio; Mono Audio; Instant Messaging, Chat, and Social Networking; and Visual Alerts.

iPad iOS 4

“iOS 4 comes standard with a wide range of accessibility features that help people with disabilities experience everything iPad has to offer. For example, the built-in VoiceOver screen-reading technology allows those who are blind or have low vision to hear a description of the item they’re touching on the screen. iOS also offers out-of-the-box support for over 30 wireless braille displays and many other award-winning accessibility features, such as dynamic screen magnification, playback of closed-captioned video, mono audio, white on black text, and more.”

iPad User Guide (HTML)

iPad user guide in HTML format.

iPad User Guide (PDF)

iPad User Guide in tagged PDF format.

iPad Voluntary Product Accessibility Template

VPAT describing how the Apple iPad addresses Section 508 guidelines.

iPad 2 Voluntary Product Accessibility Template

VPAT describing how the Apple iPad 2 addresses Section 508 guidelines.

Physical and Motor Skills | iPad

Information about features that make the iPad easier to use for those with physical or motor-related access needs: Multi-Touch Display; Tactile Buttons; Multiple Orientations; Onscreen Keyboard with Predictive Text Entry, External Keyboards, and Apple Stereo Headset Compatibility.

Special Education | Apple in Education

While not iPad-specific, this Apple in Education page offers information about Apple universal access features. Some iPod and iPhone information may also be applicable to the iPad.

Special Education | App Store

App Store “Special Education” category. Opens in iTunes.

Vision | iPad

Information about Accessibility features that make the iPad easier to use for those with vision-related access needs: VoiceOver, Zoom, White on Black, Speak Auto-text, Tactile Buttons, Headset Compatibility, and Audible Alerts.

Specific apps:

Digit-Eyes Audio Labeling System (iTunes Preview)

“Digit-Eyes reads barcode labels. It enables people without vision to scan UPC / EAN codes and hear the names of over 7.5 million products. Users can also make their own barcode labels on the Digit-Eyes website and print them on inexpensive address labels. These barcodes may contain text that VoiceOver reads aloud or they can be used to record audio on your iPhone or camera-equipped iPod Touch that is played back whenever the bar code is scanned.”
Developer site

Eye Glasses (iTunes Preview)

“Reading Glasses in your pocket! Works…wherever the phone’s camera does.”
Developer site

Learning Ally Audio (iTunes Preview)

“Gain instant access to Learning Ally’s downloadable DAISY formatted books.”
Developer site

Proloquo2Go (iTunes Preview)

“Proloquo2Go provides a full-featured augmentative and alternative communication solution for people who have difficulty speaking.”
Developer site

Sign 4 Me (iTunes Preview)

“‘Sign 4 Me – A Signed English Translator’ is the ULTIMATE tool for learning sign language. The ONLY app that provides sign language instruction in 3D!”
Developer site

soundAMP R (iTunes Preview)

“Amplify the world around you discreetly with iPhone and iPod touch.”
Developer site

ZoomReader (iTunes Preview)

“In combination with your iPhone’s built-in camera, ZoomReader lets you magnify and read printed text by first taking a picture of an object like a book or menu, then converts the image into text using state-of-the-art Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. ZoomReader will then read the text back to you using a natural-sounding voice.”
Developer site

Other resources:

4 Ways iPads Are Helping People With Disabilities | Mashable

Touch devices — most notably the iPad — are revolutionizing the lives of children, adults and seniors with special needs.


“Appolicious is the place to discover and share the latest and best iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and Android apps through social recommendations as well as reviews from users and our editorial team.” See LuisP’s profile for several disability and accessibility-related curated lists from the Florida Center for Instructional Technology’s Luis Perez.


From the site: “This website covers all Apple products with a slant towards disability. This website is about users with a disability, adaptive and assistive technology, and making accessible programs and content.” Also from AT Mac:

iPad | ATMac

Archive of iPad-related ATMac articles.

iPad Assistive Technology/Disability Round-Up | ATMac

Articles about accessibility and the iPad.

Stories: iPad Users With Disabilities | ATMac

“There have been a plethora of stories in the mainstream news and in blogs about the iPad and the amazing positive effects it’s having for people with various disabilities… here’s a round-up of some of them.”

The iPad as an Affordable Communicator: Initial Review | Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

“Then, I did something I had never done before: I went into one of the many Starbucks at O’Hare and ordered my first mocha frappuccino by myself. No misunderstanding or hand gesturing involved. It was so cool, like another door had just opened for me!

I feel like technology is finally catching up with what I truly need.”

The Mac-cessibility Network

“The Mac-cessibility Network is devoted to connecting, compiling, and providing easy access to the best resources for blind, visually impaired, and other disability groups using Apple products. It is maintained by a dedicated group of visually impaired volunteers, who are Apple enthusiasts themselves.”


“Apple Mac iOS Rumors and News You Care About.” Also from MacRumors:

Apple Activates Assistive Touch in iOS 5 Beta 3 | MacRumors

“The new settings allow users to activate a menu overlay on the iPad with by pressing on a designated corner. The menu allows one-tap access to all of the iPad’s functions including rotation, shaking, volume changes and even gestures. Known gestures such as pinch and swipe can be recalled by a tap, and custom gestures can even be recorded and played back on command.”

iPad News and Rumors | MacRumors

iPad-related news and rumors on MacRumors.com.

Mobile Learning 4 Special Needs

Resources from the Florida Center for Instructional Technology’s Luis Perez, including links to app lists and video tutorials.

Our Favorite Apps | Tools for Life

Searchable app database from Tools for Life, Georgia’s Assistive Technology Act Program.

Text-to-speech could be Apple’s next mobile trump card | GigaOM

“Over the weekend, Apple released iOS 5 Beta 5 to developers, and some intrepid digging by 9to5Mac revealed that it contains a text-to-speech system powered by Nuance, the makers of Dragonsoft Naturally Speaking. The system apparently works by allowing users to switch from keyboard to speech input at any text field, and it looks likely to be a system-wide feature, if it makes it to public release.”

The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)

Apple “news, information and analysis.” Also from TUAW:

Apple enables ‘Assistive Touch’ features on iPad in latest iOS 5 beta | TUAW

“Apple has enabled a very cool feature for iPad users in the latest beta of iOS 5. ‘Assistive Touch’ allows users to perform gestures and button actions on the iPad with one touch.”

The iPad could be the best mobile accessibility device on the market | TUAW

The iPad “may become the most accessible and least expensive assistive computing device ever made.”

The World of iPads, iPod Touches, and Apps | Tools for Life
Archived webinar from Tools for Life, Georgia’s Assistive Technology Act Program.