There are about 253 million visually impaired people and 1.5 billion people suffering from hearing impairment in the world. How should these people use their mobile phones and answer the phone? There are some special designs for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, etc.
The World Hearing Report says that around 1.5 billion people worldwide suffer from hearing impairment. According to statistics, there are about 253 million visually impaired people and 43.3 million blind people in the world. Technological advances have provided more convenient 3C products for the disabled. Taking the iPhone as an example, how can people who cannot see or hear it use it? Apple has a lot of heart-warming features that break down barriers.
“Apple’s pursuit of innovation is not only about powerful performance and outstanding appearance, but really powerful technology should be technology that everyone, including people with disabilities, can enjoy, and can devote themselves to work, creation, communication, fitness and entertainment.” Apple’s official website statement.
Visually impaired can play iPhone
Apple says VoiceOver is an industry-leading screen reader for the blind and low-sighted. For completely blind users, “Voice” will read out every content on the screen, and can also adjust the speech speed to adjust the speaking speed to a suitable range. When VoiceOver is enabled, iPhone can also be controlled using a Braille display with input keys.
Ways to turn VoiceOver on or off
With Siri enabled, say: “Turn VoiceOver on” or “Turn VoiceOver off.”
Triple-press the side button (on iPhones with Face ID).
Triple-press the Home button (on iPhones with a Home button).
Go to Settings > Accessibility > VoiceOver and turn the setting on or off.
If you have color blindness or other visual impairments, you can display it in Mac, iPad, iPhone, and Apple Watch views, and adjust the colors to make the screen more suitable for your individual eyes.
Even better, you can also browse pictures with the “voiceover” function, users can browse more details of people, text, table data and other things in the picture.
For example, a user can view an image of a receipt in table form: consisting of rows and columns, with table headers. VoiceOver can also describe the pose and position of the characters in the picture, so that the user’s memory becomes more detailed and clear. In addition, through the “tagging” feature, users can customize the picture description to make family photos more personalized.
Looking for customer service staff? SignTime’s new service allows customers to communicate with AppleCare and Apple Customer Service Specialists in American Sign Language (ASI), British Sign Language (BSL) or French Sign Language (LSF) right from the browser.
Customers visiting an Apple Store in person can also use SignTime to remotely contact a sign language interpreter without prior appointment. SignTime will be launched in the US, UK and France first, and is expected to expand to other countries in the future.
Hearing Impaired Using iPhone
Deaf people can’t hear the iPhone ringing, but “see the incoming call.” There is such a feature in the iPhone settings – blinking an LED when prompted. When this feature is turned on, the LED light on the back of the phone will start flashing when the iPhone receives information.
For ordinary users, in the case of a noisy environment, this function can also be used to avoid missing calls and SMS notifications. To turn it on, go to Settings > Accessibility, then select Audio/Visual. Turn on Blink LED when prompted.
MFi hearing aids, on the other hand, are hearing aids and sound processors that Apple has partnered with manufacturers to create tailored for the iPhone and iPad. MFi means “Made for iPhone”.
What are the benefits of this hearing aid? For example, when eating at a noisy restaurant, hearing aids can amplify ambient noise.
For users who use MFi hearing aids, with the help of the “Instant Listening” function, they only need to bring their iPhone or iPad close to the conversation partner, and the built-in microphone of the device will amplify the other party’s voice, which can play a certain role in noise reduction. AirPods can do it too.
In 2021, in a major update to the MFi hearing aid program, Apple added support for two-way hearing aids. The microphones in these new hearing aids allow people who are deaf or hard of hearing to make hands-free calls and FaceTime conversations.
Apple will also support audiograms, a graph showing the results of a hearing test, in the headphone adjustment feature. Users can load the latest hearing test results from paper or PDF audiograms and quickly adjust the position. The headphone adjustment function can amplify smaller sounds and adjust specific frequencies according to the user’s hearing.
In addition, iPadOS also supports third-party eye tracking devices, allowing users to control the iPad with only their eyes. Compatible MFi devices will be able to track the user’s gaze position on the screen, the cursor will move with the gaze, and continuous eye contact will trigger actions, such as clicks.
Apple Watch Assistive Touch for accessibility
Advances in technology have allowed sign language users to communicate via video calls, with Macs, iPhones, and iPads all equipped with FaceTime calling, making it easy to converse with iOS and macOS users on the other side of the world.
There’s also closed captioning on the iPhone, which helps people with hearing impairments watch movies better, and toggle controls for the Mac, which allow crowd control for people with limited mobility.
Apple Watch also has a revolutionary new accessibility feature built into it, watchOS Assistive Touch, allowing users with upper limb disabilities to enjoy the convenience of Apple Watch without touching the screen or controls.
Using built-in motion sensors such as gyroscopes and accelerometers, as well as optical heart rate sensors and on-device machine learning, Apple Watch can sense subtle differences in muscle and tendon activity, allowing users to use gestures such as pinching or tightening. grip to control the cursor on the screen.
Assistive Touch on Apple Watch makes it easier for customers with disabilities to answer incoming calls, control on-screen cursors, view Notification Center, Control Center, and more.
In fact, in addition to Apple, there are many companies that are silently working to optimize the way everyone uses it.
Microsoft released an Xbox game controller (Xbox Adaptive Controller) specially designed for the disabled, allowing people with disabilities to play electric games like ordinary players.
Tobii Dynavox, a technology company from Sweden, has made an eye control device that can identify and track people’s eye movements, and then help “gradual freezing” patients to remotely control computer typing or electrical switches.
In the fiercely competitive smartphone market, major brands are all committed to pursuing industrial design or performance improvement. But true technological product innovation should be easily accessible to everyone, including the disabled. Just like the motto “Technology always comes from human nature”, the technology that benefits everyone is the truly powerful technology.