Saturday, March 15

Apple and accessibility

Greetings. The following news was originally posted on the Gui-Talk email distribution list. Please forgive any formatting errors. In addition to the points discussed below, I read recently where Apple now includes support for refreshable Braille displays in the latest version of the Mac software. They are becoming more of a player in the accessibility world, and I hope the trend continues. Enjoy.

The following exert was taken from the web site

Apple Presents at CSUN Conference

14 March, 2008 @ 4:08 pm by Lioncourt
Apple made its presence felt at the CSUN Technology and Persons with 
Disabilities Conference 2008. On Wednesday, Apple gave two 
presentations to a full room equipped with dozens of 20- and 24-inch 
iMacs at the Los Angeles International Airport Marriott Hotel.

The sessions, presented by Mike Shebanek, Apple’s Senior Product 
Manager for Worldwide Product Marketing, in charge of Mac OS X and 
VoiceOver, focussed on general use of VoiceOver with the Macintosh 
operating system, and use of VoiceOver with the iTunes media 
management and playback software. Mary-Beth James, whose name will 
be familiar to many Voiceover users, was also present to assist 
during the sessions.

Both sessions were geared toward users who were unfamiliar with 
VoiceOver, and were very informative for many of those in 
attendance. Mr. Shebanek stressed Apple’s ongoing commitment to 
accessibility, noting particularly the extensive tools available to 
third-party developers to make their applications accessible with 
VoiceOver, and the positive results of their efforts.

During the afternoon session on iTunes, Mr. Shebanek also mentioned 
that Apple is aware of and working on the features of the iTunes 
store that are still inaccessible. These include the ability to 
purchase albums in their entirety, view one’s account, etc. He 
mentioned that accessibility for Apple’s line of iPod music players 
is also being worked out, and asked those in attendance whether 
APple should continue to release accessibility improvements as they 
become available, or waiting until they are fully realized in 
products. Overwhelmingly, it seemed, the attendees were in favor of 
Apple releasing incremental updates that improve accessibility over 

We here at would like to point out that Apple has 
received criticism from some when they’ve taken the approach of 
incremental accessibility enhancements, and would like to encourage 
those of you who would like to see the improvements as they become 
available to contact Apple Accessibility and let them know. 
Specifically, Mr. Shebanek asked if partial access to iPod menus 
would be something users would like while problems with deeper menu 
levels were being ironed out.

Overall, the number of Mac users seems to have increased at the 
annual conference, and Apple’s presence was felt beyond the 
presentations put on by the company. For example, MacSpeech Dictate 
was being demonstrated, and developers for also 
discussed their efforts to provide accessibility in their open 
source office suite with VoiceOver on the Mac platform.

Apple has once again demonstrated a commitment to accessibility that 
extends far beyond that of rival companies, and we thank them for 
their efforts.

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