Sightloss, Technology and Me

Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple believed that technology should be accessible to all.  So, when designing the Apple Mac, MacBook Pro, iPad and even iPhone he included accessibility; features that allowed those with impairments to work and use his products (with a little tweak) the same as everyone else.

For me, it is the ability to magnify and navigate both my phone and iPad with voice over.  A feature that literally single handedley save my sanity on a city break (Manchester madness) back in late 2014.

And has helped to keep me sane pretty much each and every day since.  I believe that I was most definitely born in the right age, the technological age that is!

I have always been a ‘mac’ !! Since studying at university, when Apple Macintosh’s were for all things design and PCs were for all things administrative.

I was also very fortunate to be bought an iPad many years ago (now) but before that, way back when they were originally released, it took me a long time to even consider an iPhone…. It had no key pad, it had no buttons, and it most certainly did not have a little raised dot on the number 5 for me to be able to work out where my fingers where…..

It was only when Nokia removed their navigator phone from the market, that I joined the world of iPhone.

And since then, the world has developed further, there is now the Apple Watch, sadly a product that is out of my price range, but has been used and trailed for the support that it offers for people with sight loss.  A friend, Molly Jane Watt has found it a great advance in technology, especially for her as she has additional sensory loss as a person with usher syndrome, a condition often also known as deafblind. Where in her instance she was born with significant hearing loss and then found her sight deteriorating.  Apple Watch and Molly is where you can read her personal blog, (this is set to open in a new window, so you won’t loose me!)  I wouldn’t have even known where to look to discover some of the fabulous and FULLY ACCESSIBLE features that can come in such a discrete, yet powerful ‘watch’ .

i wouldn’t have had the courage or ability to make it on my own in a city I didn’t know; I Wouldn’t have contemplated making London my ‘city of choice’ when South West Trains have discounted fares were it not for google maps and quirky little apps like Staion Master, developed with parents, those with disabilities and additional needs in mind.  Offering detailed information about each tube station, some quirky facts and even a 3D map with step count and floor plans to make it easier for me to navigate myself and familiarise myself with the stations before even going on them.

Yes, google maps and such apps are available on Android phones, but is this simple triple tap of the home button available to make my phone accessible for me?  A feature that can be set up for anyone of the accessibility features, be that sight loss, hearing loss, conflictive loss or even setting up assisted touch.

Me and my iPhone are inseparable now, but not because of emails or Facebook or even now Pokémon Go (which I have absolutely no understanding of) but for making and receiving calls, for typing and listening to text message and most importantly for giving me clear, instructions on my location, my ways to get from where I am to where I want to go and even recalculating such a route, should I miss a turning or get myself confused.



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