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EBU Access Cast

Jun 20, 2019

Welcome to the 12 episode of the EBU Access Cast. We decided to refresh the way how our podcast is presented, so from now on every month you will hear somebody different from our team who will be the main host for the episode. In the June episode Tanja took the position of the captain and she is joined by Mario, Bart and Pawel who became our newest team member. This time we are bringing you the accessibility news from the Apple conference WWDC 2019. In its opening Apple announced that technology is the most powerfull when everyone can use it and they showed clearly their commitment by presenting plenty of new accessibility functionalities on Apple devices that we can expect from this autumn. Starting from iOS13 and iPadOs the accessibility menu will be moved from the general settings to the top level settings which clearly shows the importance that Apple gives to accessibility. The feature that received most attention is the full voice control that will be available starting from MacOSCatalina and iOS13. The feature is ment for persons with motor disabilities, but this is another functionality that everyone can benefit from. Read more on the Apple VIS blog and listen to the Apple VIS podcast with Sarah Herrlinger, Director of Global Accessibility Policy and Initiatives at Apple and Dean Hudson, Accessibility Evangelist at Apple.
Another functionality that we are looking forward is the automatic recognition of unlabeled buttons in inaccessible apps. Custom gestures, a feature that we know from other screen readers, will be available in VoiceOver and will allow easier access to predefined functions. Liblouis will be supported on all Apple devices and the response time for braille screen typing will be increased for those who type in braille very fast. Low vision users will benefit from hover text functionality that will allow to enlarge the selected area on the screen.
The major news for Apple WatchOS 6 is that applications can run independently from the iPhone and it will have its own Appstore. Applications for listening audiobooks, voice memo, calculator and other interesting applications in the health section will be available from the WatchOS6. Check out the keynote on Youtube

Microsoft released the 1903 spring update with several accessibility improvements in Narrator, for the full list check out the Windows 10 help forum

Talking about accessibility and screen readers on Windows, the Vispero Group just launched the June JAWS update and the list of improvements is available on the Freedom Scientific webpage
Automatic image recognition is becoming much better and accurate as we move forward, therefore mobile application TapTapSee that most of us used some years ago brings a new, completely AI-based image recognition. The quality of descriptions will be much more
accurate and the recognition will be faster.
We tested the Clew application that serves for path retracing in the indoor navigation, it is available only for iOS devices and it uses Apple ARKit and camera to understand the surrounding. While the accuracy of the application is very high in the current version, we found out that the next update will provide the functionality to save the recorded path and we hope that the list of features will be extended to help visually impaired persons to orientate more easily in an unknown indoor environment.
At the end of our episode listen to the interview that we made with Feelif and discover a new way of experiencing shapes and images by haptics and sound.
As always feel free to leave us a comment or suggestion on our Twitter account or by e-mail and we are looking forward to be back with you in July.