The Magazine is a new media site that produces 5 mid length articles every two weeks. Well curated and thoughtful articles by respected writers grace its pages. The January 31 issue (9) has a feature on Apple’s universal design creedo—the almost gentic drive to balance the user experience for the widest audience. The almost “zero config” ease of use for accessibility is not skin deep marketing. And it shows!
A few months ago, Matt Gemmell had a great insight into what iOS means for disabled individuals, and it resonates with me still: “iOS devices are a lifeline. They’re a bionic enhancement — a pocket full of superpowers. The difference that they make to the life of a blind person is truly profound. They’re tools of independence, and of participation.”
While the author, Steven Aquino, wonders if it is marketing he acknowledges the “ease of use” that minimizes or even removes the need to teach computer literacy. That is not marketing it is a trait—an expression of OS X’s deep accessibility designs passed to the new iOS. It’s is in the APIs (the application programming interface) where the accessibility design possibilities are made possible .
Sure, Apple does advertise accessibility, it showed individuals signing over FaceTime. Not as something different, but just another aspect of the technology. It doesn’t overplay the disability card, like Matt Gemmell’s lifeline statement, instead Apple lets the individual’s actions speak for themselves.
The sea change brought about by iOS devices, and the the openly connected world of HTML and CSS (the abstraction of content from presentation) levels the playing field for people with disabilities. But let’s face it, when a visually impaired person can just buy a book and hear it the same day it is released is, quite simply, fantastically cool!