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ASSISTECH  February 2012

ASSISTECH February 2012

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Subject:

Re: Mainstreaming AT - tablets and smart phones

From:

"Judge Simon (BARNSLEY HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST)" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

A discussion list for Assistive Technology professionals.

Date:

Thu, 2 Feb 2012 08:43:35 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (91 lines)

Plus, eInk screens work outdoors -i.e. contrast improves as the ambient light increases, the opposite of luminescent screens. I think eInk in general is amazing and has loads of uses in AT...

Annoyingly, though, the new Kindle (Fire) seems to have ditched eInk in place of an iPad esq screen (anyone who gets E&T [1] can see the very good 'teardown' article where they have deconstructed one).

Also, in terms of switch scanning on iPad, this is generically possible (ish) at the moment via VoiceOver - BUT it is two switch user scan (i.e. tab and enter), what we are lacking is a proper accessibility interface to allow more methods as Peter points out, but Will gives us hope for (although a hardware 'fix' isn't really the full answer)! For example the iPortal does essentially just that for (essentially switched) joystick access.

Oh for a generic accessibility interface that is adopted across platforms... People are working towards this (e.g. Raising the Floor and AEGIS) but it does seem like we reinvent the wheel with each new generation of device/OS combination.  Ho Hum.

Cheers

Simon

[1]     http://eandt.theiet.org/ (article not online yet)

-----Original Message-----
From: A discussion list for Assistive Technology professionals. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Paul Nisbet
Sent: Wednesday, February 01, 2012 5:31 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Mainstreaming AT - tablets and smart phones

Hi Peter

The eink screens I think are less 'glarey' - I know a few folk with visual impairment who really prefer the Kindle screen to any LCD screen, regardless of colour scheme. They say they can read the Kindle screen for far longer and their eyes get less tired.

Other reasons why a Kindle may be what someone might prefer:

Battery life, lightweight, just does one thing (that's a disadvantage as well, in some cases), easy to use, cheap, easy to buy books, good value, 3G access without paying a contract or PAYG, basic but acceptable TTS.

Personally, I have an iPad because it's a multi-purpose device and I have no problem reading the screen. I have Kindle and Overdrive apps for borrowing eBooks from the Edinburgh public library, so not locked into one eBook supplier or format. But that's me - other people have different priorities.

Paul



--
The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.


-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Hamlin [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: 01 February 2012 11:20
To: [log in to unmask]; Paul Nisbet
Cc: Peter Hamlin
Subject: Re: Mainstreaming AT - tablets and smart phones

Hi Paul,

Since it is possible to adjust the display properties of most Windows, Android or Apple devices to closely match the Black and White Kindle display, then I am uncertain as what is to be gained by purchasing a Kindle just for its display?

Again, you will need to elaborate as to why they may 'be lots of reasons why kindle may be more suitable than a multiple purpose device', as I regret that I am unaware of them ...

---

With regard to scanning on the iOS devices, I probably should have provided further qualification with my earlier statement.  As the link you provided states, no full scanning and switch access option is available that works with all Apps on an iPad/iPodtouch/iPhone.  Neither will there be such an App provided by a 3rd party software developer for Apple devices, because as previously stated, this would violate Apple's security model (no App is allowed to access another App - except the ones allowed by Apple).

Scanning on an Apple device is only available if and only if provided within an individual App - however as soon as the user leaves the App it is 'Game-Over'.  Should 2 Apple Apps support switch scanning, there is also the additional problem of how a single switch user would get from one Apple App to another.

Although Apple Accessibility, in their eMail to me dated 5th November 2010, said that they would forward my feedback on the ability to use a single switch scanning device with their iOS devices to the appropriate people within their organisation for consideration, Apple offered no solution.  Instead Apple forwarded me 3 hyperlinks to Apple user groups.

Therefore, unless Apple changes their security model, it is only Apple that can provide a software solution that offers full scanning and switch access for iOS.

A hardware solution may be feasible, but as acknowledged, any hardware solution for Apple devices will almost certainly have one or more shortcomings in comparison with a software solution.


Peter Hamlin [Tel: 0 (044) 1895 279162 Fax: 0 (044) 1895 279737]
Rehabilitation Engineer
North Thames Regional Environmental Control Equipment Service (NT RECES)
Alderbourne Rehabilitation Unit (Entrance 'C' - off Royal Lane)
The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Pield Heath Road
Uxbridge
Middlesex

UB8 3NN

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