On Accessibility in iOS 7.1

Josh de Lioncourt wrote a good, in-depth piece for Macworld on iOS 7.1’s many Accessibility tweaks:

OS 7, in general, has been a challenge for low-vision users. Many of the stylistic choices such as transparency and lack of contrast and clearly defined buttons have made iOS difficult for some to see. This is made more challenging because vision is so variable. What works for one low-vision user is unlikely to work for another.

Apple has begun to address this in iOS 7.1 by adding button shapes, more contrast options, and expanding some of the existing options—all found by choosing Settings > General > Accessibility. In general, this is a significant step in the right direction, but there is still much to be done.

Me and Ben discussed 7.1’s Accessibility features on last week’s episode of Accessible, but the show isn’t yet posted for listening. In summary, though, the changes in 7.1 are overall good. After updating my iPhone and iPad, I immediately flipped on Button Shapes and Bold Text, but now I’m only using the latter. As for Button Shapes, while I still think they’re a great and much-needed addition, it turns out that there’s a bug that makes button text illegible. Because of this, I’ve turned off Button Shapes until if/when Apple fixes the aforementioned bug. Bold Text, on the other hand, is awesome. It bolds everything system-wide — right down to the “slide to unlock” prompt — and has very much improved readability and usability of my devices. It may not be aesthetically pleasing, design-wise, but it’s functionally so much better that I’ll take a bit of ugly for readability.

(via 512 Pixels)