The low-vision experience with an iPad

I’ve met many small business owners with low vision that love using an iPad, or other tablet, as their key device. The iPad allows entrepreneurs to use a single device to handle all of their business tasks, such as point of sale, payroll, accounting, purchasing, and creating estimates on location. As a person with low vision, the built-in zooming functionality makes it easy to explore the screen and interact with the elements.

Karo Caran introduces how a person with low vision uses an iPad in this video

She recently created this new vidoe for a presentation on design for low-vision users. There are some key takeaways, such as consistency of banners and using background colors to differentiate between header, body, and footer.

Inheriting user preferences

While zooming is a great way to review content, not all low vision users want to use their applications in this manner. Many simply want to user the built in settings for higher contrast, bigger text, and reduced transparency to use their iPad without continually zooming in and out.

Your applications can automatically inherit these functions if you use standard iOS/Android components and the iOS Dynamic Type. If the app isn’t using Dynamic Type, we’ll need to check for a user’s display preferences and modify the fonts, colors, animation, etc.

Bold Text

The following code checks to see if a person has bold text enabled in their preferences. If so, use Avenir medium instead of light

+ (NSString *)fontName {
    if (UIAccessibilityIsBoldTextEnabled()) {
            return @"Avenir-Medium";
    return @"Avenir-Light";

Darker Colors

We can detect if a user prefers darker colors, this is especially helpful for links that sit on colored backgrounds

+ (UIColor *)detailColor {
    if (UIAccessibilityDarkerSystemColorsEnabled()) {
        return [UIColor blackColor];
    return [UIColor grayColor];

Additional Checks

Author: Ted

Accessibility is more than making sure images have alternate text. I work with engineers, product managers, and designers to understand how accessibility impacts the users, set realistic deadlines, and create the solutions to provide a delightful experience to all users, regardless of their physical, sensory, or cognitive ability.

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