Apple screen reading tech VoiceOver allows the visually impaired to build applications

Using VoiceOver with Apple's Swift Playground, allows visually impaired users to code games and applications.

Apple has a screen reading technology called VoiceOver, which is an accessibility tool for the visually impaired. The VoiceOver tool guides blind users through navigating an application by reading out what is on screen. Apple's Swift Playgrounds is a application meant to teach users how to start programming applications using the Swift language. The Swift Playgrounds app is oriented towards children, but adults can use it as well. VoiceOver with Apple's Swift Playground, allows visually impaired users to code games and applications, according to a report in CNet.

The VoiceOver technology does not merely stop at reading out the text on screen. It goes beyond to identify position, orientation and setting of interactive 3D elements on screen. If a user has made a 3D game and is testing out how it plays, VoiceOver gives the user a system to track progress through the environment. For example, it can read out that the world is four columns by five rows, the character is at column one row three, and the goals are to toggle a switch located at column to row five.

Apple engineers took steps to make sure that the Swift Playgrounds app, which is a highly interactive visual environment, can still be used by the blind. VoiceOver engineers coded in capabilities that makes VoiceOver fun to use. For example, if the user fails to finish a puzzle level on Apple's Swift Playgrounds, VoiceOver will deliver the voice equivalent of an emoji by saying "Sad Face". VoiceOver delivers for free software capabilities that were previously expensive to purchase. Apple has been integrating VoiceOver capabilities on its products since 2009.


also see