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Hands on Safety Report

Personal Safety App Review

Below are a few of the personal safety apps that were discussed on the show. All of them are useful in different ways in the event of an emergency. I have tested for their accessibility and use ability. Some are listed among the top apps for 2020.

EMNet FindERNow

App Store Rating: 4.3 

Price: Free with an option to upgrade if you want more information on paediatric options

Helps you find the closest ER with one click and uses the  phone’s built in GPS to get you directions.

This app, created by Massachusetts General Hospital in MA, helps you find the closest ER with one click and uses the  phone’s built in GPS to get you directions. Perfect for use while traveling or at home, it is important to note; this app only works in the United States.

Most of the options on the screen are labeled for VoiceOver users. In the map area, at the center of the main screen, there are even rotor options for zoom and points of interest. The buttons to call 911, your location, pin markers for the hospitals, and the link to start getting directions all work correctly. You can even double -tap and hold on the hospital name to get more information. There are a few places, however, that are not labeled. There is an unlabeled heading at the top and two at the bottom which VoiceOver reads as possible text for location and menu, but they cannot seem to be activated with or without VoiceOver.

I found the app to be straightforward and fairly intuitive to use. Upon opening the app for the first time, you will have the option of allowing it to use your location. This is necessary if you want the app to locate options near you. Tapping on the  nearest location took me to the Map’s app for GPS and the menu option gave me more information about each hospital in my area.

Siren GPS

App Store Rating: 4.4

Price: FreeAdds a panic button to your phone that calls 911 or its equivalent. Will determine your location only if your community subscribes to Siren 911.

Note: this app is available in multiple countries around the world.

When you first open the app, it asks you to use your location as most other apps do. Then it asks you to create an account. It’s a pretty accessible set up process. After all that is done, the main page is pretty accessible. If you are in an emergency, you can hit the Fire, ambulance, or Police button and it will ask if you want to call 911. 

ICE Medical Standard

App Store Rating: 4.4

Price: Free with in app purchases

Offers a medical ID which displays on your phone’s lock screen.

This app allows you to create a medical ID and have it as an overlay for your wallpaper on your lock screen. When you first open the app, it puts you right on the ICE tab and you can fill out or edit the information. It asks for information such as your name, address, photo, emergency contact, gender, birthday, allergies, medications and more general information. You can add as little or as much personal information as you wish. You will need to go into the. Wallpaper tab to enable it to show on your lock screen. It is also recommended that this app is easily accessible by having it in the top right or left corner of your home screen if you do not wish to have your personal information on your lock screen. It is very easy to use on iOS and is also available for Android.

Medical ID

Android only

The major difference between this app and the ICE app is that you can send location information to emergency contacts, set up multiple profiles for different family members, and call ICE contacts from your lock screen.

Circle of Six

App Store Rating: 4.4

Price: Free

IOS only

Aimed specifically at college students, Circle of Six allows you to add six trusted contacts to the app so they can be notified with  2 taps that you need help, even if it means you  need a phone call to give you an excuse to walk away.

One thing to note for any VoiceOver users out there, the app is not great on iOS. Also, Canada is not an available region. 

Find My 

Only available on Apple Devices

All ready installed when device is purchased

This app allows you to track your friends and devices. Of course, a friend has to give you permission to track them or vice versa. It is useful in situations when you know a friend or a family member is expected somewhere at a certain time and they don’t show up or if they don’t answer their phone. Those are just a few examples of how it can be used.

Google Trusted Contacts

Appstore Rating: 2.6

Price: Free

This app allows users to have a direct line of sharing between one another. It let’s you add trusted contacts who then can request your location if there is an issue. However, you can deny the request if everything is fine. If you are not able to respond, your last known location is sent automatically within a certain timeframe. 

When you first open the app, it asks you to sign in. After you go through all the steps to sign in and grant or deny Google access to your location, it will ask you which contacts you want to add as trusted contacts. After all this is done, you are good to go. The app is very accessible and straight forward. 

After some exploration, I can’t seem to find this app on the Play Store.

Conclusion

These are only a handful of the safety apps out there. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. In the end, go with what you feel is best for you. If you do have suggestions for other safety apps that we haven’t explored, do feel free to send us an email at feedback@handsonsafety.net

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Kindle Paperwhite vs Kindle Oasis: Accessibility showdown

There has been a lot of controversy over the years as to what eReader is the most accessible and usable. Amazon, Apple and others have developed devices for reading books with large print and with speech, but lets just look at eReaders for the time being. Amazon has two devices that are commonly used in schools among other places. Lets take a look at both the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kindle Oasis.

Kindle Paperwhite

The Kindle Paperwhite is an inexpensive 6 inch device stat starts around $120 with promotional ads. It is a basic eReader with eInk support that also has a backlight for easy reading. The Paperwhite is built with WI-FI, and does not have built in accessibility support, but does support a dongle that can be purchased seperately, or with the device to add VoiceView support and a headphone jack.

I have used a Kindle Paperwhite for several years, and I have not tried the accessibility module to add speech to my Kindle. I can say that the print does get fairly big, but the backlight can cause eye strain, and you can actually see where the bulbs emit light on each side of the device, which is distracting when you are reading a book.

While the Paperwhite is a cheap solution, it doesn’t have the best accessibility features due to lack of built in VoiceView, and Bluetooth, and it also does not support Audible, or user interface zooming.

Kindle Paperwhite

Kindle Oasis

The Kindle Oasis is Amazon’s premier eReader starting at $250. This eReader is thin, light and powerful. It has 25 LED lights for the best reading performance, up to 32 GB of storage, WI-FI, Bluetooth, and built in accessibility features like VoiceView. Like the Kindle Paperwhite, the Oasis uses eInk to display pages but with a higher refresh rate, and with the ability to zoom user interface elements.

I picked up the Kindle Oasis last month and again, have not tried VoiceView on the device, but I can say that it is easy to get the thing up and running and the large print is beautiful. You can also adjust the warmth of the LEDS to be white or yellow, which can remove blue light from your device. Doing this will allow your eyes to read more without getting tired quickly. If this is not your thing, then no worries, the Oasis also comes with High contrast, so you can have your white on black text.

I purchased the Kindle Oasis with 32 GB of SSD with the free cellular connection, and I think that this has to be the best eReader I have ever used. I have read books on the iPad, iPhone, and the Kindle Paperwhite, and I have not been able to read books in print as fast as I can on this device.

Kindle Oasis

Conclusion

I still do think it is a shame that there is no great eReader in this category that works well out of the box for totally blind users. I think the Fire Tablets or iPads are a better choice due to the fact that VoiceOver and VoiceView can be enabled out of the box, but the Kindle Oasis really is the best in class eReader if you are a low vision user wanting to just read a book in print, or large print.

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iA Cast iA UnboxCast

#iA UnboxCast – 40 Microsoft Surface Go

Show Description

On this episode, Michael, Aleeha, Jason, and Rose unbox the Microsoft [Surface Go](https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/surface-go/8v9dp4lnknsz?activetab=pivot%3aoverviewtab) with Type Cover.

Providing Feedback

We love hearing from you, so feel free to send an email to feedback@iaccessibility.net. You can follow us on Facebook, and Twitter. You can also find us on Reddit, and all around the web. Also, don’t forget to check out our YouTube page, and for all things iACast, check out our iACast page. If you’d like to help support us, you can do so via our PayPal and Patreon pages. If you wish to interact with us during our podcasts live then please do join us on our Slack channel.

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iCast 2 – Accessibility Events And Privacy Implications

News

Beyond The Gallery

Check out the Handwriting To Text shortcut. More information on this and other shortcuts can be found at the Beyond the Gallery website. For instructions on building shortcuts, check out our DemoCast.

Show Description

Aleeha, Michael, and Jason discuss a feature called Accessibility Events, and how it, along with other data developers have access to information that could impact your privacy. This feature is included with iOS 12.2 and macOS Mojave version 10.14.4. It enables the detection of accessibility features when you visit websites. As stated by Apple, “Accessibility Events is a sub-feature of the Accessibility Object Model (AOM) project, an emerging web technology currently under development as a joint W3C effort by Apple, Google, and the Mozilla Foundation.” You can find out more about Accessibility Events and how they are used by reading Apple’s support article.

Providing Feedback

We love hearing from you, so feel free to send an email to feedback@iaccessibility.net. You can follow us on Facebook, and Twitter. You can also find us on Reddit, and all around the web. Also, don’t forget to check out our YouTube page, and for all things iACast, check out our iACast page. If you’d like to help support us, you can do so via our Paypal and Patreon pages.

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iA Cast iA Cast Weekly

#iACast 108 – Accessibility Versus Inclusive Design

Show Description

On this episode of the iACast, Michael, Aleeha, Jason, and Lauren discuss accessibility versus inclusive design.

News Stories

iAccessibility Ad

iAccessibility offers Teamtalk hosting for $3 per month. Visit the iAccessibility web site for more details.

Picks

Jason: Garage Band

Lauren: Instacart

Aleeha: Clock In/Out iOS Shortcut

Michael: iMovie

Providing Feedback

We love hearing from you, so feel free to send an email to feedback@iaccessibility.net. You can follow us on Facebook, and Twitter. You can also find us on Reddit, and all around the web. Also, don’t forget to check out our YouTube page, and for all things iACast, check out our iACast page. If you’d like to help support us, you can do so via our Paypal and Patreon pages.

 

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iA Cast iA Cast Weekly

#iACast 106: iOS Access for All

Show Description

Michael, Aleeha and Jason bring a guest to the iAccessibility network. Shelly talks with them all about her new iOS Access for All book that covers iOS 12. There are a few surprises as well. This is one you don’t want to miss!

News Stories

iAccessibility Ad

iAccessibility Hosting Plans.

Picks

Providing Feedback

We love hearing from you, so feel free to send an email to feedback@iaccessibility.net. You can follow us on Facebook, and Twitter. You can also find us on Reddit, and all around the web. Also, don’t forget to check out our YouTube page, and for all things iACast, check out our iACast page. If you’d like to help support us, you can do so via our Paypal and Patreon pages.

 

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iA Cast iA Cast Weekly

#iACast 99 – Accessibility Vs. Usability

On this episode of the iACast, Aleeha, Michael, Allison and Doug discuss the idea of accessibility vs. usability.

Also discussed are first impressions of the Surface Pro 6, the Surface Go, and the Surface Book from Microsoft.

Our ad for this week is our Training services.

Picks:

Allison’s pick is the August Smart lock. Doug’s pick is the iPhone SE. Michael’s pick is the Invoke Smart speaker, and Aleeha picked Youtube TV.

We love hearing from you, so feel free to send an email to feedback@iaccessibility.net. You can follow us on Facebook, and Twitter. You can also find us on Reddit, and all around the web. Also, don’t forget to check out our YouTube page, and for all things iACast, check out our iACast page.

If you’d like to help support us, you can do so via our Paypal and Patreon pages.

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iA Cast

#iACast Special – Hands On With the New iPhones and Apple Watch

On this special iACast, Jason, Lauren, Aleeha and Michael are at the Apple store to get a hands on look at the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and Apple Watch Series 4.

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#iACast 85 – Pre-NFB18 Talk

On this episode of the #iACast, Aleeha, Michael, Anna, Lauren, Scott and Chelsea discuss pre-NFB convention activities as well as your weekly dose of technology topics.

The news this week was full of merger talks and Windows 10 Insider news updates. They discussed the AT&T and Time Warner merger, Comcast and 21st Century Fox merger plans and the changes announced in the new build of Windows that came out this week. Aira has also announced the shipment of their Horizon glasses. If you are one of the lucky 200 people to get them then be on the lookout for them to arrive soon!

This week’s show is brought to you by the iAccessibility App

The top picks this week included QuentonC’s PalyRoom which was picked by Aleeha, PocketBraille from Anna, Wunderlist which was picked by Chelsea, Credit Karma which was picked by Scott, The weather channel from Lauren, and Siri Shortcuts in iOS 12 beta from Michael.

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iA Cast iA Cast Weekly

#iACast 62: Fall 2017 Phone Comparisons

On this episode of the iACast, Aleeha, Michael, and Matt discuss the following topics:

 

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iA Cast iA Cast Weekly

#iACast 57 – Advocating for Accessibility

On this episode of the iACast, Aleeha, Jason, Meaghan and Dan discuss a wide variety of topics relating to advocating for accessibility. Topics range from getting accommodations in school and in the workplace to contacting developers about access issues in apps or websites. We also mentioned that every state in the U.S. has a disability rights organization that can help advocate in situations where your actions aren’t enough. The contact information for each state’s organization, called a protection and advocacy organization can be found on the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) website. As of the publication of this article, we are unable to locate a similar list for Canada, so if you know of such a list, please leave a link in the comments below.

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What’s New in VoiceOver for macOS High Sierra

On September 25, 2017, Apple released macOS High Sierra to the public. Here are some new enhancements to VoiceOver.

Enhanced Multilingual Support

If VoiceOver detects that a language has been associated with text that it’s reading, it Will automatically switch to another voice and will read the text in that language. You can set the voice VoiceOver uses for different languages in VoiceOver Utility. For example, if you were to add the Spanish language and set a voice for it, VoiceOver will then use that Spanish voice to read text that has been tagged as Spanish for screen readers.

Image Descriptions

VoiceOver can describe images, just like it does in iOS. To do this, press VO (Control plus option or caps lock, depending on how you have the VoiceOver modifier set) + Shift + L when focus is placed on an image.

Improved Grade 2 Braille Experience

VoiceOver provides a more seamless Braille experience when you are working with text and using Grade 2 Braille. For example, your Braille display now shows “the context of what you’re typing,” and when you edit text, it is no longer translated back into Grade 1 Braille.

Improved Web and Email Navigation

VoiceOver  navigation is more consistent and reliable when navigating webpages in Safari. VoiceOver has better support for navigating tables in richly formatted email messages in mail.

Improved PDF Accessibility

VoiceOver has better support for reading tables, lists, and forms in tagged PDF documents.

Let us know if you’ve discovered anything else new.