Have you ever traveled to a destination and had difficulty finding your luggage? Tile, a new device with a mobile app aims to fix this issue is now available, but is this solution accessible? Lets take a look at the app and the devices themselves.
A Tile is a small device that is sure. It has the word Tile on the device, and the e is a button to press to find your phone or pair the device with your phone. There is no tactile way of knowing where this button is, so I simply pressed on the device until I found it since it is very small.
There is also a round hole in the device to add the device to your key ring so you could use it to find your keys, or attach the device to another object.
The Tile does not have a place to charge the device, so when the device runs out of battery power then it is dead. Tiles use Bluetooth LE, which stands for low energy to be found only when called upon. They use very low amounts of energy, so the battery should last for years.
Any device running the Tile app that supports Bluetooth LE is also a Tile. You can find your iPhone or iPad that is paired to a tile by pressing the e on the Tile device.
The Tile App
The Tile app is how you set up your tile devices with your phone. To use this app, Bluetooth must be on, and you must have a connection to the Internet.
Once you start the app you will need to sign up or sign in. I did not do this portion of the review with VoiceOver, so if someone could add their experience with signup in the comments then we will have a better understanding of this part of the app.
After you sign up, you will be asked to buy a Tile or Pair one. We will assume that you already have a Tile and are going to pair it with your phone or tablet. To pair your Tile to your phone, do the following steps when you are at the correct place in setup.
- Hold the pairing button on the Tile, which is the letter e button until it plays a note or tune.
- Keep the device near your phone until the phone states that it is paired.
- When prompted, type the name of the Tile that describes what the Tile will be used for, examples are keys, luggage, or backpacks.
While text is readable on the add screen, the buttons are not properly labeled and can be confusing.
Once a Tile is set up, you should see all of your tiles in a table view. At the time of this writing, the table view only shows button labels, and the labels that you give to your tiles during the adding process are not read by VoiceOver. You will also notice that no labels in the detail screens are read either, which makes the Tile service completely unusable to VoiceOver users. Buttons and text elements can gain focus by VoiceOver, but only the button and text label names are read instead of their contents.
While the Tile devices are a good way to find luggage and items that you can’t easily find, they do not offer a good experience at this time for VoiceOver users, and the lack of a tactile pairing button on the actual Tile make it difficult for visually impaired and blind users to even pair their devices to their phones.