New Assistive Access feature for iOS 17 with a simplified interface for users with cognitive disabilities

Apple unveils new features for Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Try these new iOS 17 features for users visually impaired and cognitive disabilities!

Global Awareness Day is May 18, 2023. The purpose of Global Awareness Day (GAAD) is to get everyone talking, thinking, and learning about digital access and inclusion, and the more than one billion people with disabilities. Companies are encouraged and excited to share their latest accessibilities!

Apple is highlighting new iOS 17 features designed to help various disability communities. The two features that I am personally excited about are:

Point and Speak feature in the Magnifier app 

Place your finger on a physical object with text and the text will be read out loud. This is particularly helpful for appliance buttons that are not labeled. The example Apple used was to touch a button on the microwave and the text on that button is announced. Point and Speak is compatible with VoiceOver and can be used with People Detection, Door Detection, and Image Descriptions.

Point and Speak video:

Assistive Access for cognitive accessibility

Assistive Access eliminates the complexity of several native apps by designing screen layouts and interfaces to display only their essential features, in order to lighten the cognitive load. The new interface has high contrast buttons, large text labels and the ability to customize, such as using a simple grid-based layout or row-based layout. Assistive Access has focused on the most popular apps used by people with cognitive disabilities: Camera, Photos, Music, Calls, and Messages, making these app a breeze to use for students and adults with intellectual disabilities.


For more information, see Apple’s article, Apple introduces new features for cognitive accessibility, along with Live Speech, Personal Voice and Point and Speak in Magnifier

By Diane Brauner

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