Jan 13th, 2015 by MDTAP Blog
Navigating With BlindSquare
Contributed by Joel Zimba, Special Projects Coordinator, MDTAP
Navigation apps are an important tool for blind iOS users. While mainstream GPS apps, like Google Maps or Apple Maps are accessible to varying degrees, there are many solutions designed specifically with the blind iOS user in mind.
One such app I have been testing recently is BlindSquare. This complicated, but highly useful tool, draws upon information from the popular FourSquare service to create a unique navigation solution. BlindSquare will query FourSquare for points of interest near your current location. By pointing your iPhone toward the various compass points, you can “look” in a specific direction to find out what is around you. If you select a destination from a list, the distance and direction of travel will continually be reported as you travel.
As BlindSquare connects to FourSquare for this information, information such as address, telephone, website and even menus can be had at the touch of a button. If specific travel directions are desired, the route can be generated via a GPS app of your choosing. This is one key to BlindSquare’s power. It bridges GPS programs with FourSquare and presents the information in a way which may be especially useful to a visually-impaired user.
Another interesting feature of BlindSquare is exploring an area virtually. This is great for planning a trip, or just figuring out where you might want to eat lunch after next week’s meeting downtown.
BlindSquare can be very chatty, so there is a filter setting for limiting the verbosity of the information BlindSquare provides as you travel. Spoken notifications can also increase as your proximity to a destination increases. As you can see, there are many customizable behaviors for BlindSquare which means it can be used in many different ways.
BlindSquare has been around for several years now, and it has received much favorable recognition. So far, I have only scratched the surface of what can be done with BlindSquare, and I look forward to using it in the future.
Jan 12th, 2015 by MDTAP Blog
The iHear Hearing Aid app is a $.99 app that provides sound amplification for those with hearing loss. Run the app and point the iPhone in the direction where the conversation is occurring and listen to how the app amplifies the sound through the headphones.
A few things to remember:
1.) After installing, remember to reboot your iPhone.
2.) You MUST use basic headphones to hear the amplified sound. Note the very nice headphones provided by Apple have a built-in microphone that over-rides the iPhone microphone, which will NOT work right with this app.
3.) You MUST use an iPhone with microphone.
4.) Because there is only ONE microphone, it will be mono (play only in one ear). We are researching adding bluetooth headset compatibility for a future release, but stereo bluetooth headsets are NOT supported at this time.
5.) WHEN the app is LOADED, you must THEN adjust the volume of the amplifier, by using the VOLUME buttons on the side of your iPhone. Note this volume control (with the app loaded) is DIFFERENT from the regular iPhone volume!
Jan 8th, 2015 by MDTAP Blog
Financial Wellness Webinar: New Year, New Financially Secure You
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
3:00 – 4:00 P.M. EDT
Start the New Year off on the right financial foot. Join the discussion on free tax preparation resources and credits li…ke the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) that can help you keep more of what you earn, the importance of assessing past and future financial goals, and changes in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that could affect you in 2015. Expert speakers will identify favorable tax provisions, discuss why using tax time is good time of year for a financial review, and identify ways to utilize all available resources to improve your financial well-being for a prosperous 2015.
Register for this webinar here.
Jan 7th, 2015 by MDTAP Blog
Server-side Image Maps
Server-side image maps (typically an <img> with the ismap attribute) allows x and y coordinates of where a user clicks the image with a mouse to be sent to a server for processing. For example, for a state map, the x and y coordinates of where the user clicks could be analyzed to direct the user to a web page for the county they clicked. Server-side image maps are not keyboard accessible – one cannot click a particular point on an image using the keyboard. Instead of server-side image maps, client-side image maps (wherein clickable areas or ‘hotspots’ are defined) should be used. Client side images maps (<area> elements with appropriate alternative text and a logical navigation order) are fully accessible to both mouse and keyboard users.
Jan 6th, 2015 by MDTAP Blog
We’ve been updating our online apps directory with a whole lot of new apps. Visit Apps, Apps and more Apps!, where you can find a collection of apps categorized for a variety of disabilities along with brief descriptions, prices, and links.