Guide dogs and iPads unite in a new accessibility push

Guide dogs and iPads unite in a new accessibility push

Guide Dogs UK is launching its Tech For All service through a pilot program in 2021, which says the charity will provide up to 2500 iPads to visually impaired children to take advantage of Apple's accessibility features found so far in iPadOS.

The charity launched a program in 2021 where around 5000 iPhones and iPads were donated to visually impaired children between the ages of 3 and 18, which proved to be a huge success for everyone involved.

While iPadOS 16 brings new accessibility features (opens in a new tab) like door detection and live captions in FaceTime between an iPad, Mac, and iPhone, the partnership has earned favor with features currently offered for this pilot project. Emma Foulds, Director of Marketing and Strategy at Guide Dogs, explained: "We know from our research how important access to technology is and Tech for All is designed to give children with visual impairments the tools they need to be more engaged. , confident and keeping pace with his teammates".

Guide Dogs is currently implementing the Tech For All program which provides apps for more visually impaired children who may also have an iPad, accessible via this link (opens in a new tab).

Analysis: Let's look at more of these patterns

When it comes to software, accessibility is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. It may be invisible to many, but obvious to others, and companies like Apple and Microsoft make sure everyone can use smart devices just as well as everyone else.

In games, there are discussions about how text should be displayed in menus and bubbles, for example. On iOS (Opens in a new tab) and Android (Opens in a new tab), there has been a lot of push in recent years about how different areas of the software could work for users with disabilities, be it motor, visual auditory or other . .

The guide dog pilot program (opens in a new tab) has shown that a child's confidence can grow once accessibility is included and, more importantly, recognized. Results revealed that after just four months with an iPhone or iPad, a child's self-reported autonomy increased by an average of 18%, along with engagement by 13% and sociability by 5%.

Ultimately, it's trust that will please the kids here, and it will be interesting to see if other charities can take advantage of the accessibility features available on the devices we use every day. They are there to help those who need it, to use the features that most of us use regularly without a second thought.

Still, it's an encouraging program that will help more kids, and with accessibility features coming in late 2022 with iPadOS 16 and other Apple software updates, plenty of kids will benefit, even more so once these updates arrive.