The iPad is a great device for your average consumer or enterprise user but what about people with disabilities? We recently looked at how one non-profit organization is championing new technology like e-readers and tablet devices like the iPad to help their members.
One of the big uses for the iPad has been reading. People love iBooks and with over five million sold so far, Apple’s iBookstore has gotten off to a quick start. If books aren’t your thing, maybe you like to surf the web on your iPad using mobile Safari. But what if you are blind? How it important would your iPad be then? For many people with seeing disabilities the iPad has helped them stay connected like never before. Apple has packed the iPad with several features geared at making the device more accessible to people with visual disabilities. VoiceOver (reads what’s on the iPad’s screen) and Zoom (provides a screen magnifier to help you view small items on your iPad screen) are just two of the features that make using the iPad possible for the blind.
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is a big proponent of the new wave of e-reading devices and what they can do for blind students in higher education. In a statement Dr. Marc Maurer, president of NFB, said that “with the announcement of a new accessible Amazon Kindle, the recent introduction of the Apple iPad…colleges and universities will find it increasingly easy to procure e-book technology that benefits everyone.” According to the Dr. Maurer, the device will not only help “blind students, who will now have access to the same books at the same time and at the same price as their sighted peers, but also institutions of higher learning, which will no longer incur the administrative burden of producing or procuring accessible books through separate and inferior methods.”
It’s great when technology helps people with disabilities and judging from the iPad’s early success in the medical and education markets, we expect to hear many more great stories.