Oi App Developers, not everyone has good eyesight!

The BBC has an article in their technology section talking about a new app which should be available in the future on iOS and Android devices. I’m all for Apps to make my life easier which is why I originally wrote A Simpler Guide to the best free Android Apps (my attempt at keeping track of the useful ones!)

The app on the BBC website is primarily designed for blind people so that they can type on touchscreen phones but the article mentions the designers hope that people with full sight will use it for when they want to type but are busy watching something at the same time. …teenagers in their maths lessons? Sorry cynicism kicking n.

Regular readers of my blog will know of my despair with app developers who assume everyone has 20/20 vision when designing their apps. Although the worst offenders, (Google+ app for example) have no way to increase the text size on their apps there are others who would get ‘could do better’ on their school reports. These are the developers who limit their text size options.

An example of a ‘could do better’ app is Docs to Go. I love this app, it is very useful, but it also has its problems. The designers in their infinite (*lack of) wisdom have decided to limit the text enlargement to 200%. I’m sorry, but that is just not good enough. I need bigger. If you have bothered to put the ability to enlarge text you should allow your customer to know what their vision needs are. There are so many types of sight problems and vision levels that you should design your apps so that they can be enlarged to an extent where one word fits the screen. There is probably a lot of people out there where even this extreme size would help.

My point for this article is that people with sight problems are customers too. There are a lot of people ageing out there and a lot of them with cash burning a hole in their pocket. By making your app difficult to use you are alienating a demographic with money to spend. I’m not a businessman but to me that just sounds silly.

Developers, pretty please, make your apps accessible…?

Why i love Android and can’t use iOS

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I have to be honest every now and again I am influenced by the Apple advertising. I see shiny and new and like a magpie, I want.

The problem is I can’t use it. As frequent readers of my blog know, I cannot see very well. In fact I am partially sighted. I love writing and I bought my Galaxy Tab to write while I am travelling, during lunch breaks and after work. Every now and again we pass the Apple store and I am lured in, but playing with the device after only a minute reminds me why I cannot use an iPad. Sure there is the three finger tap but it’s basically a magnifying glass. I don’t want to move around the screen to read a page, that’s making do with second best. I want to have bigger icons natively. I want bigger menus and I want bigger fonts to the size I want them not what some designer has deemed big enough. My eyesight doesn’t change on the whim of a designer, the interface should be designed to allow choice. Text flow is an amazing but achievable thing!

I am not saying Android is perfect, far from it. I am constantly frustrated with Google’s own spps. They appear to believe that everyone has eagle eyesight. However there are third party suppliers that can take advantage of the openess to make it easier on us souls with poorer sight.

ADW is such an app. I couldn’t use android without it. As you can see from the photo, I have large icons, widgets and folders.

It is very customisable. You csn enlarge icons text size, the behaviour of the application drawer snd home screens. In fact of all the launchers I have tried it is the best – no contest.

Along with Spare Parts this app makes Android usable. I recommend these apps for anyone who is visually challenged like me.