Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

SpeedDots Clear Embossed Screen-Protectors Help Blind/Visually Impaired Navigate iOS Devices With Ease, a California-based company, announces the official release of the SpeedDots Screen Protector, a tactile approach to Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch for those who are blind or have low vision, permitting easy navigation and orientation to some of Apple's most popular touch-screen devices.

Using single dots to denote the virtual keyboard, along with a few commonly-found buttons and controls, blind/low vision users can input information more quickly and efficiently than ever before.

"All of our employees are blind, and we all use iPhones," says company founder, Doug Langley, "Apple's Voiceover screen-reader makes all of these devices accessible out of the box. We wanted to find a way to not only make iOS devices even more efficient, but simultaneously strive to bridge the gap for blind people transitioning from other platforms who may be reluctant to embrace a touch-screen environment."

The small, Sacramento-based company has two versions of its clear, tactile screen covers, known as the "Standard" and "Advanced" models. Both contain dots which mark various controls natively found on all of Apple's iOS devices. The Standard model places a single dot on each virtual key with the exception of the letters "F" and "J", while the Advanced model leaves all virtual keys blank save for a single dot placed on the letters "F" and "J", to suit the user's preference.

"I have been using Apple's touch-screen devices successfully for two years without any sort of tactile feedback, and I thought I was fast before," says company spokesperson, Raquel Gomez, "SpeedDots have literally doubled my ability to input text in a matter of weeks."

Speed and accuracy are only a few benefits of these clear, embossed screen protectors. New users familiarizing themselves with iOS devices for the first time will also find the learning curve easier by discovering the exact placement of each static control corresponding with its tactile mark on the screen. This allows for confident, easy manipulation of various buttons and access controls right away, without the need to hunt for them on-screen and wait for verbal confirmation from the built-in screen-reading software. SpeedDots works to enhance the touch-screen experience for everyone, from new users to those who are technically savvy.

Each screen protector can be ordered directly from the company's web site:

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