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Accessibility Technology

Today I went up to the Shawangunks hills in the Mohonk preserve in upstate New York. I was with a group of disabled men and women doing 'adaptive climbing'. At the base of steep cliff from which climbing ropes had been suspended, I started talked with a man who appeared to be using an app on his iPhone that I was completely unfamiliar with. As he tapped the phone, it kept rapidly speaking words. It turns out that this guy (who had just scaled a 100 - 200 foot rock wall) was blind. He was using his iPhone in the 'VoiceOver' mode. This is a standard option available on all recent versions of the mobile iOS systems. In order to activate this mode you simply have to go to Settings . . . General . . . Accessibility . . . VoiceOver.

In this mode a blind person finds the apps (or the portion of the touchscreen or keyboard) he or she wants to activate by randomly touching the screen. Siri speaks the name of what's tapped (or the text of a book or other written material). In order to open the app (or select a letter) the user simply needs to double tap anywhere on the screen. In order to swipe across or down, you need to use three fingers - spaced closely together.

This tip is not specifically related to litigation support, but making technology usable for disabled folks should be something that everyone in our field should strive to do. There must be some way for sighted attorneys to make use of this technology as well.

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