The 15th EBU ACCESSCAST!

Welcome to the 15th episode of the EBU Access Cast. This month we commented the iOS 13 accessibility improvements and new bugs that came with the new iOS. We are disappointed that the official release brought so many accessibility issues and we hope that Apple will fix them soon.

Microsoft announced Surface Neo and Surface Duo at the Microsoft Surface event. What came as a surprise is that the smaller foldable Surface Duo runs Android, and, the larger device Surface Neo will run a variant of the company's operating system Windows X. In that occasion Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that Windows will not be the most important layer - the focus will now be on applications and services. Time will tell how this will reflect the further development of the Windows operating system.

The Microsoft's Seeing AI application has gotten some significant updates over the last months and we are happy that we are now able to choose the OCR language on the short text channel or to create a Siri voice shortcut to open the application on a specific channel. More about the recent updates can be read in the changelog on the Appstore page.

Similarly, Seeing Assistant Home by Transition Technologies S.A. has gotten some notable updates, namely it now introduces an automatic barcode reading mode where for previously assigned codes, the label is read automatically without displaying the HTML window (for iOS and Android) and a text recognition mode was added (iOS exclusive so far). The significant thing with the text recognition is that it boasts three modes depending on how small or big the area containing the text is so it is well-suited for reading text out of tiny LCD screens or CD covers, for example.

The results for the WebAim screen Reader User Survey #8 are published. We are aware that the survay does not represent the choice of all users and that the survey is available only in English and it excludes non-English speaking users. However the survey shows the trends in the usage of screen readers and the results are often used as a reference point by the industry.

JAWS public beta 2020 is available and the full release will be launched at the end of October.

Despite high quality voices many of us prefer to listen Eloquence and have used the voice on the Android operating system. Unfortunately the Eloquence voice has been abandoned and it will not be available anymore on the Google appstore. Code Factory informed the users by e-mail and we are transmitting the entire message here.

Start of quote

Dear Code Factory friends,

We would like to announce the end of life of one of our products: Eloquence for Android.

As you may know, Google now requires that applications using native code (such as ours) provide a 64-bit version of its binaries. Eloquence has a very old code base, and the effort required to port it to 64 bits has been evaluated and unfortunately, the app sales do not justify this investment.

This does not affect our other Android products, such as Vocalizer for Android, for which we already provide a 64 bit version. Also, this does not affect Voices for NVDA (which includes Eloquence) on Windows.

We also want to make it clear that those users who have purchased the application will be able to continue using it, as per Google Play's policies. Also, we will continue to provide support for this application through our Help Desk. However, as of today, no new updates to Eloquence for Android can be published.

Here you can find some more details on Google's policies:

64-bit Requirement:

https://android-developers.googleblog.com/2019/01/get-your-apps-ready-fo...

Download purchased apps (even if they are no longer published):

https://support.google.com/googleplay/answer/113410?co=GENIE.Platform%3D...

It's been a great 6 years of development for this application. It's a shame that Eloquence for Android has not reached the amount of interest and sales that we hoped for.

Best wishes,

-- Xavi Martínez, Software developer

End of quote

The European Web Accessibility Directive applies and websites of the public sector bodies need to meet the accessibility standards. If this is not the case in your country, fill out the EDF survey and help them to identify the issues.

A team of IT specialists in Vienna made available the source code and patterns for 3D printing a magnet-based braille keyboard that can be attached at the back of any smartphone.

Voice guidance in Google Maps, built for people with impaired vision became available for now for users in USA and Japan

APH announced a big update for users of their NearBy Explorer application which will allow the users to use their GPS navigational app with Open Street Maps instead of Navtech Maps which they previously used

If you want to play UNO, you can now do it with the new Braille UNO cards.

As useful gadget of the month, we recommend you the cell phone lanyard holder on which you can attach your phone and use it hands free. The case can be purchased in any shop that sells camera and phone accessories.

At the end of the episode you can hear our demo for the Advanced Braille Keyboard for Android.

If you have any Feedback for us, send us your comments or suggestions via our Twitter page or e-mail and we will get back to you as soon as possible.