The iPad is considered one of the most revolutionary inventions of the 21st century, especially in terms of accessibility. Personally, I have seen the amazing effects of having an iPad in the educational setting, at both the high school and college level. It’s also been fantastic for making resources accessible, like digital textbooks. However, before the iPad can be used by someone with low vision, it must be configured first. Here are the settings I enable for the iPad/iPhone to help make the device possible to use for those who have low vision. All are found in the accessibility menu under general settings unless otherwise noted. Altogether, it takes about ten minutes to enable all of the settings listed below
Zoom magnifies the entire screen and is great for using apps that have smaller font, such as ones for restaurants. It can be adjusted to window zoom while typing so that the entire screen isn’t distorted. Note that screenshots taken with zoom enabled will not display the zoomed in image, but the whole screen. Zoom can be activated after being turned on in settings by double tapping with three fingers
This is a built in magnifying glass with the device’s camera, and different than using the zoom function. It is activated by triple clicking the home button when enabled. This is super helpful when I am somewhere and can’t see small items.
Color Filter- This allows for a tint to allow users with different forms of color blindness to access their devices, but I personally use it to add a background tint to reduce blue light. I have it on a mild intensity and full hue.
Reduce White Point– This makes whites on the screen less sharp and is extremely helpful for reducing glare. Mine is at 50%
Larger text– Turn on large accessibility sizes and make text even larger! I have it on the largest available which is equivalent to about a size 36 font
Bold text– Creates larger weighted font that is easier to distinguish
Puts backgrounds on buttons so they are easier to notice. It can best be described as a subtle, shaded effect with easy to distinguish shapes. The target area is also large, meaning the buttons are easier to press.
I reduce transparency and darken colors to create a high contrast display, a feature that integrates well with the button shapes. This is not overly noticeable to other people who use my iPad, and I have found it does not have much of an effect with color display in photos- all colors look good.
I reduce motion to disable animations that can hurt my eyes. This is tremendously helpful for people who have prisms in their glasses, as fast moving animations can cause vertigo for some.
By triple clicking the home button, you can edit accessibility settings. I have guided access and magnifier on mine. Siri is the default accessibility shortcut. If more than one application is set, then a small menu will be displayed when the home button is triple clicked.
Found in general, this is the parental controls section of the device. While it may seem silly to set your own controls, this eliminates the gif keyboard in the new version of iMessage if you restrict websites for adult content. I recommend putting all of the websites you access often in always allow first.
By enabling these settings, a person with low vision will be able to harness all of the capabilities of the iPad and use it to enhance their ability to use assistive technology.