This is post 2 of 3 on iOS Shortcuts that help the vision impaired. Read part 1 on using the iOS Shortcuts app with vision impairment here and read part 3 on how to create custom Shortcuts here
iOS Shortcuts can be used for a variety of different purposes, one of them being to make tasks easier and more accessible for people with vision impairments. In this post, I will be focusing on ten iOS Shortcuts that can help users that have vision impairment due to blindness or low vision. These shortcuts are also great for people that have full use of their sight.
Quick recap- what is Shortcuts?
Shortcuts is a new feature in iOS 12 that allows users to automate tasks across one app or multiple apps by using Siri or tapping the screen. Each shortcut is made up of one or more actions that interact with apps, content, and internet services to give the user information. It’s more than just asking Siri to open an app, it’s a way to make things easier on the user by automating tasks that normally involve multiple apps.
How to enable skills
To enable a skill from the main skill library, just tap on the square to add it to your skills. Some skills are ones that I found on Reddit and can be downloaded by clicking the links from this post while on an iOS device.
Ask Siri to take a photo with either the front or back camera. Users have the option to enable camera preview or can choose to leave it off. Images are automatically saved to the photo library. This skill can be found in the main skill library.
Search Amazon, Target, or Walmart for an item
Scan a barcode and see the item with its price displayed on Amazon, Walmart, or Target. I like using this to re-order items on Amazon, and used it today to figure out the best price for my favorite granola bars. This is a really helpful skill I found on r/shortcuts- download the search stores skill here.
Speak Body of Article
I don’t use VoiceOver all of the time, so having a skill that can speak the body of an article I’m reading is highly helpful. Open any article in Safari and have the body text read out loud at a custom speed. This skill can be found in the main skill library. Read more about using VoiceOver here.
Open any webpage in Safari and create a PDF file that preserves the appearance of the webpage, including ads. I like this function because it means I can import the PDF into other apps such as Microsoft Office OneNote and Notability. This skill can be found in the main skill library. Read more about Microsoft Office OneNote here and read more about Notability here.
One time, I couldn’t see outside my window and was getting ready to leave my dorm building. My resident director stopped me before I could go outside and said that it was snowing, so I should go put on additional layers. Sweater Weather reads the forecast and provides recommendations on what layers someone should wear to stay warm- is it a sweater kind of day, or do you need a winter coat? This is a really helpful skill I found on r/shortcuts- download the Sweater Weather skill here. Read more about staying warm with a blindness cane here.
Dictate to Clipboard
I often times will type out text in another app using dictation so I can copy the same text into another document. Dictate to clipboard allows me to eliminate that step and dictate text that is directly added to the clipboard so I can paste it as many times as I want in other apps. This skill can be found in the main skill library. Read more about keyboard accessibility for vision impairment here.
Remind Me at Work
Whenever I go to my one of my classes, I always get lost and try to go in the wrong entrance for the building. I started to use the Remind Me at Work skill so that when I get close to the building, my iPad can then give me a reminder of how to get to the classroom. By holding down on the skill icon, I can copy it and use it to set reminders for other locations as well. This skill can be found in the main skill library. Read more about navigating campus here.
I don’t like opening URLs unless I know exactly where they lead. Shortened URLs can be disguised as other websites and can lead to malicious purposes. Expand URL lets me know exactly what website I am going to and copies the link to the clipboard. This skill can be found in the main skill library. Read more about password security here.
When I get lost, I often think of two things- how did I get there and how do I get home? My friend and I tested this skill on campus and were able to get back to the location we had pre-set in the app with ease. This skill can be found in the main skill library.
Want to call a local business or customer support? Rotary allows users to input text or dictate their desired business name and will give them the option to call the closest location, select from nearby locations, or call customer support. This is a really helpful skill I found on r/shortcuts- download the Rotary skill here.
With these ten Shortcuts skills, iOS users with vision impairment can take full advantage of their device and use it to help them be more productive.