It is possible that the next important step in the development of applications or operating systems is created by a blind or visually impaired developer, while Apple takes a new step to make coding accessible to all .
Swift gets braille
The Apple "Everyone Can Code" program is already used in schools, colleges and homes around the world.
Today, he is associated with the famous RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind) to make his training program in coding techniques more accessible.
Sarah Herrlinger, director of accessibility programs at Apple, told me, "One of the things we saw was that some blind students did not think that coding was accessible to them. So we tried to increase the coding of blind students and added these new resources to the mix. "
RNIB provides Braille versions of the Swift Playgrounds graphics used in its coding course. These correspond to the 3D puzzles used to teach the basics of coding. They allow learners with visual problems to understand the puzzles, making it easier to solve challenges with Swift.
You can already get similar tools in the US, where Apple has worked with Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) students to use VoiceOver and Swift Playgrounds and teach them how to create code. Later, the company announced plans to extend the course to eight schools for the deaf and blind.
Power to the people
These initiatives solve a problem in which visually impaired or visually impaired people who used VoiceOver to learn to code with Swift did not have a clue where different items were visible.
With an increasingly digital future, it makes sense that every person has the chance to learn programming and computer skills, explained Herrlinger.
"Nobody should have a moment where someone says," No, you can not do it because of your disability. "We believe that if technology can be the scaffold that opens this door, that's what we need to do."
Swift Playgrounds has supported VoiceOver since its launch, but by publishing the Braille guides (also available for download if you have a braille printer), the company hopes to help more people better understand the code.
Apple has received accolades and awards from several disability rights organizations. This is the latest achievement in its impressive track record in assistive technology.
This was the first company to use VoiceOver in 2009 with mass market touch screens usable by blind or visually impaired users. She was also the first to integrate TTY support into a smartphone, to enable Bluetooth connections between smartphones and hearing aids, and to offer Switch Control in her devices. According to WebAIM, today, more than 76% of blind people using a mobile screen reader use iOS and VoiceOver.
It's all about empowerment
Coding can become a way to access the independence and employment of many blind people once made more accessible.
This could be important.
More than 70% of the blind are unemployed, but 80% of those who work read in Braille, which means that Braille is another language that blind people should learn.
At work, the acquisition of technological and coding skills should enable blind and visually impaired employees to engage in a wider variety of technology-assisted tasks than can be done without these skills. This type of empowerment will be very important in the future workplace where AI or other people work.
David Clarke, Director of RNIB Services, says:
"We are excited to have worked with Apple on this project to make their coding education application, Swift Playgrounds, more accessible to children and young people with low vision – so they can access the same resources and information as their children. peers and visual users. can realize their potential in the digital age. "
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