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Photography for the blind, courtesy of the iOS Camera app

Most of us in the sighted world never need to use the amazing accessibility features that are built into iOS, but blogger and developer Stephen van Egmond recently found that these features go well beyond what is expected by even allowing the blind to take pictures with the Camera app.

Van Egmond was talking to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) iDevice User Group about using Pocket Rocket -- a useful Toronto public transit app from van Egmond's company Tiny Planet Software that fully supports the iOS VoiceOver capability -- when he "simply gawped when one blind woman pulled out an iPhone then snapped a perfect shot, guided by the built-in Camera app."

He notes that all of Apple's iOS applications, including Calendar, Mail, Messages, iPhoto, Maps, and Camera, are completely usable by blind people through the standard UIAccessibility framework. However, most developers do a poor job of implementing even the most simple facets of VoiceOver in their apps.

Van Egmond talks about what happens when you launch Camera with VoiceOver enabled. His annotated screenshot, seen above, shows what VoiceOver does to make it possible to take perfectly composed photos of other people when you're blind.

The last paragraph of van Egmond's blog post is worth quoting:

You might end up asking yourself why Apple went to such effort to let a blind person take a picture. The only answer I can give is they not only care about making accessible applications: they also actually put in the effort.

[via @mpanzarino and Daring Fireball]

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