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low vision

Twitter iOS app is beautiful and inspiring!

Recently updated Twitter app for iOS version 7.1 is beautiful and inspiring to use. This is well designed keeping universal design in mind. Here is what I found impressive:

Clear icons Very pixel perfect, smooth edges and easy to see. Enough color contrast between foreground and background.

Links are underlined – all links including hashtags, twitter handles are underlined. Though I would prefer twitter handles and hashtags not to be underlined as they do already have a symbol attached to it.

Dynamic contrast for back and compose buttons When background color is changed, for instances, when profile page is opened, automatically more contrast background colors are added to back and compose buttons so that they are visible.

Less cluttered buttom navigation now just have home, search, notifications and direct message tabs; many things have been moved to a side menu that can be invoked using left-to-right swipe.

Night mode Even when night mode is turned on, it was pretty easy to use all options and all elements are clearly visible.

Accessibility options Through this section, settings can be activated including increasing font size, enhanced contrast etc.,

Overall, great job Twitter’s Accessibility team! This is something I would urge all app developers to get inspired and build inclusive mobile applications.

Some challenges faced by people with low vision

I happened to be a person with low vision and see some situations challenging if not impossible. Feel free to comment if you have observed any other challenges or have solutions for some of these. I’m also writing solutions that I usually practice or something I think of. Be informed that my solutions my not work for you.

Challenge Solution
Unable to identify status of elevator This happens mostly in the corporate buildings where functional buttons up/down are provided at side of doors but display would be at the top somewhere; instead display should be at the right above the functional buttons
It’s easy to identify inside the elevator when flash light gets turned off on selected button but when elevator is crowded, it may not be easy hence having auditory announcements would be highly helpful
Identifying counters in bank / hospitals Though auditory announcements are made about our token number and counter to be where one should report, often counter numbers are not clearly visible. clear signage would be helpful
Identifying Conference rooms / name boards I just ask people around as name boards are kept at height on the door; instead they should be at 5.5 feet of height as that works for most. Another option is use of phone camera to view the board. But in most offices, photography is prohibited.
Identifying bus number and names It’s easy at the bus stations especially with bussess of Andhra Pradesh Transport department where name board are displayed at lower height on the left side of bus; but it’s difficult to identify a bus when you need to catch on mid way. I usually call driver in advance
Knowing new openings around you Often we see new business open around us but unless they have clear boards, it’s not easy to identify them. Mostly I get to know about new businesses when I go with my wife

One possible solution for many is to carry a telescope but it looks odd to see something with telescope on road side. There could be many more challenges. feel free to comment.