This article is from the WeChat public account “Love Fan” (ID: ifanr) , author: Fang Jiawen, title figure from the CFP.

A set of features that most people do n’t understand, but it took Apple more than a decade to build. They hope that this set of functions will allow every Apple user to finally “tune” the device that he uses best.

The story has to start with a 36-second video.

In 2009, Apple released the iPhone 3GS. In many respects, this is a smartphone with a sense of the times.

Its performance has improved a lot compared to the iPhone 3G. The camera ’s pixels have been upgraded to 3.2 million, and it has started to support focus and video recording functions. Moreover, iPhone users can finally use the “copy / paste” function. At the same time, it is the first iPhone officially introduced into the mainland.

Image from Yahoo

But for another group of people, the most memorable thing at the two-hour WWDC press conference was the 36 seconds that most people did n’t notice:

We are also very concerned about “accessibility”.

Phil Schiller said when introducing the features of the new iPhone 3GS. Next, he began to introduce the “VoiceOver”, “Zoom”, “White on Black” and “Mono Audio” features that debuted on the iPhone.

Phil Schiller introduced iPhone 3GS at WWDC in 2009

According to Shelly Brisbin, an author who has long been concerned about technology accessibility design, the short 36 seconds at that time attracted a lot of discussion among the visually impaired community.

Some people think that this means that the future iPhone will pay more attention to the experience of disabled people, which is a welcome sign; some people still hold a wait-and-see attitude, worrying that this is just a public relations gesture that big companies do.

Reality proves that Apple is serious about doing barrier-free design.

On the occasion of the Global Accessibility Promotion Day, Sarah Herrlinger, Apple ’s Global Accessibility Policy and Program Director, accepted an exclusive interview with Ai Faner and shared the design concepts behind the functions that have changed the lives of at least tens of millions of people.

Sarah Herrlinger

Evolving “narration”

Image from MakeUseof

Many of our readers know the function of “narration”.

For the visually impaired, it allows iPhones without buttons to “speak”, where the finger touches the screen, the narration will read the content on the screen. With it, users who ca n’t see the content on the screen can also use the iPhone to do everything the sight-seekers can do.

But when we are talking about this function, the modifier often has a static sense “Apple introduced the narration function XX years ago.” What I did not notice is that during the 11 years, “narration” evolved quietly. How many times.

In 2009, Apple officially added “narration” in iPhone OS 3; in 2010, “narration” in iOS 4 began to support external braille displays, which can output the content on the screen in braille (let the visually impaired touch “Reading”), you can also use Braille display to enter text information;

Image from YouTube

In 2011, iOS 5 started to support the “narration” function during the initial setup of the mobile phone, and visually impaired people can also complete the boot setting independently; in 2012, the “narration” in iOS 6 added the Action function, and the narration will describe the specific The operation options that the button can make, such as deleting messages or adding tags, etc …

Almost in every system update, we can see that this function which belongs to the “basic” level in the accessibility design of electronic products is optimized little by little. Until now, the “narration” function has supported more than 35 languages.

Pictures are from technology rights

In order to achieve continuous optimization, Herrlinger said that Apple has always maintained close contact with the disabled community.

In the accessibility team, some members are people with disabilities, and we will also cooperate with international organizations and the disabled community to obtain their feedback and views on technology. In addition, (on the consumer side) we also set up a dedicated Apple Care team for accessibility, and users can get technical support through telephone (supporting English and Mandarin), online communication, and email.

In addition to continuous improvement in one function, Apple ’s auxiliary functions are still becoming more and more extensive.

Opening the “Accessibility” homepage on Apple’s official website, we found that in addition to people’s relatively familiar “vision”, “listening” and “physical activity” categories, Apple also created a special area for “learning ability.

People affected by dyslexia are not unwise, just that they learn and digest information differently. When they are reading, they will encounter difficulty in reading, reversing the order, and confusing the near words.

Because people have limited knowledge about this disorder, children affected by dyslexia are sometimes mistaken for naughtiness or laziness. According to statistics, about 17% of people worldwide are affected by dyslexia.

To help this group read better, Apple ’s “Reading Content” feature allows users to listen to speech while reading to better understand the content; for children affected by autism or other attention disorders For teachers or parents, “Guided Access” can limit access to one application, reducing learning interference.

“Guided Access” on iPhone and iPad

Whether it is “depth” or “breadth”, Apple is continuing to expand.

Another “family bucket” joy

For many loyal Apple users, the ecology is a circle, you ca n’t go out after entering.

The joy of “Family Bucket” is that we can work across devices across the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, or use the “universal clipboard” to paste text or files; it is also convenient for cross-device information synchronization and Unification of native application operations.

In terms of barrier-free function design, the advantage of the “Family Bucket” is also the beauty of “unification”.

Herrlinger told us that when designing auxiliary functions for different Apple devices, the team will try to maintain a unified operating logic. Taking the aforementioned “narration” function as an example, in the screen reading mode, users can use the iPhone through specific gesture instructions, and this set of instructions extends not only from the iPhone to the iPad, but also on the Mac through the touchpad For Apple Watch, this set of instructions has been arranged and must be matched even before the product is fully formed.

As long as you have learned the “narration” function on any Apple device, basically you will use the “narration” function on all Apple devices.

Although this seems natural, it is not easy to achieve.

Gu Linglei, a visually impaired person, is not only a computer trainer of the Zhejiang Disabled Persons ’Federation, but also a long-term focus on the design of barrier-free functions in the technology industry. He once shared in a podcast that a social application in China is now almost “unusable” for the visually impaired.

Gu Linglei said that he had feedback to the company on the app ’s mobile client problems many years ago. At that time, there were indeed very interested engineers to contact him, and quickly corrected the relevant problems. However, as time progressed, the members of the product and development team iterated and replaced, new engineers changed, and they ran back in terms of accessibility.

Therefore, when hearing-impaired people want to use this application, they can only use the web version (with the help of Apple’s own screen reading function), or use some third-party applications that are well-designed and accessible.

This is not alone. The fact is that when the positioning of barrier-free design is placed on the “function”, it will fall into the “priority” ranking, so it may be overlooked. And for Apple, make it available to everyoneIs the core value of the company, the basic human rights, and the bottom line rooted in each system.

This also makes it possible to “try first”.

Remember when Apple first introduced iOS 7, did people react to the polarization of flat design? Some people think that this is modern and simple, while others miss the quasi-physical fun.

Image from BGR

It is little known that the amblyopic group collapsed when they first saw iOS 7. Subtle transparency effects, slender fonts, and smooth animations are all nightmares to recognize. Fortunately, Apple also introduced a series of new accessibility features; enhanced contrast, bold display, and reduced screen dynamics …

Everyone: iOS 7, get√

Final goal: Let everyone customize the most suitable device for their own

Picture from Apple

Many people like to call “small dots” on the iPhone; I will also use the “read content” function to read materials when I am sleepy. Accessibility is never just a design that can benefit the disabled.

During the interview, Herrlinger repeatedly mentioned that “disability” covers a wide range, including many different degrees.

Taking visual impairment as an example, some people may be completely blind; some people may be amblyopic; some people may be visually weakened due to age; some people may not be able to find glasses at once; To the light switch. Disability is not necessarily pathological. It may be situational. You and I will encounter it more or less in life.

At this time, those auxiliary functions that we thought were irrelevant to us may become your good helper in one click-wait for me to press the Home button three times to quickly start the “amplifier” (equivalent to turning the phone lens into an optical magnifying glass ), And then match the built-in flashlight to find my glasses.

Everyone has a different way of perceiving obstacles. Therefore, barrier-free design can always be improved and always better. Among them, there are huge opportunities for innovation.

Fortunately, as people pay more attention to barrier-free design, more and more technology companies are advancing measures in this regard.

Six years ago, Apple introduced a virtual braille keyboard that supports six and eight dots on iOS and supports more than 80 languages ​​(including Mandarin). Recently, Google has also introduced a virtual braille keyboard that supports English, and the accessible Xbox controller designed by Microsoft has considered the friendliness of people with limited mobility from unpacking to use.

Apple said that accessibility is a human right. And this sentence is not just for people with disabilities.

It ’s not only those who know how to disassemble the phone, who write the code have the right to “customize” efficient electronic devices, and use rich auxiliary functions, we can all set our iPhone to meet our “odd “Strange” custom phone.

Our goal is that everything we make is accessible, and every function on our device is open to everyone.

This concept should not be limited to technology products.