Advocate demonstrates Apple’s commitment to inclusive design

The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, or WWDC, was held in San Francisco this past June.

Haben Girma, a White House Champion of Change, and Forbes 30 under 30 leader, was the first person who is Deaf Blind to graduate from Harvard Law School, according to her WWDC profile.

A bright sunset streams through stormy clouds, reflecting bright light behind mountains and onto the lake in front of it.
Adding alternate text descriptions of picture like this one here provide descriptions of the content for people using screen readers. photo credit: Lac des Mongerons via photopin (license)

Girma presented on the benefits of accessible design, including accessible design for developers.

In her presentation, Girma demonstrated creative ways to communicate with technology: she typed with President Barack Obama using Braille and a keyboard for the president; a classmate who wanted to talk to her when Girma couldn’t see or hear her contacted her on Facebook; she uses tactile sign language with her brother, who is also Deaf Blind.

One accessible function Apple products offer is a screen reader, VoiceOver. Girma said, “VoiceOver can speak out loud and send information to the digital Braille display.”

“Our goal is to have every app, and I mean every single app, to be accessible,” Girma said about the App Store.

Girma advocated for captions, and access to any features without assuming people with disabilities wouldn’t use it.

She used photography throughout her presentation to demonstrate how she uses pictures to share with sighted people, so develops shouldn’t deny access to technology based on assumptions.

Picture of a smart watch on someone's hand.
Smart watches may provide pulses that wearers can feel, something that benefits users without sight. photo credit: Turquoise shade leather band via photopin (license)

Haptic features, such as pulses of an Apple Watch to indicate emails, is a feature she said is not used enough by developers.

You can see Girma present at the event here or read the transcript here.

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