Accessible Apple: The 12 Requests of Christmas - Day 2

A Perkins Brailler

A Perkins Brailler

This is the second post in our annual 12 part series covering the accessibility features we would like to see Apple bring to its products in the coming year.

This series is being put together by Accessibility Editor Alex Jurgensen, with the help of several contributors.

For the second request of Christmas, we ask Apple to give to us:

2. 6-Key Braille Input for macOS

On iOS, there has long been a feature that allows users who are familiar with Braille (the reading and writing code used by many blind and partially sighted people around the world) to type by tapping out sequences of Braille dots on-screen instead of using iOS's on-screen keyboard. The experience is similar to that of playing an on-screen piano.

In Braille, there are symbols that represent the letters of the alphabet, punctuation and other special indicators. There are also symbols called contractions, where either a single symbol or sequence of symbols represent a word or sequence of letters. For instance, the letters "THE" are represented by a single symbol in Braille.

Using the on-screen Braille input method provided by iOS, users can quickly and efficiently enter text. On macOS, users do not have this option unless they own a hardware Braille keyboard, an accessory that is rather expensive.

We are therefore asking Apple to implement Braille keyboard support using the letters "SDF" to represent the left-hand column of Braille dots and "JKL" to represent the right-hand column. This would provide the benefits afforded by Braille input support without the high cost and inconveniences associated with specialized hardware.

The previous posts:

1. A New Speech Manager


The Christmas season is upon us and the spirit of giving is in the air. Writing articles for the Accessible Apple column takes time and energy. If you enjoy Accessible Apple articles and would like to see them continue into 2017, please consider making a donation to Camp Bowen, a summer camp for the visually impaired and blind that promotes independent living, education, and the fostering of creativity. A few dollars can go a long way towards ensuring this valuable program can continue to serve generations to come.