Accessible Apple: The 12 Requests of Christmas, Day 12

IMG_0528.PNG

Editor's note: due to scheduling difficulties, this post and a "bonus" request are running one day late.  

This is the twelfth 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.

Be sure to check back later today for a special edition post! For the twelfth request of Christmas, we ask Apple to give to us:

12. Some Good Old Bug Fixes

Requesting bug fixes may seem underwhelming after two years and twenty-four posts in this series. However, that is what we are asking Apple to grant us for the twelfth request, and there a good reason to do so.

Over the years, bugs have been piling up that are negatively affecting the usability and accessibility of Apple’s operating systems, especially macOS. These range from the mildly annoying -- like some Emoji characters that VoiceOver can’t read -- to the serious, like the inability to select text across pages in Pages and Text Edit with the keyboard as well as issues discovered in PDFKit. Under all those issues is a very solid core platform with awesome accessibility functionality, but it is sometimes hard to see it under the patchwork of bugs that exist. Like a carpenter smooths a board to show the beauty of the wood grain or a jeweller polishes a diamond to perfection, so too must Apple refine its operating system software.

Between Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and 10.6 Snow Leopard, Apple introduced mostly under-the-hood changes geared at improving stability and performance. As a consequence, the list of user-facing features added was limited in comparison to other major release versions of the Mac operating system. However, the groundwork set out in Snow Leopard set the stage for the macOS we know today.

What we are asking Apple to do is to take a year and employ a Snow Leopard-like approach to improve all of its operating systems. This may mean that there is less excitement over new features, but the stability and performance gains will ensure that future features are built on a solid foundation and maintain the reliability Apple’s devices and services are known for.

As it pertains to accessibility, fixing bugs across Apple’s platforms would mean that universal access technologies, like VoiceOver and others, will work even better than they already do. It would furthermore make the user experience better for all users, regardless of how they access their Apple products.

Please be sure to check back later today for a special bonus edition of The 12 Requests of Christmas.

The Previous Posts

11. A Customizable Rotor for VoiceOver Navigation in macOS

10. Relay Support for Assistive Technology Peripherals

9. The Ability to Use the Enhanced Siri Voices in macOS with VoiceOver

8. A System-wide Spellchecker in iOS

7. An Enhanced Spellchecker for macOS

6. A Rewritten "Activities" System for VoiceOver on the Mac

5. A Reimplementation of the Classic Mac Startup Chime

4. Braille Display and Keyboard Support for the Apple TV

3. A Free USB Type C to USB Type A Dongle

2. 6-Key Braille Input for macOS

1. A New Speech Manager