On Thursday 1st February, through our own Policy Manager Mr Alexandre Bloxs, we attended the ICT Training organised by Apple in their retail store in Brussels. The training was co-organised by Apple and the European Disability Forum and aimed to showcase the specific accessibility features existing in Apple products for persons with disabilities.
Taking stock in the universal design conception where all accessibility features should be incorporated in products from the outset, the training highlighted how Apple integrates accessibility into its hardware and software, making their devices usable by everyone, including persons with disabilities.
During the training, participants were introduced to various accessibility features available on Apple devices, such as VoiceOver, Live Listen, and Sound Recognition, which respond to the diverse requirements of users with disabilities. Demonstrations were provided to showcase how these features can be used effectively to enhance the user experience and ensure greater accessibility. Additionally, SignTime, an innovative service provided by Apple, was highlighted during the training. SignTime allows users to communicate with Apple Support using various national sign languages.
Moreover, we reminded the Apple Policy Team of the importance of increasing accessibility features through national sign language by developing an alternative to Siri, which is speech-based. This alternative would allow recognition and interpretation of input in the national sign language, responding to the rights of deaf people to use and communicate through their national sign languages. We highlighted the importance of incorporating diverse languages, including national sign languages, into emerging technologies to ensure equal access and participation for all people, including deaf people!
We would like to warmly thank the European Disability Forum and Apple for their initiative in organising this much-needed and useful workshop. The European Union of the Deaf is committed to ensuring no deaf people are left behind when it comes to making sure emerging technologies are accessible to us through our national sign languages!