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Accessibility improvements Apple should make in iOS 9

Steven Aquino | March 11, 2015
It's totally fine if iOS 9 doesn't pack in hundreds of new features. Steven Aquino just wants a handful of tweaks to make things more visible.

My wishes here are twofold. First, Apple should make the grab handles bigger. As it is now, I sometimes have trouble finding them, so making them more identifiable would help me a great deal. Second, the popover options would be more readable in a bigger font--I oftentimes have problems with seeing the Cut, Copy, and Paste commands.

Clearing Notifications
Notification Center's arrival in iOS 5 was a godsend, as Apple finally added a central place where users could see all their push notifications.

The problem, though, with Apple's implementation so far is that users must clear notifications manually (save for iMessages), and it can be quite the chore. The biggest problem I have is tapping the little X button, which then morphs into a little Clear button, to delete a notification. It takes two taps to clear one app's notifications, and you have to do this for every single app that sends you these things. Worse, the buttons are awfully small and low contrast, which makes them hard to see and tap.

Nothing would make me (and countless others, I'm sure) happier than if Apple would introduce a swipe-to-delete gesture to Notification Center, akin to the one added to iOS 8 that allows users to reply to text messages and act on email from the lock screen. Not only would such a gesture be convenient, but it would rid me of the struggle in finding the aforementioned little X button. It would mean less eye strain, fewer missed taps, and help me work faster on my devices.

Add an optional dark mode
Currently, iOS has an option under Accessibility (Accessibility > Invert Colors) that inverts the colors across the system. The point of this is to provide higher contrast, but turning it on makes everything look weird. In a similar vein, iOS 8 added a Grayscale option, also under Accessibility, that strips the UI of all color except for, as the name implies, gray. Like with Invert Colors, the point of Grayscale is to improve contrast, most notably for those whose vision has trouble focusing in the presence of color.

But there is a missing "theme" in iOS: dark mode. While I have never experienced any trouble using iOS the normal way, I do sometimes enjoy reading in dark mode in apps like Tweetbot and iBooks. This is because since the contrast is higher, text pops more easily, and because the background is dark, my eyes endure less fatigue and strain from the bright light of the white background. (This phenomenon is precisely why movie theaters show films in darkness; it's easier for the eyes to focus on the screen in the absence of ambient light.)


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