Visually impaired users say iOS 6 App Store redesign is a downgrade

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
While Apple's new iOS 6 operating system packs a number of enhanced features for disabled users, the redesigned App Store, iTunes Store and iBookstore have been called a step backward for the visually impaired.

Reader J. P. Shandra contacted AppleInsider this week to explain how the new layout in the iOS App Store has caused problems for him. In particular, the redesigned horizontal interface for listing the top apps, books and music is said to cause problems with those who use the VoiceOver feature in iOS.

Also with the iOS 6 update, Shandra said that VoiceOver can no longer read application ratings. Previously, he was able to have his iPhone tell him the average review score of content sold on the App Store and Apple's other digital storefronts.

Shandra noted that iOS 6 has a number of improvements related to accessibility, for which he believes Apple should receive credit. But he's been frustrated by the newly redesigned storefronts.

Apple has proven to be very receptive to input from disabled users over the years. Prior to the release of iOS 6 earlier this month, the company made a number of last-minute accessibility fixes that received praise from users.

Stores


The website AppleVis, which advocates for blind and low-vision users of Apple products and applications, noted that a number of other major problems associated with the App Store in the Golden Master build of iOS 6 were fixed by the time the final software was released to the public.

Prior to the changes, the website called the new App Store in iOS 6 "virtually unusable with VoiceOver." Those reliant on audible feedback from their iOS device said that search did not work in the App Store, and pages shown did not match was was read out loud.

But those more serious issues, which went well beyond the complaints Shandra still has, were addressed before iOS 6 was released to the public. "Our thanks go to everybody at Apple who has been busy working on these last minute fixes," author David at AppleVis wrote.

iOS 6 also enhances accessibility with support for new "Made for iPhone" hearing aids. Apple has said it is working with top manufacturers to deliver new hearing aids that will be compatible with iOS devices.

The software update for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch has also added VoiceOver support to Maps, AssistiveTouch and Zoom, giving the screen reader even more functionality in iOS 6.

Another major feature in iOS 6 is Guided Access, which aims to make it easier for people with vision, hearing, learning and mobility disabilities to use their device. With Guided Access, the Home button on an iOS device can be disabled and touch input can be restricted to certain areas of the screen, allowing students with disabilities, like autism, to remain on task.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    I have to agree. I'm not visually impaired but the new layout is messy and confusing.
  • Reply 2 of 36
    I wonder how Google Play and Android are for the visual impaired. [S]Redacting joke that you must be visually impaired to use most of the ugly Android phones that come to market.[/S]
  • Reply 3 of 36

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



    I wonder how Google Play and Android are for the visual impaired. Redacting joke that you must be visually impaired to use most of the ugly Android phones that come to market.


    That is not even slightly funny!

  • Reply 4 of 36


    It is not the layout but how the interface responds to voice over, i.e; when you touch the screen what does the app say out loud. Obviously any change when you cannot see the will take some getting used to but if the voice is not saying the right things it will not be possible.


    I have a problem understanding the reviews part with the stars and grey bars.

     

  • Reply 5 of 36

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



    I wonder how Google Play and Android are for the visual impaired. Redacting joke that you must be visually impaired to use most of the ugly Android phones that come to market.


    Steve Jobs would have said they are just looking at it the wrong way.

  • Reply 6 of 36
    It's not only a downgrade for the visually impaired, I think it's generally a downgrade and I want the old layout back!!

    I think we are starting to notice that Steve Jobs is no longer around! He would have never allowed this new design to see the light of day! There are some improvements which I like, f.e. for updates you no longer need to input your pw or when you dwld you can stay in the app store, but the new layout design is crap!

    I'm for bringing back the old layout, anyone else?
  • Reply 7 of 36


    The new interface is awful. A developer wrote an article on how many more steps there are to find an app.


     


    Some designer was trying to be different and cute and forgot about users.

  • Reply 8 of 36
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pfisher View Post


    The new interface is awful. A developer wrote an article on how many more steps there are to find an app.


     


    Some designer was trying to be different and cute and forgot about users.



     


    Indeed.  I'll probably get crucified for saying it, but Apple seems on the decline lately to me and this is the kind of early warning signs one would expect in that regard.  The Apple TV interface is just awful as well, and it was updated just yesterday to a slightly different flavour of awful too so it's not like it was a temporary thing.  


     


    The fact that there are people at Apple who actually think these are good UI designs is the most worrisome thing.  Everyone makes a mistake once in a while but multiple iterations of horrible crap indicate that the whole "check it before it goes out the door" process is broken. 


     


    Usually when a company starts to decline, the advertising goes bad first (we've already seen that), and then they start making decisions based on other factors besides user enjoyment of the product (prioritising their own stuff ahead of other better stuff as in the Apple TV UI or iOS, making products easier to manufacture rather than easier to use such as with the iPad 3 and iPhone 5).  


     


    This is the peak people.  It's all downhill from here.  

  • Reply 9 of 36
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lav1daloca View Post



    I think we are starting to notice that Steve Jobs is no longer around!


     


    Invoking Steve Jobs is the new Godwin's Law for Apple websites.

  • Reply 10 of 36
    That last half could and probably should be struck from this article. Hearing aids wtc have nothing to do with visual issues and Guided Access is only about locking the device so it won't leave an app. It's a Restriction feature, not an Accessibility one.

    The writing in this site used to be so much better. That headed down hill fast over the past year. And AI really can't gripe about anyone having made bad design choices with this horrid ad bloated white layout, clumsy has hell comments layout and the lack of a smart phone compatible forum. Talk about pot meet kettle on that one
  • Reply 11 of 36


    The new layout is as best described as a clusterf*** and sluggish on my iPhone 4S. I would hardly describe the new App Store as simple nor intuitive. It feels like something designed by Microsoft. Navigating through the new App Store on my iPhone 4S feels like a chore because of its sluggishness. I would hate to see how the experience is for an iPhone 3GS user. Actually, you know what, I am going to update my daughter's iPhone 3GS to iOS 6 just to see for myself tonight.

  • Reply 12 of 36
    urbanverb wrote: »
    That is not even slightly funny!

    Truly- why hasn't he been banned?
  • Reply 13 of 36

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RichL View Post


     


    Invoking Steve Jobs is the new Godwin's Law for Apple websites.



    Can't help that. People said the same thing about Starbucks when Schultz left. Perhaps it's not a myth that 10 CEOs are not equal to one founder.

  • Reply 14 of 36

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


     


    Usually when a company starts to decline, the advertising goes bad first (we've already seen that), and then they start making decisions based on other factors besides user enjoyment of the product (prioritising their own stuff ahead of other better stuff as in the Apple TV UI or iOS, making products easier to manufacture rather than easier to use such as with the iPad 3 and iPhone 5).  


     


    This is the peak people.  It's all downhill from here.  



    I'm curious. So if 'Im a Mac' series was the top of Apple's ad. Then which one you think goes bad. Can I have a link?

  • Reply 15 of 36
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,676member
    I hate to be insensitive, but I'm imagining a "visually impaired" person trying to use an iPhone to begin with. It's not exactly a device one would expect people with vision problems to be using. I suppose an iPad is another matter. The point is these are relatively small devices and not exactly ideal for those with impaired vision.
  • Reply 16 of 36

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post



    I hate to be insensitive, but I'm imagining a "visually impaired" person trying to use an iPhone to begin with. It's not exactly a device one would expect people with vision problems to be using. I suppose an iPad is another matter. The point is these are relatively small devices and not exactly ideal for those with impaired vision.


    Would you agree that Stevie Wonder qualifies as "visually impaired"?


     


    He thanked Steve Jobs for making iOS devices fully accessible. Those who are visually impaired love iOS devices. 


     


    He added, "because there's nothing on the iPhone or iPad that you can do that I can't do. As a matter of fact, i can be talking to you, you can be looking at me, and I can be doing whatever I need to do and you don't even know what I'm doing!"


     


    http://appleinsider.com/articles/11/09/15/stevie_wonder_thanks_steve_jobs_for_making_ios_devices_fully_accessible.html

  • Reply 17 of 36
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,899member


    For people who aren't ready to start wearing glasses, the low-contrast artwork and text in the new Music app are also a step backward.

  • Reply 18 of 36
    I agree with other user comments that the new app store interface is a downgrade. Not a fan of the changes to the new music interface either. Almost seems like they changed it just for the sake of changing it....not improvement.
  • Reply 19 of 36


    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post

    I hate to be insensitive, but I'm imagining a "visually impaired" person trying to use an iPhone to begin with. It's not exactly a device one would expect people with vision problems to be using. I suppose an iPad is another matter. The point is these are relatively small devices and not exactly ideal for those with impaired vision.


     


    There was an Apple ad with a blind woman using an iPhone through Siri.

  • Reply 20 of 36
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post



    I hate to be insensitive, but I'm imagining a "visually impaired" person trying to use an iPhone to begin with. It's not exactly a device one would expect people with vision problems to be using. I suppose an iPad is another matter. The point is these are relatively small devices and not exactly ideal for those with impaired vision.


    Contrary to your signature line, you clearly do not know everything. iPhones are the phone of choice for visually impaired people. Visually impaired being inclusive of people who can see but not well to people who are totally blind. I have a very close friend who has been blind for 35 years as a result of an accident. He still uses an old Nokia that has special software that does text to voice but he says he is planning to get an iPhone because all of his blind friends who already use iPhones are raving about how good they are for use by blind individuals.

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