Apple has continued their efforts to make iOS more accessible and their efforts can be seen in iOS 8. Many of the features from iOS 7 have been carried over including options to reduce motion, use button shapes, bold text and change to a larger text size. The vision section of Accessibility in iOS 8 have options to will help those who have serious vision impairment. Among those new options are grayscale, assorted new zoom controls and a speech section that enables a new speak screen feature.

iOS 8 grayscale

Grayscale Accessibility Option

Primarily for those who suffer from color blindness or color deficient vision, iOS 8 brings a new option to switch to grayscale. Removing all of the color from an iPhone creates a surreal looking visual, but one that should provide a higher level of contrast. By utilizing grayscale, the increased contrast can help those with impaired vision distinguish differences throughout the user interface.

Zoom Options Expanded

The Zoom options have been greatly expanded in iOS 8. Zoom still magnifies the entire screen using a a sequence of gestures. Double-tap three fingers will zoom, while dragging will move around the screen.

Detached zoom controls

  • Follow Focus
  • Detach Zoom Controls: This brings up an overlay through iOS that lets you customize your zoom preferences.
  • Leave Keyboard Unzoomed: This keeps you content zoomed, but where you evoke the keyboard, it says the same size.
  • Lens Mode: In iOS 7, Zoom mode would put the entire screen in zoom. Users could zoom, but not move the zoomed area. Instead, you would have to zoom out and use a three finger tap to zoom on a particular area. This is now considered ‘Fullscreen’ in Lens Modes. A new Windowed mode creates a ‘loupe’ and all content within it is zoomed. As you scroll, content in that window is larger.
  • Lens Effects: Options here include Grayscale, Grayscale Inverted and Inverted.
  • Maximum Zoom Level: This can be changed from 1.25x to 15x.

Lens Mode: Windowed iOS 8

New Speech Accessibility Option

The ‘Speech’ section in iOS 7 offered two options. Speak Selection would enable a speak button when you selected text. Speak auto-text would automatically speak auto-corrections and auto-capitalization. iOS 8 gains a new ‘Speak Screen’ option. When enabled, swiping down with two fingers from the top of the screen will let you hear the content on that screen.

When you enable ‘Speak Screen’, you can adjust the speaking rate from slow to fast. iOS 8 also lets you change the voices and lets you choose from 26 different languages. There is also an option to highlight words as they are spoken.

Speak Screen iOS 8

Apple has made significant changes to the vision category of Accessibility. While intended for those with vision deficiencies, there might be some options here that might appeal to you. iOS 8 certainly improves upon the increasingly important accessibility of iOS devices.