Being blind, I am often irritated by the emergency services beep on the television, and I have to go to my radio to figure out what the emergency is. Is there a storm brewing? Was there a spillage of dangerous material in my neighborhood? Is my drinking water still safe? After a while, with my radio and my computer, I can usually figure out the details.
Weather and local news web sites are often fairly accessible, although the great expanse of information makes it difficult to find information quickly. Also, you never know how often the site is updated. Enter IOS devices and the resident weather app, which is accessible and provides hourly information, and you can see when it was updated.
However, this app doesn't deal well with weather emergencies. I regularly use iMap Weather Radio which is quite accessible/usable and allows one to get information specific to one's geographic area. I've used it long enough to trust that I will get push notifications whenever dangerous weather is near. There is also a feature that allows it to "travel" with you, which I love and is most helpful if you are driving or have traveled away from home.
When I travel, the television information about bad weather is challenging at best. First, it's often hard to find the local station that has the details. Then, not knowing the counties and cities nearby, I cannot interpret what they say as people who can see the maps and radar do; so weather information geared to my local area is most reassuring!
Likewise, news web sites and apps from local television stations are often helpful for emergency information although I've found them to be a mixed bag regarding accessibility.
iMapWeather Radio by Weather Decision Technologies, Inc. is a weather application for your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad that also delivers critical alerts via voice and push notification regarding life-threatening weather events. You may learn more about the app or download it here.
Pat Pound is a disability consultant from Austin, Texas who has used technology for many years, starting a training unit for people who are blind in the '80's. She worked for the State of Texas for many years and shaped disability policy including information accessibility. She is now "retired" but that just means she only does work she likes! She is a weaver, game enthusiast, and has trained teachers of visually impaired kids regarding use of IOS devices. "My own blindness has lead me down many interesting paths and it's such fun now to see how technology can improve our lives!"
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