Meeting the Time Challenge!

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Image of a clock and calendarPrior to accessible apps for calendars and time management, people who are blind were constantly challenged by keeping track of time and schedules. First of all, we usually had only one watch or clock that provided time either in tactile or spoken formats, so when traveling we had to take our own alarm clock. Braille calendars only provided days and dates, not offording a space to write, so keeping a calendar of ones appointments in Braille was somewhat like using a typewriter to do so.

Today, folks who are blind have many more opportunities for enhanced time management. Our phone has an accessible built in clock, alarm, and timer/stopwatch allowing us to wake up, catch the bus, bake a cake, and run the fastest time, all via accessible apps.

The calendar app on the iPhone is truly amazing. Electronic calendars on the PC were rarely accessible and often challenging especially in group or work situations where calendar sharing is required. Now with the iPhone calendar, one can easily enter and edit appointments, sync with online calendars, and even manage family birthdays! Hats off to apple for demonstrating a truly accessible calendar.

The only missing piece for me is holidays, and I've found various accessible apps that solve this problem. One that I find accessible is Holiday List which includes various religious holidays, allowing for avoiding conflicts with religious activities when scheduling events or meetings. Another useful technique when using VoiceOver with my phone is to highlight the time, and then as each new minute rolls over and the time refreshes, VoiceOver speaks the new time. This is particularly helpful when waiting on a bus.

 

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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