Access Technology Blog

Welcome to our Access Technology Blog section! The NFB Jernigan Institute Access Technology team is always on the lookout for new and better ways to give blind people access to technology, as the ever-growing International Braille and Technology Center attests. In these tips we want to share some of the pointers manufacturers and developers share with us to help you learn about new applications and new programs, and to help you find new functionality in familiar products. The Access Technology team works with the relevant manufacturers and developers to obtain the tips listed here, to make sure that you get the best and latest about anything new in the world of non-visual access technology.


If you have any feedback please contact Clara Van Gerven at

National Federation of the Blind Indoor Navigation Challenge

Blog Date: 
Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute is the premier research and training institute that applies the collective knowledge and life experience of the blind to the development of innovative solutions to the barriers faced by blind people. We are designing the National Federation of the Blind Indoor Navigation Challenge to combine our expertise and experience with that of other technology and research professionals to partner in the development of universally designed access tools and strategies that enhance independent travel for the blind. Blind people effectively use tools and strategies like white canes, guide dogs, mental mapping, echolocation, and problem-solving skills to acquire and use environmental information to travel safely and independently outdoors and indoors.

Braille Literacy through Technology

Blog Date: 
Thursday, July 23, 2015

By Jeremy Capati

Apple Watch Review - Part Two

Blog Date: 
Wednesday, June 10, 2015

By Karl Belanger

Following Amy’s time with the Apple Watch, I put it through its paces. Overall, for an initial release product, it does what it does very well. Before I get into my thoughts, here are some further words from Amy on her second experience with the watch.

Apple Watch Review – Your Mileage May Vary Edition

Blog Date: 
Tuesday, May 26, 2015

by Amy Mason

The biggest news in the Access Technology community of late has been the Apple Watch. Everyone has had their say.  People have complained about the availability of the devices, crowed about their watch shipping, reviewed, tweeted and blogged. With all the hype surrounding the device,  it only seemed reasonable that the Access Technology team should give it a spin, and give you, our loyal readers, our opinions so that all three of you who haven’t already made up your mind about whether or not you need one, can make that decision with the benefit of our experience.  

Creating Nonvisually Accessible Documents

Blog Date: 
Friday, May 22, 2015

The full Creating Nonvisually Accessible Documents is now available!

Global Accessibility Awareness Day Post Two: Accessibility is a Matter of Style

Blog Date: 
Thursday, May 21, 2015

Without some simple but thoughtful styling, your document is little more than a disorganized mess of text.  The careful application of headings, paragraphs, tables, and lists provides your document with much needed structure, so that it can be easily reviewed and understood.  .

Global Accessibility Awareness Day Post Three: Describe It Well to Help Your Users Get the Picture

Blog Date: 
Thursday, May 21, 2015

Blind users are reliant on textual description of most electronic content. Whether they are using a Braille display or a speech synthesizer, the content they review from documents and websites comes in the form of text.  As we all know, the web and many documents are built with a great amount of graphical material.  With the following tips, however, you can ensure that your content can be enjoyed by blind visitors as well.  

Global Accessibility Awareness Day Post Four: … But We Just Got Started

Blog Date: 
Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and as Global Accessibility Awareness Day draws to a close, we will leave you, with our:

Design Considerations

Document accessibility involves a number of different factors. Choices made to improve the visual appearance of a project may hinder or enhance readability for all users. Furthermore, access to documents encompasses word choice and sentence structure. Finally, it comes down to checking your work to ensure that the document you have created is meeting the needs it was created to fulfill. The below guidelines are a sample of the types of things that should be considered when creating a document, that were not covered in other sections of this article.

The Sighted Guide to VoiceOver

Blog Date: 
Friday, May 1, 2015

By Clara Van Gerven

Recently, I decided to turn my iPhone screen off, and use only VoiceOver at work for forty days. As the longtime lone sighted person on a team of blind access technology specialists, I will never have the same everyday user familiarity with JAWS or VoiceOver as my blind colleagues, but I strive for as much knowledge of any of these as possible. I’ve read a number of articles from mainstream journalists about accessibility. Some are good; but the majority miss the finer points (and sometimes the not-so-fine points) of how the technology works. Worse, they often miss how blind people operate. Ironically, the most common mistaken assumption is that blind people are somehow different from sighted ones; that they somehow have different needs, different hearing, different lives, and a lot more patience.