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

Braille Moves Forward in iOS 8

Blog Date: 
Wednesday, September 17, 2014

By Jennifer Dunnam

In the latest version of Apple's iOS, four Braille-related developments not only greatly improve the experience of using Braille with mobile devices, but also serve as a model for how the use of Braille can be integrated into today's digital technology. Three of these improvements relate to the interaction of iDevices with external refreshable Braille devices. The fourth does not require a Braille device at all—we'll start our review there.

Kyocera Verve

Blog Date: 
Tuesday, August 5, 2014

By Clara Van Gerven

The Kyocera Verve, like the Kona reviewed on this blog previously, is an addition to Sprint’s line-up of accessible phones. It is listed on the Sprint accessibility page as such, but oddly enough the text-to-speech built into the phone is not listed as an accessibility feature. The booklets in the box don't reveal the text-to-speech feature, though the full manual online has details of the accessibility features, which is helpful. The PDF manual, while it has a few headings out of order and a few less-than-useful image labels, is quite well done. There is also an HTML manual, which is useful.

Verizon Samsung Gusto 3

Blog Date: 
Friday, July 18, 2014

By Clara Van Gerven

There is a new answer to the recurring question about accessible feature phones that is worthy of a blog post. I’ve reviewed talking feature phones on this blog before, including, as part of the CSUN presentation I posted here, the Verizon Samsung Gusto 2. The Gusto 2 was not a particularly accessible phone, and I’m delighted to report that the new version is a significant improvement all around. The Gusto 3, a flip phone that looks almost identical to its predecessor, is available from Verizon for $0.99 with a two-year contract, and $149.99 without a contract.

Tactile Graphics Issue

Blog Date: 
Friday, May 9, 2014

By Clara Van Gerven


Those of you who have an interest in tactile graphics will be interested to know that some of the presentations from last year’s Tactile Graphics Conference here at the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute have made it into articles in the Tactile Graphics Issue of the Journal of Blindness Innovation and Research (JBIR). The issue is available free of charge if you sign up at

It gives me joy to see the small, but incredibly important, field of creating images for the blind find a scholarly voice in these articles, and I hope to see many more of them in JBIR and elsewhere. These articles are one more way to educate the public and to share knowledge between experts who are often continents apart.

Ustraap System

Blog Date: 
Wednesday, April 23, 2014

By Amy Mason


CSUN is always an exciting time for the Access Technology Team. We get to explore all the new and interesting products that have come out, or are on their way to market, and this year was no exception.  We didn’t write about this product before now because its creator is still in the process of bringing it to market, but it’s a nifty little tool, and worth some exploration.

First, a brief caveat, this is a “first impressions” blog post, not a full-fledged review. I’ve not spent more than a few minutes with the device itself yet, though I have every intention of doing so when given the chance in the future. So with that… on to the review—

Odds and Ends - Bite-Sized Bits of Access Technology Goodness

Blog Date: 
Monday, April 14, 2014

By Amy Mason


It's been busy for the Access technology team in the last few weeks. Unbelievably, it has been less than a month since we returned from the CSUN conference. In that time we've seen some pretty exciting things going on around the world of accessible technology and we wanted to share a few of those things with you. None of these are super high-tech, nor are they overly complicated, but each of these projects are fun, or useful or both, and their creators deserve a shout-out for working very obviously to include everyone.

Phones for Low Vision and Blind Seniors

Blog Date: 
Friday, March 28, 2014

By Clara Van Gerven


For all of you who attended, or were unable to attend but are interested in the talk Amy Mason and I gave on talking feature phones last week at the 29th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference (CSUN), I am posting the presentation slides for your information.


Let us know what you think!


Simple phones slide deck

My top four picks for Braille iDevice users in the books category

Blog Date: 
Thursday, March 27, 2014

By Scott Davert


In my previous article we looked at the top four app picks I have for users of Braille devices in the news category. Browsing the news is a wonderful thing that users, whether blind or deaf-blind, can do via Braille just fine; another is reading books. Over the past year, many book retailers have made their content accessible. However, some have distinct advantages over others in terms of Braille access. Continuing with the theme I started last time, here are my four picks for the book reading apps category for Braille users. The same disclaimer about this not being a list of all accessible apps and such still applies.

CSUN presentation: 3D printing

Blog Date: 
Monday, March 17, 2014

By Clara Van Gerven


For those of you who will attend, have attended, or are unable to attend but interested in the "3D Printing and 3D Creation for Tactile Graphics" talk I will be giving at the 29th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference (CSUN) this Friday, I am attaching the presentation slides and resource sheet for your reference.


Hope you find it useful!




Resource sheet

Top four picks for Braille users of iDevices

Blog Date: 
Tuesday, March 11, 2014

by Scott Davert