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

Are you free to communicate with this free app?

Blog Date: 
Monday, January 14, 2013

By Scott Davert
For quite some time, deaf-blind users of iDevices have been able to use face to face communication with the public through the notes app. This consists typically of an iDevice (iPod, iPad, or iPhone) paired with a Braille display and Bluetooth keyboard. The deaf-blind person can then type using the Braille input keys on their display, while the sighted and hearing person types on the Bluetooth keyboard. All text shows up on both the Braille display and the screen of the iDevice. Now, there is another app on the market geared toward this specific purpose.

Amazon, Why Do You Keep Burning Blind Readers?

Blog Date: 
Friday, December 7, 2012

By Amy Mason


According to ZDNet and Engadget the Kindle Fire will be getting Explore by Touch and Voice Guide to provide accessibility features to blind and visually impaired customers.  

Nook App for iOS

Blog Date: 
Wednesday, November 28, 2012

by Amy Mason


Barnes and Noble NOOK on iOS! Real, Usable Access to the Nook catalog for the First Time Ever! (at least mostly).  
The Barnes and Noble Nook app is Accessible to VoiceOver users on iOS!!!  Those of us who have been dancing impatiently in our chairs waiting for books to be made available that aren't presently offered on Blio or iBooks are understandably excited by this announcement.  It's been wending its way around Twitter all day.  It's the biggest news since all the Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Giving Tuesday tweets of the last week.  

Nook Tablet, the Sequel: The Plot Thickens

Blog Date: 
Friday, November 16, 2012

By Amy Mason and Clara Van Gerven


A note from Pearson Higher Education

Blog Date: 
Thursday, November 15, 2012

By Elaine Ober

Note from the editor: Accessibility in higher education is a critical issue, and Pearson has worked hard to address it - so make sure Elaine gets your feedback!

Dear Readers,
It is a pleasure to be writing this guest post for the NFB’s AT blog.  I’m Elaine Ober, and I’m part of Pearson’s Higher Education division ( In addition to working with our editorial teams on accessible content, I monitor an email mailbox specifically for college students and instructors who are blind or who have disabilities that impact access to our products —

Kindle Paperwhite

Blog Date: 
Wednesday, November 7, 2012

By Clara Van Gerven

The Kindle Paperwhite arrived here today, and my review will be very, very brief. Unsurprisingly enough, it’s completely inaccessible. Other than having adjustable fonts in the books (not the menus), the device has nothing to offer a low vision or blind reader. It’s a shame, as, unlike the Nook Tablet reviewed earlier, the Kindle Paperwhite is a simple, seamless experience packaged in nice, simple hardware. A real shame.

A Somewhat Scathing Review of the Nook HD

Blog Date: 
Tuesday, November 6, 2012

By Clara Van Gerven and Amy Mason

Microsoft Surface RT

Blog Date: 
Monday, November 5, 2012

By Amy Mason and Clara Van Gerven


So we decided it was time to try something new in the world of the Access Technology Blog.  That’s why, when we got our newest shiny in the mail we decided to do an official Unboxing Video.  The video really hits the highlights of our first impressions of the device, and gives you a glimpse at both the technology, and the people behind the blog, so we hope that you will give it a watch, but in case you are short on time, or just want a quick glance at the talking points and the highlights, we have a handy list of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of the new Microsoft Surface RT, but first…

In-flight wi-fi

Blog Date: 
Wednesday, October 17, 2012

by Scott Davert


In 2010, when I took a 3 hour flight from Detroit to Denver, I was told that wi-fi was available for a small fee during our flight. How cool would that be? I could browse my email on my laptop, send out some messages bragging of my ability to do this over social networks, check out what my friends were up to, and maybe even get some research done for a tech article I was writing. With a great degree of excitement, I connected to the wi-fi network and began to sign up process using my web browser. And then, at the end of the page, I found every Braille and screen access software user's least favorite part of using registering for services online: a CAPTCHA.