VoiceOver Improvements for SleepWatch


In our newest release of SleepWatch we introduce new accessibility for the visually impaired. Many users access products through Apple's built-in VoiceOver mechanism. If a product is not built with this modality in mind, many important details can be misrepresented or lost in the reading.

About SleepWatch Accessibility

At SleepWatch, we have many visually impaired users who have told us that we are a great App for their needs. We've always included descriptive text with our widgets for additional insight into the visual widgets used in SleepWatch. Members from the visually impaired community have asked for some additional minor improvements, but we decided to double down to accomplish as much as we could for them. With this release we aim to provide comprehensive accessibility throughout the most important parts of the App.

The visually impaired have their own unique sleep problems and so we are very interested in providing as much accessibility as we can.

For those who lack light perception, irregularities in circadian rhythm can present themselves. Light is used by the body to regulate melatonin and corticosteroid production, among other important functions. This population may have a strong desire to regulate sleep schedules and gain insight from sleep. By making SleepWatch accessible to the visually impaired, our aim is to help those who may have a strong use case for it.

The Details

To start with, we have corrected some of the layout and meta descriptions so that the App reads better on a line by line basis. For example, before our change, the voice over could begin with a row but leave it unfinished-jump down a line-and at some point come back to finish the original row. We have taken steps to address this and improve reading continuity.

Additionally, while our App has always included text to make it more readable, we wanted to overhaul the non-visual meta information in our tiles for voice over functionality. This means that you would now get to hear the title of the tile, such as “Total Sleep Time” and then the value, such as 8 hours; rather than vice versa. Additionally, we have added meta labels to buttons so that, for example, they read as "Monday, Tuesday," etc.; instead of just "button".

Going Forward

At SleepWatch, we hope to maintain the experience for the visually impaired over the long run. Our goal is to make the product more accessible for all.

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