As a Mac user with sight loss, your Mac requires little in the way of external apps to make it run well. VoiceOver—the Mac’s built-in screen reader—makes everyday computing tasks easy, quick and efficient. There are third party apps however that can help you get more done, provide more information and make your Mac a hub of accessible information and functionality.
1. News Explorer
We live in an info-rich world. Quick and easy access to that information can make you more productive. News Explorer is a full-featured yet easy-to-use RSS, JSON, Atom and Twitter newsreader with iCloud based syncing between Apple devices. RSS stands for really simple syndication and setting up feeds in this news reader and Twitter client with VoiceOver couldn’t be simpler. The app is fully accessible with VoiceOver and integrates easily with iCloud, so there are no extra accounts to set up. Subscribe to RSS feeds from your favourite blogs or news sites, or follow your favourite Twitter feeds all from within the app. You can even reply and retweet from within News Explorer. In addition to full support for VoiceOver, the app has a host of keyboard shortcuts that makes using the app very snappy. This light-weight app has been developed to run natively on M1 Macs and is affordable at a one-time price of $11.99.
Virtual private network or VPN apps hide your IP address from nosy websites and malicious actors on a network. NordVPN is a must have if you are using your MacBook in a school, a coffee shop, airport or other public wi-fi location. The app is free, but you pay for the service. After installing NordVPN, you will be asked to update your network configurations. Enter your Mac password to do this and you’re set up. In the app itself, you’ll find an accessible table where you can select your desired country. This will mask your IP. NordVPN is very accessible with VoiceOver and just sits in the background while it’s working. There are even quick actions from the dock that let you connect to the most recent servers and pause the connection for times you need to use your native IP address.
Honey is a must have app for anyone who does online shopping. This Safari extension automatically locates and applies discount codes to online shopping carts. The extension sits in the Safari toolbar until needed. When you’re ready to check out, activate the Honey button and Honey does the rest. VoiceOver users will hear Honey try different discount codes until they get a successful match. Honey is free, light-weight and accessible through their website and Safari extension.
If Apple made a native Twitter client, it would be Twitterrific. This app has been built with the macOS user interface in mind. In addition to being fully VoiceOver compatible, the app lets you follow specific Twitter users, hash tags or trends and use lots of convenient keyboard shortcuts to speed up your time in the app. Twitterrific is free, light-weight and has native M1 support. Run multiple accounts, see your likes or browse in full screen mode. This is a must have for the Twitter junky, social media manager or news hound.
Those are just a few of our favorite mac apps for blind or visually impaired. These VoiceOver accessible and battery-friendly apps can make your Mac informative, fun and safe. Some are free, while others require an outlay of cash up front. Is your favorite app not here? Drop a comment and let us know.
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