Profile highlights blind Apple engineer working on accessibility tech

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A profile published on Sunday details the experiences and work of Jordyn Castor, a blind Apple engineer now developing technologies like VoiceOver with company's accessibility design and quality team.

Castor has been blind since birth, but growing up, was encouraged by adults to experiment with gadgets like computers in spite of the steeper learning curve, according to Mashhable. She received an iPad for her 17th birthday, and says she was impressed by the fact she could use it out of the box, unlike other electronics which can sometimes require expensive add-ons or software for people with disabilities.

She eventually went to Michigan State University, and was hired as an intern at Apple following a 2015 job fair in Minneapolis. That internship turned into her current full-time position.

Castor notes that she programs using a combination of alphabetic and Nemeth (mathematical) Braille, and actually prefers Braille when reading meeting agendas as well, since she can "see" the grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Nevertheless she uses VoiceOver alone to navigate devices.

Some of her more recent work includes adding accessibility support for Swift Playgrounds, Apple's iPad-based code learning app.

Apple is planning to further improve accessibility features in OS updates due this fall. watchOS 3, for example, will be able to tell time through vibrations on an Apple Watch, and the arrival of Siri in macOS Sierra should expand Mac voice commands.

 

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