Wednesday, September 17, 2014

New in iOS 8: Vastly Improved Zoom

In previous versions of iOS, zoom was only  a simple full screen magnification. With iOS 8, Apple has vastly improved zoom with partial screen window zoom, filters, and smarter magnification options. Zoom is a vital feature for people with low vision and its new features in iOS 8 makes it even more useful.

One of the most noticeable enhancements is the ability to magnify certain areas of the screen while leaving the rest of the screen unmagnified. As opposed to full screen zoom, the zoom lens allows for more easy navigation while still allowing certain important areas to be magnified. Users can change the size of the magnified area and pan around the screen in order to magnify different areas. An option is available to add a zoom control to the screen which acts like a virtual joystick for controlling which areas of the screen are magnified.Within the magnified area, users can apply filters to make viewing easier.  The filters available are inverse colors, greyscale, low light, and greyscale inverse.

As pictured above, iOS 8 allows users to choose not to magnify the keyboard. This can make typing on software keyboards much easier while still allowing the text being entered to be enlarged. When the keyboard is magnified some keys are cut off requiring panning to type, iOS 8 eliminates this problem. Zoom also includes the ability to follow the VoiceOver cursor focus. Meaning when the VoiceOver cursor is focused on an app or button, that app or button will be enlarged in the zoom window.

These new zoom options are just one of many exciting accessibility enhancements included in iOS 8. The improved zoom will benefit many users with visual impairments and is a huge improvement over zoom in iOS 7. To enable zoom go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Zoom. For more screenshots of zoom in action click read more below.

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