Xcode 4.2 Provides Enhanced Accessibility with VoiceOver

Among the avalanche of updates released by Apple this week was a new version of Xcode. The latest changes to Apple’s integrated development environment for Mac OS X and iOS includes vast improvements to access for VoiceOver users.

In general, Apple has taken an approach to Xcode which mirrors that which they employed in making GarageBand accessible. Due to the complex nature of the user interface, the app has been divided into major sections which VoiceOver calls "groups". This makes understanding and navigating the myriad of controls, settings, and features with VoiceOver a vastly improved experience.

While more workable now than in the past, the Interface Builder portion of Xcode still provides some challenges. However, thanks to recent improvements, it is now possible to construct a UI with VoiceOver, though it is still not an ideal workflow. It should be noted, though, that with the increased popularity of both Mac OS X and the iOS operating systems, more information is readily available for building UI’s via code, which may prove to be the more efficient method for some visually impaired developers.