Want to see something neat to start off your day? How about a Siri RSS reader?
RSS readers, as most readers will be aware, are great at aggregating news headlines from a variety of different websites that get updated throughout the day. While they’re useful tools, they’re less than ideal for blind or partially sighted users, however.
With that in mind, one blind Redditor recently announced that they were posting a $1,000 bounty for any developer who could create a jailbreak tweak capable of not only keeping track of RSS feeds, but also getting Siri to read them out loud.
“I want to be able to add feeds and say ‘Hey Siri reed my feeds/news’ and she should say ‘1. Blah blah blah, 2. Blah blah blah,’ wrote user devraps. “[I want Siri to add] a digit to each feed’s post as it is read, so I can then say ‘Hey Siri, read RSS 1 / read RSS 16’ or ‘read feeds starting at 10’ so I don’t need to hear them from beginning.”
In addition to the $1,000 payment, devraps noted that they would have no problem with the successful developer then selling the tweak on Cydia.
Developer Philip Tennen came to the rescue by creating a jailbreak tweak called Sireader, which he posted a video of online. While it’s certainly still a work-in-progress, it’s great news for all of us who use RSS on a regular basis. Even for non-blind users, the idea of being able to have Siri as your personal RSS feed newsreader on car journeys would be transformative.
Although it’s for jailbroken iPhones only, it’s also another great, positive move toward making Apple devices accessible to blind users.
In its official products, Apple has been very proactive in this area. Last year it was praised for its work by Mark A. Riccobono, president of the National Federation of the Blind, who said, “Apple has done more for accessibility than any other company to date.”