iOS 9 ja näkövammaiset – Avoin kirje Applelle

Yhdessä Näkövammaisten Keskusliitto ry:n kanssa laadittu avoin kirje Applelle iOS-käyttöjärjestelmän ongelmista näkövammaisille.

Problems: VoiceOver + Finnish language

Dear accessibility team,

The visually impaired users of Apple iOS devices in Finland are having severe difficulties when using their devices because of language-specific problems with VoiceOver. Many users have given feedback on these issues to Apple but many users who can’t write in English only share their frustration with their peers and organizations of the visually impaired in Finland.

Last April the Apple office in Finland kindly recorded and sent to you a video demonstrating the issues described below.

The undersigned organisations, representing users of Apple products in Finland, would like to stress that the issues described below call for a concrete commitment from Apple to make the mobile devices thoroughly accessible and provide VoiceOver users a good user experience. Our concern is that if no action is taken to remove these barriers, much of the enormous potential mobile devices offer to screenreader users shall not realise in the Finnish market.


Finnish language is pronounced to a high extent the same way as it is spelled. Right now Finnish TTS Satu has a long list of abbreviations that it’s trying to interpret into words. This causes conflicts, because in many circumstances one abbreviation (e.g.. ”pv.”) has multiple meanings depending on its context. From a Finnish point of view, the best solution would be to turn off interpretations of abbreviations altogether.

Also, there are problems with vewel and consonant pronunciation. Some vowels are pronounced double-long when they should not (uni / uuni = sleep / owen), some times double consonants are handled as abbreviations, ( specifically when they are in conjunction with scandinavian letters (å,ä,ö) such as in hyökkäys, tökkäys, räväkkä. This results the VO reading ”hyö kuukautta äys” and ”tö kuukautta äys”.

This problem has existed for years, but our biggest concern is that iOS upgrades, rather than bringing improvements, seem to make the speech even worse.


For those using iOS devices with a braille display, having a correct Finnish 8-dot braille table would be essential. Right now a lot of characters are presented with incorrect dot combinations.


At the moment, scandinavian letters (ä ö å) are not being recognized in the handwriting mode, which significantly reduces the usability of an otherwise very practical input method.

The Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired would be happy to support the necessary modifications by involving non-English speaking blind users for the evaluation of the Finnish speech and braille functionalities.

We look forward to receiveing your confirmation on commitment to better serve the Finnish screenreader users of mobile devices.

The Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired

Teuvo Heikkonen
Director, Access to Information

Iiro Nummela
Service manager

Apple User Group Finland

Anni Pohjavirta

Apple-käyttäjät ry

Apple User Group Finland