When training visually impaired individuals on iOS devices that are running VoiceOver I often find that many of them have the same frustrations in using their devices. Most commonly these are struggling with using the hand gestures, getting frustrated with not being able to type quickly when emailing or sending messages and not liking to use dictation due to its occasional inaccuracy. Using a Bluetooth keyboard with an iOS device can help greatly in alleviating these frustrations. I often take my own along with me so they can try it out and see the benefits. Nine out of ten decide to purchase a Bluetooth keyboard once they’ve tried one out and I believe that many more visually impaired people could get a great deal more practical use out of their iOS devices if they were to use one too.
So, below I have created a list of my top 5 benefits of using a Bluetooth keyboard with your iOS device if you are visually impaired and running VoiceOver.
1. If you are not a fan of using dictation or find using the virtual keyboard very slow, using a Bluetooth keyboard makes typing text much easier, faster and more accurate.
2. General navigation of the iOS device is very easy using a Bluetooth keyboard and using features like the rota are made much easier without the need for hand gestures that can sometimes be awkward to execute.
3. All VoiceOver accessible apps remain accessible when using a Bluetooth keyboard. In many instances the apps are easier to use as a result.
4. You can use a Bluetooth keyboard with more than one iOS device. By pairing a Bluetooth keyboard with all of your iOS devices you can really use them to their full potential. It is as easy as switching the Bluetooth setting on/off on each device to use the Bluetooth keyboard from one device to the next.
5. Using a Bluetooth keyboard with something like an iPad or iPhone enables you to access all of the features on the iOS device when you’re on the move without the need to carry around a bulky or heavy laptop. A Bluetooth keyboard is compact and light enough to fit in a small satchel bag/handbag along with an iPad for example. This makes purchasing a Bluetooth keyboard to use with your iOS device an affordable alternative to buying a laptop. This is particularly the case if you use a desktop or MacBook/Laptop at home with free apps like Pages, Dropbox etc and they are also used on the iOS device as productivity can be maximised.