Tag Archives: Alternate Visions Coaching

Accessibility of the iStick for iOS

The iStick has been around for a couple of years now, it’s undoubtedly a great concept; after all we all want more storage capability on our iOS devices and many of us would love to be able to use memory sticks with them. But just how accessible is the iStick for those of us who use VoiceOver?

 

For those of you who are not aware of what an iStick is, it’s basically a very clever memory stick which enables you to store and/or transfer files from your Mac or PC to your iOS device or vice versa. The iStick has both a USB and a lightning connector and a sliding switch style button allows you to expose whichever one you need. At the moment the iStick is only compatible with iOS devices that use lightning connector charging cables, however there’s apparently something in the pipeline that will allow people with older devices to use them. Whether this will be an adaptor for the current iStick or take the form of a purpose built model is unknown. There are currently two models available – the iStick which is plastic, is a USB 2 device and gives you the option of 16 gigabytes, 32 gigabytes, 64 gigabytes or 128 gigabytes of storage capacity, and the iStick Pro which is aluminium, is a USB 3 device, gives you the option of 32 gigabytes, 64 gigabytes or 128 gigabytes of storage capacity and is more expensive. Both models come with a neat little keyring pouch to keep the iStick in which is a nice little feature.

 

To use either model you’ll need to install the free iStick app. I was particularly impressed that not only is the app free but a prompt pops up on your device when you first plug the iStick into it. The prompt allows you to go straight to the app store via a button where you can download and install the app.

 

So is it accessible to VoiceOver users? The short answer is yes, although there are a few things to be aware of which I’ve listed below.

 

1: Although not specifically an accessibility issue, protective cases for devices that have narrow holes surrounding the lightning port can stop the iStick from engaging with it enough to work, so you may simply have to remove the case from your device when using the iStick.

 

2: Once you’ve installed the iStick app it’s as simple as plugging the iStick into the lightning port of your iOS device. A couple of seconds later a dialog box will open telling you that the iStick wants to communicate with the iStick app installed on your device. All of the labels and buttons in the dialog box are accessible with VoiceOver. It gives you an ignore option along with an allow option so all you need to do is single finger double tap on the allow option button to open the iStick app and start using it.

 

3: Once you have the iStick app open and are on the home screen all but one of the buttons are labelled and are therefore fully accessible with VoiceOver. The button that’s not labelled is actually the Settings button and is found at the bottom of the screen just above the Home button. You can find an operating instructions guide in the settings area which is very useful.

 

4: You’ll find that very nearly all of the buttons throughout the app are labelled.  However, when in edit mode to delete, copy or move a file there are three buttons running along the bottom of the screen just above the Home button which are not labelled. From left to right these are the delete button, the copy button and the move button.

 

5: To move back to the previous screen when inside an app VoiceOver users are used to a “Back” button found at the top left corner of the screen. A button that has the same function is located in the same place in the iStick app, however it isn’t labelled in the same way. Instead it’s labelled according to the screen it takes you back to. For example, if you’re in the top level of the “iStick” area in the app the button found at the top left corner is labelled “Return” and takes you back to the iStick app home screen. If you’re in a folder full of mp3 files inside the iStick area of the app the button found at the top left corner is labelled “iStick” as it takes you back to the top level of the iStick area. Generally this isn’t a problem but it does take a little getting used to.

 

None of these things make the iStick unusable, in fact with a little playing around a VoiceOver user can become familiar with the app and benefit from using a great functional little device. I’ll certainly be recommending the iStick to clients who express the need for more capacity for their iOS devices.

 

Finding the right assistive technology for you

We live in a time in which disabilities such as sight loss are no longer as lonely and isolating as they once were. Some of this is due to more social awareness and acceptance of disabilities as a whole, but most is due to the technology that’s now available to everyday people like you and me. Over the last fifteen years technology has increasingly enabled those of us with varying degrees of visual impairment to become fully interactive with our peers, be they visually impaired or not.

 

As more assistive technology becomes available we’re faced with the challenge of finding what works well and suits our wants and needs. An added complication is that this technology by its very nature is not cheap, so we are often faced with potentially parting with a lot of money only to find that the piece of equipment or software we’ve bought doesn’t do what we really want it to. So how can you identify what’s going to be best for you?

 

In terms of Windows and Android devices, it’s relatively easy, particularly if you already own one, as pretty much all assistive technology software manufacturers offer some sort of free demo version of their software. Usually these demo versions last for a limited period of 30 days or so depending on which manufacturer it is. Not only are these demo versions often free, they are also available as downloads so you can install them straight away rather than having to wait for discs to be posted to you. The only slight draw back is that if you’re at the stage of looking for software to help you be able to use your computer or device, you’re likely to need a friend or family member to help you download and install the demos before you can try them out. The great thing about demo versions is that they allow you to try out the software for a decent period of time at your own pace rather than putting you on the spot to make a decision whilst at a shop etc.

 

In terms of Apple devices, it is even easier if you already own one. All modern Apple computers and devices have built in assistive technology that you don’t need to pay for which can simply be turned on so you can try it out. This is great as you can turn it on or off as many times as you like without being restricted by the time limitations of demo versions. If you don’t already own an Apple device but want to try one or several out, you can go into an Apple store and spend as long as you like doing so. The staff are very accommodating, however it is worth being aware that they may not have full knowledge of how their devices work for the visually impaired. Many stores do now have a learning specialist who should know all about their assistive technology capabilities, so it’s worth asking when you go into the store.

 

Two further ways of getting to try out software or devices is to go to events that have a variety of manufacturers all under one roof like Sight Village or the RNIB technology open event. These are good because you can speak to people about what the software or device does and in most cases actually try out a fully functioning version whilst there. More often than not you can also pick up demo discs to take home and install on your own computer. The only drawbacks with these sorts of events are that inevitably they’re extremely busy and loud and you never really get very long on the software or devices you are having a go on, so it can be rather frustrating. It can feel like complete information overload when moving around from manufacturer to manufacturer as well, but you can take away a lot of information which comes in handy when trying to remember what you’ve seen.

 

Another option is having somebody come out to your home with some examples of the devices or software you’re interested in. This is a good option if you’re less mobile and has the bonus of your being in a familiar environment in which you’re comfortable. This works well as you can ask plenty of questions, get your hands on the equipment and of course try it out without feeling rushed. You will often find that the person that visits you will also be able to leave you with demo versions of software if it’s software you’re looking at. You may be able to find an independent company that will come out to you, give you advice and demonstrate equipment from a variety of manufacturers based on what you want assistive technology to do for you rather than being biased towards a manufacturer they work for. There are several of us around the UK that offer this service, but even if having somebody out to your home doesn’t work for you, it’s always worth getting in touch, asking questions and getting some advice.

 

I often get asked what is the best device or software for visually impaired and blind people. Unfortunately there’s no right or wrong answer to that question. The fact of the matter is that there’s some brilliant technology out there that can help us do pretty much everything a sighted person can, but at the end of the day it comes down to what the individual’s wants and needs are as well as personal choice and budget. My best piece of advice would be to try out as many different devices or pieces of software as you can. Also, if you can speak to other visually impaired people who use assistive technology that’s no bad thing, as they have the day to day experience of using it. If you’re very lucky you may even find that they’ll let you have a go on their device or computer.

VoiceOver accessible iOS apps suitable for kids

As we all know there are literally thousands of third party apps out there for smart phones and tablets, but sadly very few of them are actually accessible to those of us who are visually impaired and rely on using screen reading technology to operate our devices, let alone ones that are good for kids. As I’m a VoiceOver specialist this blog focuses on apps useful and suitable for kids using Apple iOS devices, there are of course apps for Android devices too, but as I’m not a trainer for Android and don’t have specific knowledge about them I’m afraid I’m unable to give any meaningful advice or opinions about them. So, in the spirit of Christmas I’ve pulled together a list of 12 apps that are fully accessible with VoiceOver, are suitable for kids and that work well. I’ve tried to get together a reasonable mixture of apps that are useful, educational and fun, but that can also be used by kids and families alike. In the list below you’ll find the name of the app, a brief description of what it does as well as which devices and operating systems it will work with, its cost and finally a link to its page on the Apple iOS app store.

 

 

App name: Accessible Letter Soup.

Price: £0.79.

Description: Learn words and spelling with Accessible Letter Soup. Words can be found vertically, horizontally or diagonally. You can also choose the size of board and difficulty of words. There are lots of different categories of words to choose from including, animals, musical instruments, colours, professions and jobs, human body. Good for most ages, and particularly good for learning spellings as you can start easy and work your way up.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 7.0 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/nKih6.i

 

App name: Blindfold Bowling.

Price: Free with some in app purchases.

Description: A good app for all ages. In this game you can play on your own, with friends and family or against computer opponents. The game is fully accessible and relies purely on the player’s hearing. It has excellent sound effects as you hear yourself get strikes and half strikes along with frustrating gutter balls.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 7.0 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/xTC79.i

 

App name: Blindfold Hopper.

Price: Free with some in app purchases.

Description: A really fun game for younger kids, this game is audio only and is fully accessible. In the game the player is a frog trying to jump from lily pad to lily pad as they pass by. The further through the game the player gets the quicker the lily pads pass by. Lots of great sound effects of animals give this game a really nice feel. But don’t get too distracted, if you miss the lily pad and fall in you’ll get eaten by an alligator!

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 7.0 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at:  https://appsto.re/gb/8Ibq6.i

 

App name: Blindfold Simon.

Price: Free with some in app purchases.

Description: This is a great fun app for all ages. Really good for the memory and helping kids get used to gestures on the touch screen. Just like the game Simon Says, this app gives the player a sequence, touch screen gestures are then used to replicate the sequence. Each time a sequence is successfully replicated another gesture is added to the next sequence and so on. This app has 1 and 2 player modes. In 2 player mode the iOS device is passed from one player to the next each time a sequence is successfully passed.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 7.0 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at:  https://appsto.re/gb/h5VF7.i

 

App name: Blindfold Pong.

Price: Free with some in app purchases.

Description: Based on the classic arcade game Pong, this app is audio only and the player wears headphones to hear the direction that the ball or balls are travelling. The app uses the gyroscope built into the iOS device to determine when the player is swinging the bat (the phone or iPod) to hit the ball. It has progressive levels that get harder and harder the further you get. Good fun for all ages and also great for developing motor skills.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 7.0 or later. However, it is rather difficult to play the game on an iPad due to the device size.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/UjqE7.i

 

App name: Braille Reference.

Price: £0.79.

Description: A great app for kids learning braille or for those who don’t use it very often. The app has over 250 braille symbols and contractions that can be easily looked up for reference. The app is fully accessible with VoiceOver and a great tool to have in your bag or pocket if you’re a braille user.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 6.1 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/TwoZE.i

 

App name: Chime.

Price: Free.

Description: This is a great little app that enables your iOS device to make quarterly, half hourly or hourly time announcements. You can choose between several different sounds and two voices for the announcements. It’s a very useful app and is fully accessible with VoiceOver.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 7.0 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/c5CUy.i

 

App name: Double Post.

Price: Free with an optional in app upgrade purchase.

Description: A great app for older kids who have their own Facebook and/or Twitter accounts, it enables you to post to both simultaneously very quickly and easily as well as adding photos etc. It is fully accessible with VoiceOver and even works with AppleWatch.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 8.0 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/IhXdN.i

 

App name: JumpInSaucers.

Price: Free, there is also a paid version of the game that you can purchase.

Description: This is a game developed by parents of visually impaired children initially to allow their kids to play with their siblings. The game is an alien shoot ‘em up that utilises the iOS device’s gyroscope to allow the player to control the character. It’s fully accessible and suitable for all ages. It has good sound effects and interesting alien noises. This app is also available for Android devices on Google Play.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 6.0 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/kRB54.i

 

App name: Listerine Smile Detector.

Price: Free.

Description: This is a lovely fun little app that enables visually impaired and blind kids to see when people are smiling at them. The app is supported by the RNIB, is fully accessible with VoiceOver and also has built in magnification. The app can use the front or rear facing cameras and makes sounds or vibrates when a smile is detected. I think this is a really nice app that was created for all the right reasons.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 7.1 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/K-KV8.i

 

App name: Pages.

Price: Free.

Description: Pages is actually an Apple app and is fully accessible with VoiceOver. It’s a powerful word processing app that enables you to create, edit, read and save documents in multiple formats including Microsoft Word and PDF. It’s great for general word processing and good for school work as it offers a large selection of pre loaded documents templates for things like reports, posters, flyers, CVs, letters etc as well as enabling you to create your own unique documents. This app is fully accessible when using the touch screen on devices but it becomes even more viable as a tool for school work when a bluetooth keyboard is used with the iOS device.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 8.4 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/EysIv.i

 

App name: Spelling Bee.

Price: Free with some in app purchases.

Description: A fully accessible spelling app great for improving kids’ spelling. The app comes with 1,000 pre loaded spelling tests organised into different difficulty levels. The spelling tests are made into games to help kids enjoy doing them. This app is aimed at children aged 9 to 11 years.

Devices this app is suitable for: iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 6.0 or later.

Get the app in the iOS app store at: https://appsto.re/gb/lqQY0.i

 

 

This blog has made me think about doing the occasional article about apps that I find to be accessible and useful, so watch this space for future instalments.

How to slow down the double tap speed when using VoiceOver on devices running iOS 9.1

I’ve been waiting for the option to slow down the speed of double tapping when using VoiceOver for quite some time and now with iOS 9.1 it is here!

 

Several of my clients struggle with the speed at which they previously had to single finger double tap the screen to activate buttons, open apps, open links etc, not to mention two finger double tapping to answer or end calls coming in on their iPhones. I’m really pleased that Apple have made this option available as I think it will make the devices that we know and love that little bit more accessible to those who experience difficulty with their dexterity or who simply can’t double tap quite as quickly as other people.

 

You must have iOS 9.1 installed on each of the devices you wish to slow the double tap speed on for this to work. The steps below are exactly the same for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The slowed down speed also works when two finger double tapping to answer or end calls on the iPhone.

 

Step 1: Go to settings.

 

Step 2: Go to General.

 

Step 3: Go to Accessibility.

 

Step 4: Go into the VoiceOver area of Accessibility settings.

 

Step 5: Scroll the screen up as the setting you are looking for is off the bottom of the screen. You are looking for something that says “Double tap time out.” Go into it.

 

Step 6: You will now be presented with a text box that displays 0.25 seconds.  This is the amount of time allowed by VoiceOver so that two taps in quick succession are recognised by the device as a double tap to open apps, click on buttons etc.

 

Delete the numbers out of the text box and type in 0.50, this is the new speed that two taps in succession will be recognised by the device as a double tap.

 

Step 7: Now you’ve done this you can simply return to the main settings screen by repeatedly using the “Back” button found at the top left corner of the screen then pressing and releasing the home button in the bottom centre of the device to return to the home screen.

 

 

Note that you can only increase the time to 0.50 seconds. Although this doesn’t sound very much it is surprising how much extra time it gives you to execute that all important double tap. It is effectively doubling the amount of time previously required to do so.

 

Give it a try and see what you think.

Tick tock, my Apple Watch experience, using the Friends button on Apple Watch 2.0

Using the Friends button on the Apple Watch:

 

This blog post refers to Apple Watches running Apple Watch 2.0 software.

 

Easily one of the best features of the Apple Watch is the ability to access contacts quickly and make calls using the watch itself. There’s something wonderfully sci fi about talking at your wrist and having a two way conversation through it.

 

One of the easiest and quickest ways to get to some of your favourite contacts is to use the Friends button found below the Digital crown on the right side of the watch. This function is really useful as you can choose up to 12 people from your contacts list on your iPhone to create something called the ‘Friends Circle’ on your watch. To create your friends Circle do the following:

 

HOT TIP: First go to the Contacts setting in the Apple Watch app and make sure that ‘Mirror my iPhone’ is selected. This will mean that your entire contacts list from your iPhone will also be available on your Apple Watch. It will also mean that any contacts on your iPhone contacts list that are blocked will also be blocked on your Apple Watch.

 

1. Go to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and go to Friends.

 

2. Once in the Friends setting area you will be presented with 12 spaces in which to add contacts of your choosing. The way Apple have done this is very clever and very easy for those of us who are blind or visually impaired to imagine. Basically the screen displays a list laid out as a watch face numbered 1 to 12 going around in a clockwise direction. It displays, “Add friend, 12 o’clock on friends circle”, “Add friend, 1 o’clock on friends circle” and so on until all 12 hour positions on a clock face are accounted for.

 

3. Single finger double tap on the clock face position you want to add a contact to.

 

4. Your contacts list will open on your iPhone to allow you to select who to add. Simply find the person you want and single finger double tap on their name. That person will then be added to the Friends Circle position you selected.

 

It is in theory possible to reorder the contacts around the clock face in your friends circle, however I have found it very awkward to do as it is no longer as simple as moving the contact up or down a list as it was in Apple Watch 1.1. In Apple Watch 2.0 VoiceOver will tell you to swipe up or down to reorder the person when you highlight their name with your finger tip. In practice this is very difficult to achieve as VoiceOver doesn’t seem to recognise what your doing. My best piece of advice regarding this would be to add the person in the clock face position you want them in the first place to avoid having to try and reorder them. This is a shame because I think the method of doing this in Apple Watch 1.1 was far more user friendly for those of us using VoiceOver.

 

Deleting contacts from your friends circle has also changed in Apple Watch 2.0. I’ve found that the easiest way to remove contacts is to do the following:

 

1. Single finger double tap the contact name and a Remove button is announced by VoiceOver.

 

2. Single finger double tap anywhere on the screen to activate the Remove button.

 

3. An alert will pop up and will be announced by VoiceOver displaying a Remove Friend button and a Cancel button. Single finger left or right swipe on the screen to navigate to the button you wish to use and then single finger double tap anywhere on the screen to activate it. If you activate the Remove Friend button then obviously the contact you selected will be removed. The contact will be removed from your Friends Circle but will remain in your iPhone contacts list. If you activate the Cancel button the contact will not be removed and you will be returned to your Friends Circle screen.

 

4. Repeat steps 1, 2 and 3 for each contact you wish to delete from your Friends Circle. Then, once you’ve finished single finger double tap the My Watch button found at the top left corner of the screen under your phone’s cellular signal display.

 

 

Now you’ve created your Friends Circle here is how you can use it .

 

1. Press and release the Friends button on your Apple Watch to display your Friends Circle.

 

2. Use Digital Crown Navigation or a finger tip on the Apple Watch screen to move around the names of contacts in the Friends Circle.

 

3. Single finger double tap on the name button of the person you want to call or message. A new screen will be displayed giving you options to call, message, digital touch or send a tap. Note that the digital touch/tap option button will be greyed out/dimmed if the person does not have an Apple Watch.

 

4. Use Digital Crown Navigation or a fingertip on the screen to move around the option buttons and do the following :

 

Single finger double tap on the person’s name button to send a digital touch.

 

Single finger triple tap on the person’s name button to send a tap.

 

Single finger double tap on the Phone button to call the person.

 

Single finger double tap on the Message button to send the person a message.

 

You can also single finger double tap on the Back button found at the top left of the screen to return you to your Friends Circle list.

 

5. If you wish to switch your Apple Watch off, press and hold the Friends button for 2 seconds. A new screen will then be displayed giving you 4 options. You can single finger swipe left or right to find Cancel, Power off, Power reserve and Lock device buttons. Simply single finger double tap on the button for the action you want to perform.

 

6. To switch your Apple Watch on, press and hold the Friends button for 2 seconds. The watch will take approximately 90 seconds to boot up. It will then ask you to enter your watch passcode.

 

 

In my next blog I will be talking about adding and removing third party apps from the Apple Watch.

Tick tock, my Apple Watch experience, using the Friends button on the Apple Watch

Using the Friends button on the Apple Watch:

 

This blog post refers to Apple Watches running Apple Watch 1.1 software.

 

Easily one of the best features of the Apple Watch is the ability to access contacts quickly and make calls using the watch itself. There’s something wonderfully sci fi about talking at your wrist and having a two way conversation through it.

 

One of the easiest and quickest ways to get to some of your favourite contacts is to use the Friends button found below the Digital crown on the right side of the watch. This function is really useful as you can choose up to 12 people from your contacts list on your iPhone to create something called the ‘Friends Circle’ on your watch. To create your friends Circle do the following:

 

HOT TIP: First go to the Contacts setting in the Apple Watch app and make sure that ‘Mirror my iPhone’ is selected. This will mean that your entire contacts list from your iPhone will also be available on your Apple Watch. It will also mean that any contacts on your iPhone contacts list that are blocked will also be blocked on your Apple Watch.

 

1. Go to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and go to Friends.

 

2. Once in the Friends setting area you will be presented with 12 spaces in which to add contacts of your choosing. The way Apple have done this is very clever and very easy for those of us who are blind or visually impaired to imagine. Basically the screen displays a list numbered 1 to 12 and starting from the top going down the list it displays, “Add friend, 12 o’clock on friends circle”, “Add friend, 1 o’clock on friends circle” and so on until all 12 hour positions on a metaphorical clock face are accounted for.

 

3. Single finger double tap on the clock face position you want to add a contact to. Note that you can reorder the position of contacts in your Friends Circle once you’ve filled some or all of the available spaces.

 

4. Your contacts list will open on your iPhone to allow you to select who to add. Simply find the person you want and single finger double tap on their name. That person will then be added to the Friends Circle position you selected.

 

To reorder contacts that you’ve added to your Friends Circle do the following:

 

1. When in the Friends screen in the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, single finger double tap on the Edit button found at the top right corner of the screen under your phone’s battery percentage display.

 

2. There will now be a “reorder” button down the right side of the screen next to each contact you’ve added to your Friends Circle. Single finger double tap and hold on the reorder button next to the contact you wish to move and wait for the popping sound.

 

3. Now move your finger up or down the list. VoiceOver will announce where you are moving the contact to. For example “Moved above Bob” or “Moved below Sarah”.

 

4. Lift your finger off the screen and repeat step 3 for each contact you wish to reorder.

 

5. Once you’ve finished single finger double tap on the Done button found at the top right corner of the screen under your phone’s battery percentage display.

 

To delete contacts from your Friends Circle do the following:

 

1. When in the Friends screen in the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, single finger double tap on the Edit button found at the top right corner of the screen under your phone’s battery percentage display.

 

2. There will now be a “Delete” button down the left side of the screen just after the name of each contact you’ve added to your Friends Circle. Single finger double tap on the delete button.

 

3. A “Remove”  button will now appear on the right side of the screen next to the contact you selected the delete button on. Single finger double tap the Remove button and the contact will be removed from your Friends Circle but will remain in your iPhone contacts list.

 

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for each contact you wish to delete from your Friends Circle. Then, once you’ve finished single finger double tap the Done button found at the top right corner of the screen under your phone’s battery percentage display.

 

Now you’ve created your Friends Circle here is how you can use it .

 

1. Press and release the Friends button on your Apple Watch to display your Friends Circle.

 

2. Use Digital Crown Navigation or a finger tip on the Apple Watch screen to move around the names of contacts in the Friends Circle.

 

3. Single finger double tap on the name button of the person you want to call or message. A new screen will be displayed giving you options to call, message, digital touch or send a tap. Note that the digital touch/tap option button will be greyed out/dimmed if the person does not have an Apple Watch.

 

4. Use Digital Crown Navigation or a fingertip on the screen to move around the option buttons and do the following :

 

Single finger double tap on the person’s name button to send a digital touch.

 

Single finger triple tap on the person’s name button to send a tap.

 

Single finger double tap on the Phone button to call the person.

 

Single finger double tap on the Message button to send the person a message.

 

You can also single finger double tap on the Back button found at the top left of the screen to return you to your Friends Circle list.

 

5. If you wish to switch your Apple Watch off, press and hold the Friends button for 2 seconds. A new screen will then be displayed giving you 4 options. You can single finger swipe left or right to find Cancel, Power off, Power reserve and Lock device buttons. Simply single finger double tap on the button for the action you want to perform.

 

6. To switch your Apple Watch on, press and hold the Friends button for 2 seconds. The watch will take approximately 90 seconds to boot up. It will then ask you to enter your watch passcode.

 

 

In my next blog I will be talking about adding and removing third party apps from the Apple Watch.

Tick Tock, my Apple Watch experience, VoiceOver gestures and glances/notification navigation

13th July: VoiceOver gestures, Glances and Notifications navigation.

 

Once your Apple Watch basic set up is done you will of course need to know how to navigate around the watch to find things and generally use it. What I will say here is that the Apple Watch is very very accessible with VoiceOver but it does take a little getting used to as the screen is so much smaller. Luckily Apple have managed to make the watch give you relevant information on screen without bombarding you with so much stuff that you simply can’t interact with the thing! I really think this is to their credit. With some very simple and in most cases familiar gestures VoiceOver users can use the full range of available features on the watch. Add to that the awesome Digital Crown navigation function and we are at no real disadvantage in using the watch compared to sighted users.

 

First I thought I’d share with you the gestures you’ll need to navigate around the touch screen. In the list below I’ve stated the gesture followed by what it does.

 

Single finger single tap on the screen: Wakes the watch up.

 

Drag one finger onto an item: Selects the item and VoiceOver reads the item out.

 

Single finger double tap on a selected item: Activates or opens that item.

 

Single finger swipe from left to right: Jumps to next item.

 

Single finger swipe from right to left: Jumps to previous item.

Two finger swipe up: Opens glances.

 

Two finger swipe down: opens notifications.

 

 

Two finger swipe from left to right: Moves you backwards through glances.

 

Two finger swipe from right to left: Moves you forwards through glances.

 

Single finger double tap and deep press on watch face screen: Opens watch faces selection screen.

 

Single finger double tap and deep press within apps, glances or notifications: Opens additional options such as delete, clear all, mark as read etc.

 

Two finger double tap, hold and swipe up: Increases volume of VoiceOver.

 

Two finger double tap, hold and swipe down: Decreases volume of VoiceOver.

 

Two finger triple tap: Toggles Digital Crown navigation on and off.

 

Lay palm of hand over entire watch screen for three seconds: Mutes notifications and ringer so you only get haptic feedback on the wrist; this is assuming that you have haptic feedback switched on in your settings.

 

Single finger single tap then say “Hey Siri”: Allows you to ask Siri a question or give Siri a command. For example, single finger single tap on the screen and say “Hey Siri open mail.” This is assuming that you have Siri enabled in your settings.

 

 

For completeness I thought I’d also list the functions of the Digital Crown and Friends button for you below.

 

Single press and release on the Digital Crown: Wakes the watch up. In addition it toggles you between the watch face screen and home screen. It also returns you to your home screen if you are in an app.

 

Press and hold the Digital Crown: Allows you to ask Siri a question or give Siri a command. This is assuming that you have Siri enabled in your settings.

 

Press and release the Digital Crown twice in quick succession: Opens the last visited app.

 

Press and release the Digital Crown three times in quick succession: Toggles VoiceOver on and off. This is assuming you’ve set the accessibility shortcut in the Apple Watch app on your iPhone to VoiceOver.

 

Turning the Digital Crown towards you with Digital Crown navigation function switched on: Moves you to the next item on screen.

 

Turning the Digital Crown away from you with the Digital Crown navigation function switched on: Moves you to the previous item on screen.

 

Turning the Digital Crown towards you with the Digital Crown navigation function switched off: Decreases volume of media when on media player screen.

 

Turning the Digital Crown away from you with the Digital Crown navigation function switched off: Increases volume of media when on media player screen.

 

Press and release Friends button: Opens list of favourites from contacts.

 

Press and hold Friends button for two seconds: Switches Apple Watch on or off. Note that when switching the Apple Watch on the watch takes approximately 90 seconds to boot up.

 

 

So, that gives you an idea of how you will interact with your Apple Watch and get around it. I found that before I started playing with watch faces etc it was useful to get used to these gestures and controls. I highly recommend that you try out the Digital Crown navigation function and switching it on and off as this will really enhance your experience of using your watch.

 

 

In my next blog post I’ll talk about watch faces, complications and what they are, as well as how to add complications to your chosen watch face.