Tag Archives: How to

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, 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.

How to get high quality voices for VoiceOver on iOS7 devices

Apples iOS7 for mobile devices has been out for some time now and it has received some great reviews from the disabled community for its improved accessibility across its whole system. However, many visually impaired people (me included) were unimpressed by the voice used by VoiceOver. Basically the default voice for all iOS7 devices is the compact mobile version of British English Daniel. The compact voice takes up less space in the phone’s memory but sadly the sound quality in the opinion of most visually impaired users is very low compared to the high quality version of the same voice.

But fear not, as part of iOS7 Apple have not only given users the option to download and use the high quality version of the voice, but have also included several other voices which can be used either as compact versions or high quality versions.

As so many blind and visually impaired people that I know use iPhones, iPods or iPads I thought I would write this short guide on how to download and use the new voices available or simply change the default compact voice to the high quality version.

Here is what to do:

1. Go to Settings, then General, then Accessibility.

2. Go into VoiceOver then into the Languages and Dialects option.

3. Go into Default Dialect (it will say British English).

4. You will now have several different voices to choose from that you can download. These include American, Irish, Australian etc. Note that all of these voices are already on your device but they are all the compact versions. You can simply double tap on the voice you want and VoiceOver will use it as its default but remember it will be the compact version of that voice.

To get the High Quality version of any particular voice do the following:

1. Choose the voice you want and double tap it so the device is speaking in that voice.

2. Then beneath the different voice options you will find that there is a voice quality button. Double tap that button and your device will pop up with a warning that the high quality voice is a larger file and asks you if you want to continue. Obviously if you want the voice then double tap the ok/continue button. Your device will then download the High Quality version of the voice you have selected. This may take a couple of minutes so don’t panic if it does.

3. Once you’ve done this go back to the VoiceOver menu and there will now be a button called “use compact voice.” This toggles between switching the compact voice on and off. Switch it off and you will have the nice clear High Quality voice. Switch it on and you will have the compact voice.

I hope you have found this post useful. If you have, then please do share it with any visually impaired people who may benefit from it.

James Goldsworthy.

Founder, Alternate Visions Coaching.