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.