Today I’m working with a client on accessible ways to manage his website. So, I’m spending some time showing him the Mars Edit app for the Mac. As part of the session we have posted this blog entry.
A couple of months ago I posted that Steve Bennett from Dolphin Computer Access and I were interviewed on RNIB’s Tech Talk radio show. On the show Steve and I talk about some of Dolphin’s products, specifically SuperNova, Guide, EasyReader app for iOS and Android and the new Reader Pod. The show is now available to listen to at the following link:
It’s been an exciting day for AVC today. I was invited to take part in a radio interview for RNIB Tech Talk to speak about Dolphin products. The interview featured the show’s presenter, Steven Scott, talking to Dolphin’s Chief Operations Officer, Steve Bennett, and me as both a user of Dolphin products and an accredited trainer on SuperNova and Guide.
The show lasts for around 30 minutes in which we talk about the different assistive technology products available from Dolphin, our various experiences of assistive technology in general and address some misconceptions, in particular regarding what SuperNova and Guide can or cannot do.
It was a really interesting experience and was actually quite fun. The show is due to go out on air in a couple of weeks time. I will of course post confirmation of the date and time once I know them.
Have been working with two clients today on #VoiceOver for #iOS. Very different requirements from the two of them. One very focused on wanting to be socially active with the use of email, txt messaging, some word processing and some #Facebook use. The other purely focused on accessing audio books and ebooks through #Audible and #DolphinEasyReader as well as using her device for assisting in day to day living. So we’ve done some work around using the built in magnifier app on her device and utilising several of the features in #SeeingAI as well. For me this really helps highlight just how useful an iOS device with a couple of apps installed can be to a person with sight loss. I think it clearly demonstrates that people can have such different requirements for their tech yet still have that ever present goal of remaining as independent as possible. I love my job.
This is just a short post about reading Amazon Kindle books. A lot of people think that you have to own a Kindle to be able to read Amazon Kindle books and are therefore put off of buying and reading some of the thousands of great titles that are available in Kindle ebook format. So let’s clear this up……no, you don’t have to own a Kindle to read Amazon Kindle ebooks at all. In fact if you have a smart phone, tablet, Mac or Windows PC you can read them through the Kindle app. The app is free and is available from your app store on your chosen device. Simply download and install the app then sign into it with your Amazon user name and password. Once you’ve done this you’ll have access to all of the Kindle books you’ve ever bought and will ever buy. You can quickly and easily download books and read them on any device which you have the app installed on. It’s a real shame that more people don’t realise that the Kindle app is available for pretty much every operating system, I do believe a lot more people would enjoy reading a greater variety of book genres and try out many more authors if they knew that reading a Kindle book is so easy.
A note for VoiceOver users on Apple devices; the Kindle app on Mac OS is not very accessible at all and is therefore not very usable. However, the Kindle app on iOS is fully accessible with VoiceOver, in fact it’s a really excellent and usable app.
Okay, time for a shameless plug. As some of you know I published my first short book for kids last year. Well, I’ve recently released a new book. This one isn’t for kids but is a book of poetry called The Edge of Darkness. I’ve added the links to each of my books below. Please do take a look and if you buy a copy and read it, do feel free to leave a review on Amazon. I would be immensely grateful and you never know, you might even like what you read.
The Adventures of Larry the Stick Insect; Larry the Dancing King: http://amzn.to/2aee5an
Parents and grandparents don’t forget, you can follow Larry on Facebook on: http://www.facebook.com/Adventuresoflarryofficial
You can also follow Larry on his very own Twitter page on: @larrythestick1
For general updates and other news about my books you can follow my author Facebook page on https://www.facebook.com/jamesgoldsworthyauthor/
And follow me on Twitter on @authorjgolds
I’ve recently released a book of poetry. As some of you may know I am blind and work with visually impaired adults and children as an assistive technology trainer/coach. In the interest of making my book as accessible as possible I’ve published it on Amazon Kindle so it can be read by visually impaired and sighted people alike on any device with the Kindle app installed on it.
So what’s the book called and what’s it about? It’s called The Edge of Darkness and is a book of poetry presented in two collections. The first collection contains pieces I wrote during my journey through sight loss. This first collection starts off rather dark (no pun intended) but gradually becomes less so as I begin to come to terms with my situation. The second collection is made up of individual pieces that I wrote for a variety of reasons. Some because of my love of sci-fi and fantasy, some because of historic events, some because of personal experiences and some just because I wanted to.
The book can be purchased on the Amazon Kindle store at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071RN8DL7/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493327228&sr=8-1&keywords=james+goldsworthy+the+edge+of+darkness
You can watch a video of me talking about the book, why I wrote it and answering some questions about it at: https://www.facebook.com/jamesgoldsworthyauthor/videos/1880692925546064/
You can follow me on my Facebook author page on: https://www.facebook.com/jamesgoldsworthyauthor/
You can also follow me on Twitter on: @authorjgolds
I’ve recently finished writing my new book of poetry. The book is called The Edge of Darkness and is released on Amazon Kindle on 28th April 2017 in the UK and 29th April 2017 outside the UK.
Yesterday evening I recorded a Facebook Live video in which I talk about the book, what it’s about, why I wrote it as well as answering some questions that I’ve been asked about it. So if you’re on Facebook please feel free to click on the link below to watch the video and find out more about the book.
Wishing you all a great Easter weekend.
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.
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.
Using Siri on the Apple Watch.
Love it or hate it Siri is one of the many reasons that so many visually impaired and blind people buy iOS devices. Although sometimes Siri can be a pain in the backside if it doesn’t understand what you’ve asked it or occasionally gets words wrong when dictating emails or texts, the fact remains that the majority of the time it makes things quick and easy.
The Apple Watch incorporates Siri and as a result many of the things we are familiar with using it for on our iPhones, iPads and iPods are also possible on the watch. There are some differences of course, mainly in the way that the watch communicates to us through Siri, but in most cases it’s possible to make Siri work effectively for us.
The most noticeable difference is that Siri doesn’t speak as he/she does on iOS devices. Instead the response appears on the screen of the watch and the wearer either drags their finger around to have the VoiceOver voice read the content or uses Digital Crown Navigation to do so. This may at first seem a bit odd, but in actual fact you don’t even notice once you’ve got used to it. As the wearer is going to have raised their wrist to use Siri in the first place it’s not a great stretch to using your finger or the Digital Crown to read the screen once Siri responds. As with most new things it’s worth spending some time getting used to the slightly different functionality of the Apple Watch, you will certainly find that it is well worth it.
There are a couple of ways to use Siri on the Apple Watch. The first is to tap the screen once to wake the watch up, raise your wrist and say “Hey Siri.” The second is to press and hold the Digital Crown before giving Siri an instruction or asking it a question. In both cases and assuming that you have haptic feedback enabled on your Apple Watch, you will feel two taps in quick succession on your wrist when Siri is awake and ready to receive instructions/questions. These haptic taps are the Apple Watch equivalent of the audible pips that iOS devices produce when Siri is ready to receive instructions/questions.
Another big difference is when creating new emails. For example, once you’ve told Siri to “send email to Dad” the watch will tell you that he/she can help you create a new email using HAND OFF on your iPhone.
Note: For this to work you will of course need to ensure that you have HAND OFF enabled on your iPhone. This is done by going to SETTINGS, then GENERAL, then HAND OFF AND SUGGESTED APPS. You will find a button near the top centre of the screen that says HAND OFF. Simply single finger double tap to toggle the button on or off.
Once you pick up your iPhone you will find a Siri button displayed at the bottom left corner of the locked screen. Single finger double tap the button and Siri will tell you that you need to unlock the phone first. Once you’ve unlocked the phone Siri takes you through the steps of creating and sending the email as he/she normally would. Interestingly Siri re-locks the phone once the email is sent, which I think is quite useful.
Similarly Siri asks you to use HAND OFF if you ask him/her to check for new emails via the Apple Watch. The process is the same as detailed above for the purposes of opening Siri for HAND OFF and unlocking the phone, Siri will then take you through the normal process of checking for new mail.
In conclusion I think some good advice is to get used to Siri on the Apple Watch by using it and becoming familiar with using HAND OFF for things like emails etc. As you can ask it all of the usual things like what the weather forecast for tomorrow is, what time it is in another country, ask it to tell you a joke etc etc, there’s plenty of things you can do to help familiarise yourself.
In my next blog post I will be talking about using the FRIENDS button on the Apple Watch.