VoiceOverEasy.net Home Page.
SECTION 1: Introduction.
Welcome to VoiceOverEasy.Net!
This website was developed in order to provide a detailed, step by step tutorial for blind and visually impaired users of the VoiceOver assistive technology found in iPhones and iPads. This site makes no assumptions that the reader has any previous knowledge of or experience with iPhones or iPads, and no previous experience using VoiceOver is necessary to begin using these lessons.
There are no pictures or diagrams on this site. All lessons have been developed using text only.
SECTION 2: How to Use VoiceOverEasy.net.
It is strongly recommended that you do not read these lessons and perform the exercises on the same device. This is because this would require some complex VoiceOver commands which beginners would not be familiar with. Instead, use your computer to read the lessons while practicing the VoiceOver commands on your iPhone or iPad. Alternatively, you can print one copy of each lesson in large print or braille for your personal use. However,these lessons are updated often, so visiting the web site is the recommended approach.
NOTE: You may create one copy of each lesson and supplemental materials for your personal use as a student or instructor. You may not distribute copies of these lessons, in whole or in part, through print, braille, audio, electronic, or any other format without the express written permission of VoiceOver-Easy.net. Click here to request permission to distribute lessons.
Some readers have asked why these lessons are not available in audio format. There are two reasons for this. First, converting these lessons to speech beyond the use of a screen reader is time consuming and beyond the budget of a free web site. Second, there are so many possible combinations of hardware and iOS versions, that creating voice files to cover all possibilities is not practical.
Even if you have some familiarity with VoiceOver, it is strongly recommended that you read the summaries at the end of each of the lessons in the Basic section and attempt the exercises at the end. Whereever possible VoiceOverEasy.net uses vocabulary established by Apple Inc. for VoiceOver commands. However, the lessons in the Basic section introduce concepts and vocabulary used throughout the remaining lessons. This was necessary in order to achieve the level of precision needed to clearly describe many VoiceOver functions and behaviors.
If you are a sighted person who will be assisting one or more blind people with this material, VoiceOverEasy.net recommends that you use the Screen Curtain functionto blank the screen while you familiarize yourself with the content of the lessons. Once VoiceOver is on, you can tap three times in rapid succession simultaneously with three fingers anywhere on the screen to turn the Screen Curtain on and off. The best way to teach the functions of VoiceOver to totally blind people is to learn to use them the same way we do.
NOTE: If you use VoiceOver in combination with the text zooming feature, some VoiceOver commands may behave differently. VoiceOverEasy.net does not cover these differences.
SECTION 3: Selecting your hardware type and Operating System Version.
VoiceOverEasy.net can be used to learn about iPhones and iPads as well as multiple iOS versions, but it is not necessary to scan through text for devices you don't have. It is a smart website. Once you tell it what device and iOS version you want to learn about, it simplifies learning by only presenting the specific material you need. You may change the selection as many times as you like while reading each lesson. However, VoiceOverEasy.net recommends that if you wish to learn about both iPhones and iPads, you go all the way through each lesson first in one mode, and then switch to the other. In addition to the lists below, you can set your hardware device type or software version by using the combo boxes at the top of the Navigation region.
To select your hardware device and software version follow these steps:
Step 1: Tell VoiceOverEasy.net the type of iPad or iPhone you wish to learn about. This information is required because the physical button layouts and the screen layouts are different on the two devices. When you have made your selection from the list, press TAB to go to the Change button, then press or click it to finalize your selection.
DeviceNumber = -1
DeviceType = iOS Device
Step 2 is to tell VoiceOverEasy.net which version of the iOS operating system you are using. If you are not sure, the answer can be found on your iOS Device under Settings, then General, then About. It is listed as Version. When you have selected your iOS version from the list, press TAB to go to the Change button. Press the button to finalize your change.
iOS Version = 10
iOSNumber = 9.3
SECTION 4: Page Layout and Navigation.
Each page in this website is divided into two regions. The Main region is located on the left side of the page and contains all the lesson text. The Navigation Bar is on the right side. It contains settings at the top where you can specify what iOS Device and operating system you want to learn about, and a table of contents below the settings for easy navigation between lessons.
Users of screen readers can use their screen readers navigation keys to move between links, lesson headings, and between the Main region and the Navigation Bar.
The navigation section of this website is located on the right side of the page and appears after the main content. If you are using a Windows based PC running Internet Explorer, you can hold down the Alt key and press the number 1 to jump to the hardware device selector, and Alt+2 to go to the iOS version selector.
Below the selectors is the table of contents. You can use TAB to move from one link to the next. Shift +TAB will move backwards. Press ENTER or RETURN when you've found the link you want. The Table of Contents has sections which can expand and collapse. If there are subsections under a link, there will be a button after it that says either "Show Lessons" or "Show Details." Click this button to expand that section of the Table of Contents. When you do, the button changes to "Hide Lessons" or "Hide Details," and you can click the button a second time to collapse that section of the Table of Contents.
SECTION 5: About the Web Master.
I have been working in information technology since 1985. For most of my career I was a low vision technology user. I used a screen magnifier and reader, and when smart phones first were available, I used whatever tools were available for the phone to read the screen and magnify the text.
In 2013 I lost my vision to glaucoma. I found that I had to relearn how to do almost everything on my computer and smart phone. I soon found that my smart phone wasn't going to cut it anymore, and I began researching alternatives. Almost every article I read and every person I spoke to agreed that Apple's VoiceOver technology was the best adaptive technology available. I attended a one day seminar on the iPhone at the Vision Loss Alliance of New Jersey and purchased an iPhone 5 soon after. It worked much better for me than my previous phone.
I started by reading the user guide. I found that many of the chapters used figures and diagrams as part of their explanations of the phone's operation. This made them of limited use for me. I also reviewed the appendix on VoiceOver. It gave a good overview of how to use VoiceOver, but it wasn't designed to cover all the subtile nuances of its use. So I went back to the Vision Loss Alliance of New Jersey for a series of workshops on how to use VoiceOver. I found them to be extremely helpful, and I was even able to use some of my experience in Information Technology to help others as they learned.
As a computer programmer I am a very organized thinker. It's too bad that doesn't carry over to the rest of my life! I learn by starting with basic concepts and then building on them. So I began writing notes and organizing them into basic ideas. Next, I added concepts that built on those ideas. At one point I realized the notes might be useful for others, and I started developing this web site.
During my career I wrote and taught computer courses to users of many levels. I have found that users do best when they have a good grasp of the concepts that underly the steps they are doing. It makes them more self sufficient. They are able to figure out what to do when things go wrong. They are able to apply the concepts in new ways, and they feel more confident when they understand why things work the way they do. Based on this experience VoiceOverEasy.net has been developed so that new terms and concepts are clearly defined the first time they are introduced, and then used often for the next several lessons to reinforce them.
Also, those of us who cannot see are extremely reliant on precise vocabulary to describe locations on screen, gestures to be made, and the effects of actions. As a result, these lessons build a "VoiceOver vocabulary," which is begun in the VoiceOver Basics section and then used throughout the remainder of the lessons.
The material here is based largely on my own experiences using VoiceOver on the iPhone 5 and iPad Air. I make no claim to be an expert in VoiceOver or any of the other technologies peripherally discussed here. I also have no association with Apple Inc. or any other companies mentioned throughout these tutorials. So, with all the disclaimers being said, I hope you find this information helpful.
SECTION 6: Acknowledgements.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ms. Kath Harris for her assistance with critiquing and proof reading this material, and to thank Jack and Martin for their assistance in getting this site up and running. This site would not have been possible without their help.
SECTION 7: Contact The Web Master.
You can contact the web master by using one of the links below to send an email. Constructive feedback is always welcome, or just let me know if you found the material helpful. Suggestions for new material are also welcome.
- Provide Feedback: Use this link to provide feedback on how effective the material was for you or how well you liked it. This link is also duplicated at the bottom of every page.
- Make a suggestion: Use this link to suggest enhancements to existing material or suggest topics for new lessons.
- Report an error or problem: Use this link to report an error or a problem in the course material.
- Something else: Use this link to email the web master about something that isn't covered by one of the above links.