VoiceoverEasy.net courses are tutorials geared toward blind and visually impaired users of iPhones and iPads with Siri capability, and who use Apple Corporation's accessibility technology called Voiceover to read the screen of their device.

Debug Label

Unit 8: Lesson 1, Custom Accessibility Settings.

For iOS8 and 9.

Section 1: Introduction.

In order to display customized text to meet your needs VoiceoverEasy.net needs to know if you want to learn about iPhones or iPads.


 

DeviceNumber = -1
DeviceType = iOS Device

So far we have worked with the accessibility settings in their default configuration. However, there are many settings specific to VoiceOver, as well as other accessibility settings, that can make it easier for you to operate your iOS Device. This page emphasizes settings which affect blind and low vision users of Voiceover. Other settings are briefly mentioned, and include links to references for additional information. At the conclusion of this lesson you should:

NOTE: Some of the links below are to external sites. VoiceoverEasy.net has no control over the content of external web sites. Links to these sites do not constitute an endorsement of any products which appear on these sites.

SECTION 2: Accessibility Screen Settings.

Your iOS Device has many settings designed to improve usability for people with vision, hearing, and motor impairments. Most of these are located under the Accessibility Options Screen.

2.1: The Accessibility Options Screen.

Finding the Accessibility Options Screen.

There are several methods you can use to find the Accessibility Options Screen.

Using the Search Option of the Settings Application.
  1. Open the Settings App from the Home Screen.
  2. Activate the Search Field near the top of the Settings main menu for editing. Voiceover will say, "Search Field, Is Editing."
  3. Enter "Accessibility," in the Search Field and press the Search key. The Search key takes the place of the Return key on the soft keyboard.
  4. Make the Search Field the Current Item.
  5. Explore down from the Search field, or use the Next Item gesture until Voiceover says, "Accessibility, General."
  6. Use the Activate gesture.
Using Siri.

if you have a good 3G, 4G, LTE, or WiFi internet connection, you can activate Siri as discussed in Unit 5: Siri and say, "Show Accessibility Settings."

  1. Open the Settings App from the Home Screen.
  2. Use the Explore gesture or the Next and Previous Item gestures until you find the "General" button. Then Activate it.
  3. NOTE: The buttons are not listed alphabetically. If you can't find one or more of the buttons, you can invoke the Item Chooser with the Item Chooser gesture. and find it in the alphabetical list. Then use the Select gesture. You will be returned to the settings menu and the button you selected will be the current item. Then use the Activate gesture.

  4. Use the Explore gesture or the Next and Previous Item gestures until you find the "Accessibility" button. Then Activate it.

Vision Settings.

Below the Vision heading of the Accessibility settings are options which make it easier for those with visual disabilities and total blindness to use iOS Devices. These settings control the way Voiceover works, and the appearance of the display. Many of them can be used in combination for best results.

The Voiceover Button.

This is the first button under the Vision heading. It gives access to the Voiceover settings. When Voiceover reads this button, it says the button's name followed by, "on, button," to indicate that Voiceover is currently on and to indicate the current item is a button. Pressing this button takes you to the Voiceover Options Screen. Here you can turn Voiceover on and off, as well as customize Voiceover settings. The Voiceover settings are discussed in detail in Section 2.2 below.

The Zoom Button.

The Zoom feature of iOS allows the screen to be magnified. When the screen is magnified only a small portion of it is visible at one time. You use certain gestures to move the magnified window around the screen. When Zoom is on, certain Voiceover gestures are also affected. VoiceoverEasy.net assumes that the Zoom is off. So zoom settings will not be discussed in these lessons.

The Grayscale Button.

This feature was added in iOS 8. The button toggles Gray scaling on and off. This effect removes all color from the display. This may make it easier for those with low vision or color blindness to read text and view icons. It has no effect on Voiceover operations. This setting will cause photos to appear as black and white on screen, although the photos will appear normal again when Grayscale is turned off.

The Invert Colors Button.

This button reverses colors much like looking at a photographic negative. For example, dark text on a light background becomes light text on a dark background. Blacks become whites, Blues become yellows, and so on. This setting will change the appearance of text, icons, and photographs.

The Speech Button.

When Voiceover is on, it overrides most of the settings accessed by this button. Low vision users who do not need the full effects of Voiceover may wish to read about these settings. Voiceover users should read the "Speak Auto-Text" section below.

Speak Selection.

When this setting is On, and Voiceover is Off, your iOS Device will speak selected or highlighted text. If Voiceover is on, this setting has no effect.

Speak Screen.

When this setting is On, and Voiceover is Off, You can perform the Read Top Down gesture and the screen will be read out loud using the voice you have selected in the "Voices" setting, described next.

Voices.

When Voiceover is off, this setting controls what Voice is used when selected text is read, or when you perform the Read Top Down gesture. It takes you to the Speech Options screen, which is described in the Voiceover settings.

Speaking Rate.

When Voiceover is Off, this setting affects the speech rate when selected text is read, or the Read Top Down gesture is used. The Speaking Rate setting of Voiceover overrides this.

Highlight Content.

When this setting is On, and Voiceover is Off, the Current Item is highlighted with a box that surrounds it as it is spoken. If Voiceover is on, the Current Item is always highlighted.

Speak Auto-Text.

When this setting is on, it actually affects Voiceover. If you have Auto-Correct on, and this setting is off, your iOS Device will make a sound when it detects what it thinks is an error, but it will not automatically speak its suggested correction. If this setting is on, you will hear the sound followed by your iOS Device's suggestion.

The Larger Text Button.

This button can make the text larger in certain apps which support this feature. It does not change the text size on the home screen. It opens a screen where you can turn Larger Text on and off. Further down on the same screen is a Picker Item where you can adjust the scale of the text.

The Bold Text Button.

Bolded text is made with slightly thicker lines than regular text. This makes it easier to read for some visually impaired users. If you are using limited vision to supplement your Voiceover experience, you might find this setting helpful. Changing this setting will cause your iOS Device to reboot. This setting is also available in the Settings, Display and Brightness menu.

Button Shapes.

Toggling this feature on places an outline around the area occupied by most buttons. This makes them easier to find and can more clearly define the area on the screen that a button takes up. Some low vision users may find this helpful.

The Increase Contrast Button.

This setting makes it easier to see text and other items on the display. Apple's modern interfaces create the illusion of depth by bluring objects and using multiple layers of transparency. Low vision users may find this creates a "busy" screen. With increase contrast the transparency and blurring are removed. This makes text and other items on screen easier to see and read.

When this button is Activated, the Increase Contrast Options screen appears. The screen has an Action Row with a Back Button. The screen contains the following options. These options affect the appearance of the display, but have no operational impact on Voiceover.

Reduce transparency.

This button toggles this setting on and off. When this setting is on, most of the transparency and other 3d affects are removed. This simplifies the appearance of the display, and may make it easier to see for those with low vision.

Darken Colors.

Darkening colors makes menus and tabs stand out more clearly. This may help some low vision users.

Reduce White Point.

This button toggles the option on and off. When the option is turned on, the color white is slightly reduced in intensity. This may reduce eye strain for some users.

When you are finished adjusting these settings, use the Back button to return to the Accessibility settings screen.

Reduce Motion.

Apple's visual interface is designed to make the screen appear to be moving during certain transitions and operations. The Reduce motion setting is set to Off by default, which allows the effects in the list below on many screens, including the Home screen. This can adversely affect some users.

  • The screen zooms when you open folders or apps.
  • Icons and alerts shift slightly when you move your iOS Device.
  • Wallpaper photos and images are slightly zoomed in or don't scale properly to fit the screen.

When this button is Activated, the Reduce Motion Options screen appears. There is only one active item on the screen that toggles this setting. When it is on, the above effects are eliminated. Once you have made changes, use the Back button to return to the Accessibility Options Screen. This setting has no impact on Voiceover operations.

On/Off Labels.

In later versions of iOS Apple sometimes uses only colors to indicate the on or off state of a button or switch item. This setting turns on extra labeling so that a zero for off, or a one for on displays next to each toggle button/switch. This may make it easier for low vision or color blind users to see at a glance what settings are on and off. It has no effect on Voiceover Operations.

Interaction Settings.

The settings under this heading allow you to use alternate means for interacting with your iOS Device. This includes controling your iOS Device with an external Bluetooth device, or head motions. You can also use on screen menus instead of the external switches. You can control the appearance of the soft keyboard, or customize how a Bluetooth keyboard works with your device. You can also create custom gestures to control your iOS Device, but you must be careful not to create one that conflicts with an existing Voiceover gesture.

These settings are briefly described below, but where possible links have been provided to external resources with additional information. Please note that VoiceoverEasy.net is not responsible for the content of these links, and that listing them here does not constitute an endorsement of any products advertised or reviewed on these sites.

Switch Control.

You can control your iOS Device using a combination of one or more of the following hardware devices or techniques. Apple refers to these devices or techniques as Switches. You can use these switches to select text or items, Activate, drag, type, and even freehand draw.

  • Use an external Bluetooth switch, such as a foot pedal or other device.
  • Tap the screen.
  • Point the FaceTime camera toward yourself and move your head.

For more details on how these options can be used see the Apple support page at https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201370.

Assistive Touch.

Assistive Touch allows users who have difficulty manipulating the physical buttons and switches of their iOS Device to use an on screen menu to perform the same functions. For example, you can simulate pressing the Home button to jump to the Home Screen, pressing the up and down volume buttons, flipping the Mute or Ring/Silent switch, holding the Home button to activate Siri, and even locking the screen or powering off your device.

When you press the Assistive Touch button, the Assistive Touch Options Screen appears. This screen has an Action Row with a Back Button in the upper left corner. To the right of this button is a heading which contains the title of the screen, Assistive Touch.

When Assistive Touch is on, a small floating menu appears on the screen which grants access to the assistive Touch Menu. Sometimes this button can get in your way, but you can drag it to another location. The menu includes the following options.

  • Custom: This allows you to create and access a list of simpler gestures you have created to be substituted for more difficult ones.
  • Notification Center: This opens the Notifications Center.
  • Siri: Activates Siri as though you held down the Home button.
  • Device: Control the volume of your device, the Mute setting, take screenshots, and more. These features can come in handy if one of the buttons or switches on the exterior of your iOS Device stops working.
  • Control Center: Opens the Control Center.
  • Home: Returns you to the home screen as though you had pressed the Home button.
The Assistive Touch Toggle Button.

Below the Action Row is a Toggle button which turns Assistive Touch on and off. The default is off.

NOTE: You can also tell Siri to, "Turn on Assistive Touch," or "Turn off Assistive Touch."

Custom Gestures

At this time VoiceOverEasy.net has been unable to develop a workable method for those without vision to make use of this option.

Touch Accomodations.

These settings control the way the screen reacts when it is touched. They are designed to help people who have difficulty with performing only a single tap on the display, or who have difficulty touching exactly the right spot. When Voiceover is active, it overrides These settings. So they are not described here. However, you can find additional information on Apple's support page at https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205269.

Keyboard.

Pressing this button opens the Keyboard options screen. The screen has an Action Row at the top with a Back Button and a heading which says, Keyboard. The screen is divided into two areas; Software Keyboards, and Hardware Keyboards.

The Software Keyboards Section.

Show Lower Case Keys: The Software Keyboards section has one option which affects the keyboard displayed on the screen of your iOS Device. Normally the on screen keyboard displays the keys in upper case. Some low vision users may find the keyboard easier to see if the letters are lower case. This button toggles the setting on and off.

The Hardware Keyboards Section.

These settings only apply if you have an external keyboard connected to your iOS Device.

Sticky Keys: This setting controls the length of time it takes for a key to start repeating when you hold it down. It also controls the rate at which the key repeats. Repeat is on by default with a 0.4 second delay before the key repeats. Once the key starts repeating, it repeats every tenth of a second until you release it. Pressing this button takes you to the Key Options Screen where you have these options.

Key Repeat On/Off: This button toggles key repeat on and off. If key repeat is off, then any key can be held down indefinitely without repeating. This may be helpful if you have trouble lifting your finger off the key fast enough to avoid typing double or triple characters.

Key Repeat Interval: This setting controls the speed at which the key repeats. You can adjust the Text field value to increase or decrease this. The default is every tenth of a second.

Delay Until Repeat: This setting controls the amount of time the key must be held down until it begins repeating. The default value is four tenths of a second. Use the text field or the increment and decrement buttons to adjust this value. This is a good value to adjust if you are not getting your finger off the keys fast enough to avoid unintentional repeat keystrokes.

Sticky Keys: This button toggles this setting on and off. Often it is necessary to press multiple keys at once. For example, if you want to type a capital letter "A," you must hold down the Shift key while pressing the letter. Other times you may need to hold down the Control key while pressing one of the arrow keys. The default setting is Off.

When Sticky keys is turned on. You don't have to hold multiple keys at once. Instead, you can press the Shift key first, release it and then press the letter to get a capital letter. You can press Control, then press the Arrow to produce the same effect as pressing them both together. Sticky keys works with the Control, Alt, CAPS lock, and Shift keys.

Slow Keys: When this setting is off, and you press a key, your iOS Device acts on it immediately. When this setting is on, you can adjust the keyboard so that there is a delay before the key is acted upon. This can help if you often hit keys unintentionally. The default is off. Pressing this button takes you to the Slow Keys option screen. The Screen has these options.

Slow Keys On/Off: This button toggles this setting on and off.

Seconds: This text field allows you to adjust the delay before the key is acted upon. You can edit the field in the normal manner, or use the increment and decrement buttons.

Shake to Undo.

If you want to undo the last action you took on your iOS Device, you can shake it until it prompts you to undo the last action. This may cause problems for those who have difficulty holding the phone still. Pressing this button takes you to a screen where you can turn off the Shake to Undo feature.

Call Audio Routing.

Call Audio Routing has three settings; Automatic, Headphones, and Speaker. When Voiceover reads this button, it will say, "call Audio Routing," and then tell how it is currently set. Pressing this button takes you to the Call Audio Options Screen. There you can choose between the following three settings. Select the Back Button in the upper left corner of the Action Row when you are through.

Automatic: This setting routes the call audio to whatever audio device you are using at the time. If you are listening through your iOS Device's speaker at the time, the call goes there. If you're using headphones, the audio goes there. This is the default setting.

Headphones: This setting tries to route the call through a connected pair of headphones first. If no headphones are connected, the call is routed through the speaker of your iOS Device.

Speaker: Even if you have a set of headphones connected to your iOS Device, the audio for the call will always go to the speaker.

Home Button.

When this button becomes the current Item, Voiceover will read its name followed by its current setting. Pressing this button takes you to an options screen which allows you to set the speed required to press the Home button for your presses to register as a double or triple click. The default speed is the fastest speed. There are two other speeds; slow, and slowest.

If you can't seem to double or triple click the Home Button fast enough to activate the App Switcher or the Accessibility Shortcut, then slow this setting down, until you find one that works for you. You will have to test after each change.

Hearing.

The options in this section assist those with hearing impairments, or those who have difficulty hearing phone calls with lots of background noise. They can also be used to make your iOS Device work more efficiently with certain hearing aids, and can give visual indicators of emergency alerts.

Hearing Aids.

Pressing this button brings you to an options screen where you can configure your iOS Device to work with certain hearing aids. The hearing aid must be Bluetooth enabled.

Discussion of hearing aids is beyond the scope of VoiceoverEasy.net. However, you can find additional information at the Apple Support Web Site at http://www.apple.com/accessibility/ios/hearing-aids/.

Mono Audio.

This button toggles the sound of your iOS Device

between Mono, and Stereo. The change is only noticeable when you are listening through Headphones. The default is Mono Off, which means you are listening in Stereo mode. Stereo recordings feature different left and right audio tracks. This may cause some people with loss of hearing in one ear to miss key performance elements. Pressing the Mono Audio button will toggle the setting to on, and you will hear the same sound through both sides of the headphones.

Left, Right Stereo Balance.

This is a Picker Item which allows you to set the balance between the left and right ear piece of your headphones. You can use the Increment and Decrement gestures to adjust the balance in 10 percent increments.

Media.

The settings under this heading provide ways for individuals with hearing or vision impairments to have greater access to video content such as podcasts, TV programs, and movies.

Subtitles and Captioning.

Subtitles and closed captioning allow the hearing impaired to more fully experience video content by overlaying Text on the video that displays everything said and describes other noises. Your iOS Device lets you control the size and style of the text displayed for ease of readability. The iTunes store usually indicates items with closed captioning.

For additional information see the AppleVis page on Important Accessibility Features to help the Vision and Hearing Impaired at http://appadvice.com/post/guide-to-ios-accessibility-for-vision-and-hearing/700563#top3sub1.

Audio Descriptions.

If the content provider has included a separate audio track, turning on this setting automatically provides audio descriptions of scenes in videos. While the number of content providers using Descriptive Video is growing, there are still many TV programs, movies and podcasts which do not provide these tracks. This service is often referred to as DVS or Descriptive Video Services.

When you press this button, an options screen appears. It has an Action Row with a Back button. Below this is a button which toggles the feature on and off.

Learning.

Currently Guided Access is the only setting available under this heading.

Guided Access.

The Guided Access feature can help prevent you from accidentally switching out of an app when you are working. It can also make certain areas of the screen and some of the physical buttons and switches on the side of your iOS Device temporarily inactive to prevent accidentally pressing them. For more information about this see the Apple web site at https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202612.

Accessibility Shortcut.

This button brings you to the Accessibility Shortcut Options Screen. Below the Screen's Action row there are a series of options you can choose to activate when the Home button is triple pressed. If you select only one option from the menu, then that option is immediately carried out when you press the Home button quickly three times in succession. If you select multiple options from the list, then triple clicking the Home button causes a menu to appear with the options you have selected, and you can choose the one you wish to activate at that time.

NOTE: VoiceoverEasy.net recommends that Voiceover users who cannot see any items on the screen select only the Voiceover option. This allows you to turn Voiceover on without having to select from a menu which you will not be able to access if Voiceover is off.

2.2: Voiceover Options.

The Voiceover Options Screen.

The settings below are adjustable from the Voiceover Options Screen. Some are also adjustable through the Rotor. Using the Rotor is helpful if you want to frequently change these settings without navigating to this Screen each time. Although some of these functions are accessible from the Rotor, they may not be there by default. This can be fixed by Adding Functions to the Rotor.

If Bluetooth is currently enabled on your iOS Device, you can also connect a Bluetooth equipped Braille display from the Braille button on this screen.

The Action Row.

The Action Row appears just below the Status Bar. On the left side of the action row is a button that voiceover reads as, "Accessibility, Back button." Pressing this button will take you back to the main Accessibility settings screen. To the right of the Back button is a Heading which reads as "Voiceover."

Voiceover On/Off.

The first button down from the top of the screen is a toggle button which turns VoiceOver on and off. If you accidentally turn VoiceOver off using this button, you can activate Siri and say, "VoiceOver On," to restore it. If you followed the steps in the Accessibility Shortcut section above, you can also turn Voiceover back on by triple clicking the Home Button.

Below this button is a series of labels which give you a very basic overview of VoiceOver functionality. Ignore these for now. You already know this stuff anyway.

Voiceover Practice.

In Orientation and Basics, Section 8.3, Four Finger Double Tap we learned how to turn on Voiceover Help. This works from just about anywhere. The VoiceOver Practice button turns on the VoiceOver help as well. However, there is one important difference. If the Handwriting or Braille Screen Input functions have been added to the Rotor, the help screen will open with four buttons at the top. They are listed below from left to right.

  • General: Allows you to practice standard Voiceover gestures just as though you had entered help with the four finger double tap.
  • Handwriting: Allows you to practice handwriting gestures such as those for New Line, Backspace, and Switch Character Set. You cannot practice making letters this way.
  • Braille: Allows you to practice gestures used in Braille Screen Input such as; Change Input Type, space, delete last character, and delete last word.
  • Done: Exits practice mode.

Speaking Rate.

You can use this Picker Item to adjust the speaking rate in increments of 10%. From the VoiceOver Settings Screen follow these steps.

  1. Explore down from the VoiceOver Practice button or use the Next Item gesture until VoiceOver says, "Speaking Rate, Heading."
  2. Explore down a little further or use the Next Item gesture again. You will come to the Speaking Rate Picker Item. VoiceOver will say, "Speaking Rate," followed by a percentage, and then say, "Adjustable."
  3. Use the Increment and Decrement gestures to adjust the value in 10% increments. The higher the number, the faster VoiceOver speaks.

If 10% increments are too large, you can adjust the value using the Fine Adjustment gesture in one percent increments as follows:

  1. Make the Speech Rate Picker Item the Current Item.
  2. Use the Fine Adjustment gesture.
  3. Without lifting your finger, Explore slowly up or down the screen. Voiceover will raise or lower the speech rate in one percent increments.
  4. Lift your finger when you have the rate you want.

You can also adjust the speech rate using the Speech Rate function of the Rotor in increments of 5%. Dial the Rotor to the Speech Rate function and then use the Increment and Decrement gestures to adjust the value.

NOTE: If you have installed multiple languages and dialicts, the Speaking rate adjustment will only apply to the voice currently being used. This means you can set different dialects to speak at different speeds.

Speak Hints.

Below the Speech Rate Picker item is a toggle button that turns Hints on or off. When Speak hints are on and VoiceOver finishes providing information about the Current Item, there will be a slight pause, and then VoiceOver will suggest gestures you can use to work with that item. This is a helpful feature for beginners, but more experienced users may want to turn this feature off. Let's look at some examples in the table below.

effects of speak hints setting.
Action. With Hints Off. With Hints On.
When the Mail Icon becomes the Current Item. Voiceover says, "Mail." Voiceover says, "Mail, Double Tap to Open."
When the clock in the status bar becomes the Current Item. Voiceover says the time followed by, "Status Bar." Voiceover says the time followed by, "Status Bar. Swipe up with 3 fingers to reveal the Notification Center, Swipe Down with 3 fingers to reveal the Control Panel, Double Tap to jump to Top."

You can also toggle this by using the hints function of the Rotor. This function is not included by default in the Rotor menu.

Use Pitch Change.

When this setting is On, Voiceover uses a slightly higher pitched each time you type a character to indicate the character was typed successfully. It also uses a slightly lower pitched voice when a character is deleted.

NOTE: When researching this setting, VoiceoverEasy.net found indications that pitch change would also indicate font style changes such as bold, underline, and italic. However, we could not confirm this with testing. There were also indications that pitch changes would indicate the start and end of tables and lists, but we were unable to confirm this as well.

Use Sound Effects.

This toggle button allows or suppresses the sounds the iOS Device makes as the screen is navigated, or the confirmation sounds when a button is pressed. This will NOT suppress rings and tones for incoming phone calls, email messages, or text messages. Keyboard clicks are also not suppressed by this setting. See the table below for sounds affected by this setting. There are two modes; "Sounds On" and "Sounds Off."

Sounds. Function.
Navigation Sounds. The sounds made when the screen is being explored and grid squares or regional boundaries such as the boundaries between the Status Bar, Home Screen, and Dock are traversed.
The "Thunk" Sound. The sound the iOS Device makes when it is not possible to navigate any further in the direction being attempted.
Confirmation Chirp. The sound the iOS Device makes after an icon is activated or a button is pressed to confirm that an Activate gesture was successful.
popup alert Sound. The sound made when a popup appears that requires attention.

The Sounds function can be added to the Rotor as well. Then you can access it anytime from there without going to the Settings Screen.

The Speech Button.

Pressing this button takes you to the Speech Options Screen. From this screen you can choose Voiceover's default language. There are over 30 international voices and dialects to choose from. Most voices have a default and an enhanced version. The enhanced versions are clearer and more natural sounding, but each enhanced voice must be downloaded. The enhanced voices take between 120 and 150 megabytes each. To change the default Voice or download enhanced voices follow these steps:

  1. Press the "Default Dialect" button. An option screen appears where you can select the dialect you want.
  2. Explore down the screen or use the Next and Previous Item gestures until you find the option you want.
  3. If you want to use the default voice, use the Select gesture. However, you may want to Explore down a little further to see if there is an Enhanced version.
  4. If there is an enhanced version, the button will say, "Using X Megabytes," or "Requires X Megabytes." If the Button said, "Using," then the Voice is already downloaded. If the button said, "Requires," then the voice will download when you press the button.
  5. Once you have made your selection, press the "Back" button.

For a more complete list of available Voices, see the Apple support page at http://www.apple.com/accessibility/ios/voiceover/.

The Rotor Languages Section.

Using the Language Function of the Rotor, you can switch the Voiceover speech between languages and dialects without having to access the Voiceover settings screen each time. The Language function is not on the Rotor by default, but when you add the first language to this list, the function appears.

To add languages press the Add Language button and select the language you want from the list. Dialects of your default language are listed first followed by other international languages.

If you later decide to delete a language from the Rotor follow these steps:

  1. Launch the settings app and navigate to the Voiceover Options Screen.
  2. Press the Speech button
  3. Make the language you want to delete the Current Item. The Rotor secretly dials itself to the Actions Function.
  4. Use a Set Mode gesture until you here Voiceover say, "Delete."
  5. Use the Activate gesture.

The Braille Button.

Pressing this button takes you to the Braille Options Screen. Here you can set up your iOS Device to interface with a Bluetooth enabled Braille display. There are also some settings which affect Braille Screen Input.

For more information on Braille displays, see the Apple web page, Using Braille Displays at https://www.apple.com/voiceover/info/guide/_1129.html.

The Braille Display Output, and Braille Display Input Buttons.

These buttons set the Braille type to exchange with a connected Braille display. The "Output" button tells your iOS Device what your Braille display will output. The Input button tells your iOS Device what type of Braille to send to your Braille display.

When you press one of these buttons, you are taken to an options screen with three types of Braille:

  • Uncontracted six dot Braille. This is the default
  • Uncontracted eight dot Braille.
  • Contracted Braille.

Use the Select gesture to choose the setting you want. Then press the "Braille, Back" button to return to the Braille Options Screen.

The Braille Screen Input Button.

Braille Screen Input creates a soft Braille keyboard on your iOS Device's display which is similar to a Perkins Braillewriter. You can use this keyboard instead of the standard typewriter keys. This button allows you to select the type of Braille you want to use in Braille Screen Input Mode. When you press this button, you are taken to an options screen with these choices:

  • Uncontracted six dot Braille. This is the default
  • Contracted Braille.

Use the Select gesture to choose the setting you want. Then press the "Braille, Back" button to return to the Braille Options Screen.

The Status Cell Button.

This setting determines whether or not a status cell is included with each line of Braille output to your Braille display. When you press it, the Status Cell Screen appears. You can choose not to have a status cell sent to your display, or to have it at the beginning of each line, left, or the end of each line, right. Once you've made your selection, press the "Back" button to return to the Braille Options Screen.

Each dot in the cell means something different, and they should not be grouped. See the table below.

Translation Table for the Status Cell.
Dot. Meaning. Dot. Meaning.
1. Unread Messages:
These are Voiceover messages, not texts or emails.
4. Low Battery Warning.
2. Already Read.
This dot is on if you have not read the current announcement.
5. Landscape:
This dot comes on when your iOS Device is switched from Portrait to Landscape Orientation.
3. Indicates when Speech is Muted. 6. Screen Curtain:
Indicates whether the screen curtain is on or off.
7. Pan Left:
When this dot is on there is more text in the Current Item behind what is on the display reader. You need to Pan Left to see it.
8. Pan Right:
When this dot is on there is more text in the Current Item then is currently being shown on the display. You must pan right to see it.

For additional information on this setting see the AppleVis web page at http://www.applevis.com/guides/braille/explanation-status-cell-option-voiceover-ios.

Equations Use Nemeth Code.

Nemeth code is a form of 8 dot braille used in mathematics, scientific and technical writing. It has been around for a while, but many countries have switched to UEB Math Code. Nemeth code is still used in many places in the United States.

For some additional information on this topic check these external sites. Voiceover-Easy.net has no control of what is posted on these pages. They are provided here for additional information only. Their inclusion here does not constitute an endorsement of any products or opinions.

Show On Screen Keyboard.

This button toggles this setting on and off. When it is on, dots representing the position of Braille soft keys will appear on the display. They may be helpful for low vision users, or for teachers trying to check finger positions.

Turn Pages When Panning.

This button toggles the setting On and Off. On is the default. When the setting is off, and you are reviewing a multi-page document on a Braille display, you must issue a command to turn the page. When the setting is on, the page will turn automatically when you pan forward or backward through the document.

Braille Translation.

VoiceoverEasy.net was not able to find much documentation on this setting, except that it should be set by default for the proper translation table for your region. The default in most English speaking locations is the Unified English Braille. It appears on screen as, "English Unified."

For more information on using Braille displays, and a complete list of those that are supported see the Apple support page at http://www.apple.com/accessibility/ios/braille-display.html.

For more information on using your Braille display to control your iOS Device see the Apple support page at https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202132.

The Rotor Button.

There are many possible Rotor Functions. Not all of them are available by default. Pressing this button opens the Rotor Options Screen. Here you can select functions to add to the rotor.

  1. Press the Rotor button.
  2. Use the Select gesture to add the desired options to the rotor. Voiceover says, "Selected," before each option that will appear on the rotor.

To the right of each option is a "Reorder" button. You can use the Drag gesture to move the reorder buttons up and down. This changes the order that the functions appear in when you Dial the rotor.

Press the Back button when you are through making adjustments.

Click this link to learn more about the rotor and its functions.

Setting the Typing Style.

The typing style affects the gestures you use to type letters, numbers and special characters into a Text Field. Pressing the Typing Style button brings you to an Options screen where you can use the Select gesture to choose between the options listed in the table below. Use the "Voiceover, Back" button when you are through.

Mode. Function.
Standard Typing . In this mode an Activate gesture is required to type each letter, punctuation mark or special character.
Touch Typing. In this mode the Explore gesture is used to find the character to be typed. The character is typed when the exploring finger is lifted from the display.
Direct Touch Typing. This mode turns VoiceOver off when you press the typewriter keys, so that using the typewriter keyboard is the same as it is for a sighted person. VoiceOverEasy.net recommends this mode for only experienced keyboard users. VoiceOver still remains on and functional for all other areas of the display.

The Typing Mode Rotor Function allows you to change this setting without having to go to the Voiceover Options Screen.

Phonetic Feedback.

This setting controls what Voiceover says when the Rotor is dialed to the Characters Function. When you Press this button, you are taken to an options screen with these options. Use the Select gesture to choose the option you want. When you have made your selection, Press the Back button in the upper left corner.

Table of Phonetic Feedback Options.
Option. Effect.
Off. Voiceover only speaks the name of the character passed over by the Move Forward and Backward gestures. For example, the word "Car" would be spoken as, "Cap c, a, r."
Character and Phonetics.

Voiceover speaks the name of the character with each Move Forward or Backward gesture followed by a pause, and then the phonetic equivalent. For example, the word "Car" would be pronounced as, "Cap C, Charlie, a, Alpha, r, Romeo."

If you understood the character clearly, you don't have to wait for the phonetic equivalent before proceeding to the next character.

Phonetics Only.

Voiceover speaks only the Phonetic equivalent of each character passed over by the Move Forward and Backward gesture. For example, the word "Car" is spoken as, "Charlie, Alpha, Romeo."

NOTE: The only indication you will get that a letter is capitalized is a slight elevation in pitch if Use Pitch Change is on. This can be difficult to hear without hearing the phonetic. VoiceoverEasy.net recommends that you leave phonetics on, but don't wait for the phonetic if it isn't necessary.

Typing Feedback.

The Typing Feedback screen is divided into three sections. The first controls what happens when you type of the soft keyboard that appears at the bottom of your iOS Device's screen. The middle lists the same options, but they affect what happens when you are using an external keyboard such as a Bluetooth keyboard. The third area controls typing feedback when using Braille Screen Input, which is discussed in detail in Unit 8: Other Input Methods, Section 3.

The Typing Feedback settings control what Voiceover says when you type a character or word. When you Press this button, you are taken to an options screen with the options in the following table. Use the Select gesture to choose the option you want. When you have made your selection, Press the Back button in the upper left corner.

Table of Typing Feedback Options.
Option. Effect.
Nothing. Voiceover will say nothing to confirm that you have typed a letter or word, although you will hear the keyboard click as the letter is typed.
Characters. Voiceover speaks the name of each character you enter to confirm that you entered it correctly. If Use Pitch Change is on, then the character will be spoken in a slightly higher pitch.
Words. Letters you enter are not echoed. When u enter a space to move to the next word, Voiceover reads the word you just typed.
Characters and Words. Voiceover speaks the name of each character that you enter. If Use Pitch Change is on, then the letter is spoken in a slightly higher voice. When you type a space to go to the next word, the word you just typed is spoken.

NOTE: If you are using the soft keyboard in either Standard Typing Mode or Touch Typing Mode, Voiceover will still speak the letters your finger passes over prior to making your selection.

Modifier Keys.

This setting has no effect unless you are using a Bluetooth keyboard. You can activate many voiceover commands using the bluetooth keyboard by pressing one of two key combinations. The first is to press the Control key in combination with the Options key, the second is to press just the CAPSlock key.

This button takes you to a screen which allows you to choose which keyboard combination to use.

For more information about using Bluetooth keyboards with your iOS Device see the AppleVis site at http://www.applevis.com/guides/accessories-bluetooth-ios-ipad-iphone-ipod-touch-voiceover/dont-touch-it-type-it-voiceover.

Speak Notifications.

This button toggles this setting on and off. When it is on, Voiceover will read any notifications you receive, such as an alert or message, even from the locked screen. It not only notifies you that you have received a message, but will also read the text of the message. This setting is affected by the "Do Not Disturb" setting.

This setting takes effect when the Rotor Function is set to Images. When you are viewing a web page, and the rotor is Dialed to this function, the Move Forward and Backward gestures will jump from image to image and skip all the text between them. It's a quick way to scan a page for images.

The images which are included as stopping points depend on this setting. The possible options are listed in the table below. When you Press this button, you will be taken to an Option Screen where you can customize the setting. Use the Select gesture to make your choice, and then use the Back Button when you are through-.

Table of Image Navigation Options.
Option. Effect.
Always. All images are accessible. Images that have no associated descriptive text will be described by Voiceover as the file name where they are stored on the web server. This is usually a bunch of meaningless numbers and letters.
With Descriptions. Only images with descriptive text will be stopped at. Another name for descriptive text is Alternate Text, or Alt Text.
Never. All images are ignored.

Large Cursor.

To assist low vision users, Voiceover places a box around the Current Item. You can Press this button to toggle this setting on and off. When this setting is on, the box around the current item appears larger so it is easier to see.

Double Tap Timeout.

This setting affects how fast a double tap must occur for Voiceover to recognize it as an Activate gesture. Double taps which are too slow are often seen as two Explore gestures. You can get a feel for how fast you must double tap by using the Voiceover Help gesture. Once practice mode is on, try varying the speed of the double tap gesture.

The default value for this setting is 0.25 seconds, one quarter of a second. If you are having trouble making the two taps fast enough, you can slow the required speed down by using this setting.

When you Press this button, a screen appears with three items that allow you to set the value. There is a Text Field where you can type the value by hand. There are also Increment and Decrement buttons which increase or decrease the value in increments of five one hundredths of a second.

When you are finished, use the Back button to return to the Voiceover Options Screen.

SECTION 3: Other Settings.

This section contains other settings which are not found under the Accessibility Options Screen, but which VoiceoverEasy.net believes may help users with visual impairments. It is not intended to be a complete list of all other settings.

3.1: Siri Settings.

Finding the Siri Options Screen.

The Siri Options Screen is located in the settings app under the General tab. You can use any of the methods described in Finding the Accessibility Options Screen above to find it. If you use Siri, just say, "Open Siri Settings."

The Language Button.

The sound of the voices for Siri and VoiceOver can be set independently. The settings below affect how the Siri voice sounds , and how Siri interprets your commands. They have no affect on the VoiceOver screen reader. VoiceOverEasy.net recommends having the Siri and Voiceover voices set to different genders. That makes it easier to know which one you are listening to at any given time. Follow these steps to change the language and dialect that Siri will listen for, and speak in.

The Language button is below the Hey Siri option. It sets the language Siri expects to hear when you speak. VoiceOver reads the button name followed by the current language and dialect that Siri expects you to be speaking. Follow these steps to change the language.

  1. Press the Language button to enter the Language Options Screen and see the list of possible languages.
  2. Use the Select gesture to choose the language you want.
  3. Press the "Siri, Back button," which is in the upper left corner of the Language Options screen, where most Back buttons are. You will be returned to the Siri Options Screen.

The Siri Voice Button.

This button controls the options for the Voice that Siri speaks to you with. When you press it, the Siri Voice Options Screen appears.

Setting Siri's Accent.

Below the heading which VoiceOver reads as, "Accent," there are choices available for preset accents for your language. Use the Select gesture to choose the accent you prefer to hear.

Controling Siri's Gender.

Below these selections is a "Gender" heading. It is followed by two options. Use the Select gesture to choose between "male," and "female."

Use the "Back" button to return to the Siri Settings Screen.

For a complete listing of all the settings under the Siri Options Screen see Siri, Section 3.

3.2: Keyboard Settings.

Finding the Keyboard Options Screen.

The Keyboard Options Screen is located in the settings app under the General tab. You can use any of the methods described in Finding the Accessibility Options Screen above to find it. If you use Siri, just say, "Show Keyboard Settings."

The keyboard Options Screen.

The options on this screen control the way your soft keyboard works, and which keyboards are installed. Unlike the Typing Style settings, which are only effective when Voiceover is active, these settings remain in effect all the time.

The Action Row.

The Action Row appears just below the Status Bar. On the left side of the action row is a button that voiceover reads as, "General, Back button." Pressing this button will take you back to the General settings screen. To the right of the Back button is a Heading which reads as, "Keyboard, Heading."

Text Replacement.

This button opens the Text Replacement list. Here you can create and manage short combinations of letters or numbers called "Shortcuts," which will automatically be replaced with longer phrases when you type the shortcut and then press the SPACEBAR. For example, suppose you have a long web address that you often type into an email or text message, like http://www.Voiceover-Easy.net. Rather than having to type that each time, you could create a shortcut like "V,O,E,N," but leave out the commas. Then when you type your shortcut and press space, the shortcut will be replaced with the entire address. The shortcuts are not case sensitive. So whether you type your shortcut sequence in all caps, some caps, or no caps, it will still work.

Here are some other possibilities. Perhaps you often remind your spouse with this message, "Don't forget to pick up the dry cleaning," at you do this at least once a week. Rather than texting this every time, you could create a shortcut like "p,u,d,c," without the commas. Then you could simply type your shortcut into a text message, and press space. Your iOS Device will change it to the full sentence for you. Perhaps you have a long name like Johann Sebastian Bach. You could create a shortcut like "J,S,B," and save more time for composing.

IMPORTANT! Be careful about the shortcuts you create. For example, if your name was Thomas Henry Edwards, you wouldn't want to make your shortcut "t,h,e," because every time you typed the word, "the," it would be replaced by your name. Of course, you could make your shortcut "T,M,H,E," and that should work fine.

The Text Replacement Screen

The Text Replacement Screen is laid out very much like the Contacts List Screen discussed in Creating and Managing Contacts, Section 4. The only difference is that the "Edit" button has been moved from the Top left to the bottom left, and a Back button is where the Edit button used to be. The list has a Table Index bar on the right side, and headings that break the list down into shortcut groups that begin with the same letter.

You can use the Edit button to enter Edit mode to delete shortcuts you no longer need, or you can make the shortcut the Current Item and use the Set Mode gesture until Voiceover says, "Delete." Then use the Activate gesture to complete the deletion.

You can create a new shortcut by Pressing the "Add" button at the top right corner. You will be taken to a screen with an Action Row and two Text Fields. The Back button cancels your changes without saving them. To save your changes and return to the Text Replacement list, press the "Save" button in the upper right corner.

The first Text Field on the form is labeled, "Phrase," and is where you enter the phrase that will replace your shortcut. That would be, "Don't forget to Pick up the Dry Cleaning," from the example above. The next Text Field is labeled, "Shortcut, optional," and is where you type the shortcut. Using the same example above this would be "p,u,d,c," without the commas. The field is labeled "optional," but if you don't put the shortcut in, then the shortcut will not work.

If you want to edit an existing shortcut, simply Open it from the list. The form with the two text fields appears. Make your changes and then press the "Save" button in the upper right corner. If you want to cancel your changes without saving, press the Back button.

Auto-Correct, Check Spelling, and Predictive Typing.

These are all buttons that toggle these settings on or off. The default is on. When they are on, your iOS Device will try to correct your typing, or predict what you are about to type. Having these settings on can be confusing for Voiceover users, especially for beginners. VoiceoverEasy.net recommends that you begin with these settings off.

3.3: Display and Brightness.

Finding the Display and Brightness Settings.

The Display and Brightness Settings are located in the main menu of the settings application. You can use any of the methods described in Finding the Accessibility Options Screen above to find them. If you use Siri, just say, "Show Display and Brightness Settings."

The Display and Brightness Options Screen.

The options on this screen control the appearance of your display. They include brightness, the adjustment for ambient light, and text size and boldness.

Screen Brightness.

This is a Picker Item which can be used to set the brightness of the display. If you do not need to see the display, you can lower this level to EXTEND battery LIFE. On the other hand, if you need the display to be brighter, you can raise the level. Once the Screen Brightness Picker Item is the Current Item, use the Increment and Decrement gestures to change the value.

Auto-Brightness.

This button toggles this setting on and off. The default is on. When the setting is on, your iOS Device will adjust the display's brightness for the ambient light. This setting can help extend battery life. If this setting causes the display to become too bright or dark, you can turn it off.

Night Shift.

r

This setting has no effect for users who are totally blind. The idea behind Night Vision is that the colors on your iOS Device's display can adjust to a night time mode that supports a sighted person's circadian rhythms, which are largely affected by the intensity and color of light.

Pressing this button opens the Night Shift Options Screen. From here you can turn Night Shift on, and set it to turn on Manually or on a custom schedule. You can even set your iOS Device to change based on sunrise and sunset in your local area.

Display Zoom

The Display Zoom heading has a button under it called, "View," which has two settings, Standard, or Zoomed. In Zoom mode all controls such as; buttons, Picker Items, and other controls appear larger, but the amount of other data that is visible is reduced. This button takes you to the Display Zoom Options Screen.

IMPORTANT! Your iOS Device will reboot when you change this setting. Save any work you have opened before making a change..

The Display Zoom Options Screen.

This screen has an Action Row. There is a Cancel button on the left side. This acts like a back button and discards your changes. On the right side is a "Set" button, which saves any change you make and returns you to the Display and Brightness Options Screen. Until you make a change, this button is dimmed.

Below the action row are two selections; Standard, and Zoom. Use the Select gesture to choose the setting you want, then Press the Set button.

The Bold and Text Size Options.

These options lead to the same settings discussed above in the Vision Settings under Larger Text, and Bold Text.

SECTION 4: Exercises.

For these exercises imagine that you are trying to teach students with various challenges how to use their iOS Device. VoiceoverEasy.net realizes that not every solution works for every person, and there are multiple ways to do many things. So the answers we are looking for are one or more settings that are a good first try to resolve the problem.

  1. Your student is unable to perform the Activate gesture fast enough. What can you try?
  2. Your student gets confused as to whether Siri, or Voiceover is speaking. What is one option that may help.
  3. Your student has trouble remembering what gesture to make when certain items are selected. How can you get Voiceover to suggest possibilities?
  4. Your low vision student is unable to see which item is the Current Item while using Voiceover. What setting can help?
  5. You have a student who can see black and white easier than colors. What can you do?
  6. Your student would like audible descriptions of videos. How can you set this up, and what should the student know?
  7. Your students family members sometimes use his or her iOS Device. They sometimes forget to turn Voiceover back on, and your student doesn't have a good internet connection from home. What can you do to ensure they can turn on Voiceover by themselves without having to wait for assistance?
  8. Voiceover is speaking too fast or too slow. How can you teach your student to fix this?
  9. Your student wants to use the rotor to change the Voiceover voice. What steps are necessary to do this?
  10. Can you >explain to your student why Voiceover keeps changing pitch, and how this can be turned off if the student finds this distracting?
  11. Your student has a small business with a toll free number for clients. At the bottom of many emails, but not all, he or she often includes the phrase, "For further assistance, please call (800) 123-4567." How can they make it so they don't have to type the phrase every time?

Click here for SECTION 4answers.

Congratulations! You have learned some ways to customize the accessibility settings. Try different combinations of settings until you find the ones that work best for you.

Before you go on to the next lesson, would you like to take the optional survey for this lesson?

Email the Web Master..
© 2014, 2017 VoiceOver-Easy.net
RSS Feed.