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.

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Unit 8: Lesson 2, Other Input Methods.

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

In units 1 through 4 of VoiceoverEasy.net you learned how to communicate with your iOS Device using the soft keyboard, and various Voiceover gestures. In Unit 5, Let's talk we learned how to use Dictation Mode and Siri. In this lesson we will cover two other methods of providing input to your iOS Device. These methods are native to your iOS Device and require no additional hardware.

By the end of this lesson you should be able to:

Note to International Users: This lesson was written based on the Latin/Roman alphabet. Users of writing systems based on othr alphabets may find this lesson of limited use.

SECTION 2: Handwriting Mode.

Handwriting Mode allows you to input characters to your iOS Device by drawing them with a single finger on the display. You activate Handwriting Mode you must use the Rotor.

2.1: Adding Handwriting Mode to the Rotor.

Handwriting Mode is entered and exited by using the rotor. However, Handwriting is not one of the Rotor Functions available by default. You must add it to the rotor by following these steps.

  1. Launch the Settings Application from theHome Screen.
  2. Pressthe "General"button, which is located in the Settings main menu.
  3. Press the "Accessibility" options button.
  4. Press the "VoiceOver" options button.
  5. Press the "Rotor" options button.
  6. Locate the Handwriting option function.
  7. As youExploreover each option, Voiceover will say, "Selected," before some, but not others. When Voiceover says "Selected," it means that the option will appear on the Rotor.

    If you use theNext and Previous Item gestures you will hear the item first, but if you do another next Item gesture, Voiceover will say, "Reorder," followed by the Item Name. This button allows you to use theDrag Gestureto change the order of the item in the list.

  8. If Voiceover didn't say, "Selected," use theSelect gestureto add the Handwriting option function to the rotor.

Now that you have added Handwriting to the Rotor, go ahead and exit the settings application. From now on any time you Activate a Text Field for editing, Handwriting will be an available rotor function.

NOTE: Most Rotor functions always appear in the same order as you Dial the rotor. However, the Handwriting function moves within the order. It usually appears first when you dial the rotor clockwise.

Once this function is added to the rotor, it will only appear when you are editing a Text Field.

2.2:Using Handwriting Mode.

In ordr to practice with Handwriting Modelet's use the Notes App to create a new Note. If you need a refresher on starting and using the Notes App, please refer to Working with Apps, Section 6.1: The Notes App for details.

Before we begin, let's discuss a few things about Handwriting Mode.

In this section we will create a new note, switch to Handwriting Mode,and write the words, "Handwriting Modea. as the first line of the note. We will capitalize each word, and end the sentence with a period.

First we will start a new note and switch to Handwriting Mode.

  1. Launch the Notes app and start a new note.
  2. Make sure the Text field of the new note is activated for editing.
  3. Dial the Rotor clockwise until Voiceover says, "Handwriting, Lower case."
  4. Voiceover is telling you that you are now in Handwriting Mode, and it is expecting you to enter a lower case character. However, we want to capitalize the first letter of the word Handwriting. So we need to tell Voiceover we are going to enter an upper case character.

    The Switch Character Set Gesture.

    Handwriting Mode divides characters into four sets; lower case, upper case, numbers, and puntuation. You switch between them by using the Change Character Set gesture, a three finger flick up or down.

    • Upper case: The capital letters "A," through "Z."
    • Lower Case: The lower case letters "a," through "z."
    • Numbers: The digits "0," through "9."
    • Punctuation: This includes all other marks such as commas, periods, currency symbols, the colon and semicolon, slashesand underscores, At signs and ampersands to name a few. It should also be noted that mathematical symbols like plus and equal signs, greater and less than symbols, parentheses, brackets, braces, percent and number signs, division slashes, and decimal points are in this group as well. So handwriting math equations can mean a lot of character set switches.
  5. Use one of the Change Character Set gestures until Voiceover says, "upper case."
  6. Now use one finger and draw a capital letter "H" on screen. It's OK to lift your finger briefly between strokes, but don't pause too long. If you did it right, Voiceover will say, "Cap H."
  7. The Backspace Gesture.

    If Voiceover said a different letter, don't worry. You can do a two finger flick left. This acts like the BACKSPACE key on a computer keyboard. Voiceover will say the letter you just deleted. You can Backspace as many times as you like.

  8. Now that we have the capital H entered, we want to switch back to lower case letters. Use one of the Change Character Set gestures until Voiceover says, "Lower case."
  9. Now write the remaining letters of the word, Handwriting. If you make a mistake, use the Backspace gesture to correct it.
  10. The Spacebar Gesture.

    Now that you have finished the word, Handwriting, you need to put a space to separate it from the next word. In handwriting Mode you do this with a two finger flick right. Using this gesture is just like pressing the SPACEBAR on a typewriter or computer keyboard.

  11. Use the Spacebar gesture to add a blank space. Voiceover will say, "Space."
  12. Now we want to capitalize the letter "M" of Mode. Use the Change Character Set gesture until Voiceover says, "Upper case."
  13. Draw a capital letter M.
  14. Use the Change Character Set gesture again to switch back to lower case.
  15. Finish writing the rest of the word, Mode.
  16. Now use the Change Character Set gesture again until Voiceover says, "Punctuation."
  17. A period is nothing but a dot. Draw the period by simply tapping the screen once with a single finger.

Checking your work.

Now exit Handwriting Mode by dialing the rotor to the Characters or Words Functions. Use the Move Forward and Backward gestures to see your handiwork. Make any corrections you wish, and then move the insertion point to the end of the Text Field using the Start/End of Field gesture.

2.3: More Handwriting Mode Features.

Adding New Line characters.

When you use a keyboard, you press the RETURN key to move to a new line. The RETURN key inserts a character which Voiceover reads as, "New Line." In Handwriting Mode you use a three finger flick right to simulate pressing the RETURN key. Voiceover will say, "New Line" each time you perform this gesture.

Now we'll take a look at adding blank lines, numbers, punctuation, and special characters to our note. Before proceeding, please be sure the insertion point is at the end of the first line of the note. It should be right after the period.

Our goal for this next exercise is to add a blank line, and then add the phrase, "Draw letters, numbers, and other characters with just 1 finger." Note that there are commas after the words, letters and numbers, and the digit "1" is used rather than spelling out the word one.

Remember at any point during the exercise you can use the Backspace gesture to delete the last character you drew.

  1. Use the New Line gesture, a three finger flick right. Voiceover will say, "New Line," and the Insertion Point moves to the beginning of the next line.
  2. Use the New Line gesture again to create a blank line before we begin writing the next sentence.
  3. Use one of the Change Character Set gestures to switch to upper case character entry.
  4. Draw a capital D for the beginning letter of the word, "Draw. Voiceover should say, "Cap D."
  5. Use the Change Character Set gesture again to go back to Lower case Mode.
  6. Current Character Set Gesture.

    When switching back and forth between the four character sets, it's easy to forget which one you are currently on. Use the Current Character Set gesture, a three finger single tap, to have Voiceover tell you the current character Set.

  7. Use the Current Character Set gesture to ensure you are set to type in lower case. If Voiceover says anything other than, "lower case," thenuse a Change Character Set gesture to correct it.
  8. Now writing the letters "r," "a," and "w" to complete the word, "Draw."
  9. Use the Spacebar gesture, a two finger flick right, to insert a space after the word, "Draw.
  10. Now write the word, "letters."
  11. Now we need to add the first comma. Use one of the Change Character Set gestures until Voiceover says, "Punctuation."
  12. draw the comma. Voiceover willsay, "Comma," when you get it right.
  13. The Alternate Characters Gesture.

    Sometimes despite your best efforts, the character you draw is not recognized as the one you want. One common example of this is the question mark. No matter how many times and ways we attempted to draw it, it was always interpreted as a comma.

    After Voiceover announces a character other than what you meant, use the Alternate Characters gesture, a two finger flick down, to hear other characters whose pattern is close to what you drew. When Voiceover says the character you want, just move on to drawing the next character

    Since the last character you drew was the comma, let's try the alternate Character gesture to see what other characters your iOS Device thinks are close to what you drew. If you do enough Alternate Character gestures, you'll come back around to comma. Let's keep that setting and move on.

  14. Insert another space after the comma.
  15. Use the Change Character Set gesture to change to lower case.
  16. Write the word, "numbers," followed by another comma and a space.
  17. now write the words, "and punctuation marks with just," followed by a blank space.
  18. Use the Change Character Set gesture to switch numbers, then draw the digit one and add another space.
  19. Now change the character set to lower case and write the word, "finger," and follow it up with a period.
  20. Now use the Rotor to exit Handwriting Mode and check your work.

NOTE: The "Alternate Character," "Spacebar," "Backspace," and "New Line" gestures will work the same way regardless of which character set you are using.

2.4: Diacritic Marks.

Diacritic marks are symbols added to letters of the alphabet to alter the pronunciation of the letter. Accents, and circumflexes are two examples of these types of marks. These are not used in English, but are important in many other languages. Your iOS Device has the capability to make many types of diacritic marks.

In order to create one of these marks, follow these steps.

  1. Draw the base letter you want to combine with the diacritic mark.
  2. Use the alternate Characters gesture until Voiceover speaks the name of the diacritic mark you want to include. The mark that will be used is the one last spoken.
  3. Draw your next letter.

SECTION 3: Braille Screen Input.

Braille Screen input allows you to "type" characters on the display of your iOS Device by tapping the screen with the Index, Middle, and Ring fingers of both hands to make the dot patterns of Braille letters, numbers, and punctuation marks. It is beyond the scope of VoiceoverEasy.net to provide a thorough discussion of Braille. However, a brief discussion of Braille has been provided so users unfamiliar with Braille can complete the section below and determine if Braille Screen Input has any possible benefits for thehm. The introduction also lists the dot patterns for all letters, numbers, and common punctuation.

3.1: Braille Styles.

6 Dot braille.

Six dot Braille is the traditional for of Braille consisting of two columns of three dots each that make up a single Braille Cell. The dots in the left column are numbered 1, 2, and 3 from the top down. The dots in the right column are 4, 5, and 6.

8 dot Braille.

Eight dot Braille was developed in the United States, because there simply weren't enough combinations of dots in the traditional six dot Braille cell to meet Modern needs. The 8 dot Braille cell has two columns of four dots. The left-hand dots are typically numbered downward as 1, 2, 3, 7; and the right-hand dots are numbered downward as 4, 5, 6, 8. This allows dots 1 through 6 to have the same cell locations as their six dot Braille counterparts. This system is particularly useful in technical and scientific documents, as well as Braille music notation. You must have an iPhone 6+, iPhone 6S+, iPhone 7+, or any iPad to be able to use 8 dot Braille style. The remainder of this discussion will be limited to 6 dot Braille.

Uncontracted and Contracted Braille.

Braille can be found in two Grades. Grade 1 braille is also known as Uncontracted Braille. Grade 2 Braille is known as Contracted Braille. The two styles of Braille we've talked about so far are both Uncontracted Braille. In Uncontracted Braille, every letter, digit, and punctuation mark is represented by at least one Braille cell.. These styles of Braille made hard copy Braille books large and heavy.

In Grade 2 or Contracted Braille, the dot patterns of letters can be combined to indicate both letters, or even an entire word. Also, there are many standard word abbreviations. For example, the word, "Tomorrow," can be contracted to the letters, "T," and "M." Unless specified otherwise, any discussions of Braille at Voiceover-Easy.net will use Grade 1, or Uncontracted Braille. You can only access Contracted or Grade 2 Braille while you are editing a Text Field.

3.2: Settings that Affect Braille Screen Input Mode.

There are several settings under the Voiceover options which have a direct impact on Braille Screen Input. They are Braille Screen Input, Show On Screen Keyboard, Braille Translation, and Typing Feedback. To access these settings use one of the methods below.

Finding the Voiceover Options Screen.

There are several methods you can use to find the Voiceover 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 "Voiceover," 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, "Voiceover, General, Right arrow, Accessibility, right arrow, vision."
  6. Use the Activate gesture.
  7. Find the button that says, "Voiceover on" and Press it.
Using Siri.
  1. 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 Voiceover 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.
  5. Use the Explore gesture or the Next and Previous Item gestures until you find the "Voiceover, On" button. Then Activate it.

The Braille Button.

Press this button to enter the Braille Options Screen. Most of these options are devoted to connecting to a Braille display, but there are three which affect Braille Screen Input.

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.

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.

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."

Now, press the "Voiceover, Back" button at the left side of the Action Row to return to the Voiceover Options Screen. Find the "Typing Feedback" button, and press it.

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.

3.3: Adding Braille Input to the Rotor.

Braille Mode is entered and exited by using the rotor, just like Handwriting Mode. However, Braille is not one of the Rotor Functions available by default. You must add it to the rotor by following these steps. If you are still on the "Voiceover Options Screen, you can skip the first four steps and go right to step 5.

  1. Launch the Settings Application from theHome Screen.
  2. Pressthe "General"button, which is located in the Settings main menu.
  3. Press the "Accessibility" options button.
  4. Press the "VoiceOver" options button.
  5. Press the "Rotor" options button.
  6. Locate the Braille Screen Input function.
  7. If Voiceover didn't say, "Selected," use theSelect gestureto add the Braille Screen Input function to the rotor.

Once this function is added to the rotor, it will only appear when you are editing a Text Field.

3.4: Two Modes for Braille Input.

There are two Modes for Braille Screen Input. The first is "Table Top" Mode. The second is "Screen Away" Mode.

In both Modes your left Index finger will represent dot 1. Your left middle finger will represent dot 2, and your left Ring finger will represent dot 3. Your right Index finger will represent dot 4. Your right Middle finger will represent dot 5, and your right Ring finger will represent dot 6.

Screen Away Mode.

Screen Away Mode works best on smaller devices. Start by holding your iOS Device in Landscape orientation with the Home button to the right. Now flip the device over so the screen is pointing away from you, but keep the Home button to the right. Hold the iOS Device using your thumbs on what is now the top edge, and your pinkies on the bottom edge. Now your Index, Middle, and Ring fingers should form two parallel columns of three just like the dots in a 6 dot Braille cell. VoiceoverEasy.net will call this the, "Home Braille Position."

Table Top Mode.

Table Top Mode is easier to use with larger devices like iPads, or if you are used to using a Braille writer. You begin by placing your iOS Device down on a flat surface in Landscape orientation with the Home button to the right.

In this Mode there are two possible Home Braille Positions for your fingers. If you have room, you can place all your fingers in a line parallel to the long sides of your iOS Device. Otherwise, you can place your Index fingers on either side of the center line, and close to the near edge of your iOS Device. Your middle fingers should be placed farther away from the center line, and slightly farther away from the near edge. Your ring fingers should be still farther away from the center line, and slightly farther away from the near edge. Your fingers should make a shape like a squashed letter, "V."

3.5: Calibrating the Soft Braille Keyboard.

Everyone has different finger sizes and lengths. Braille Screen Input has been designed to take this into account. You can rearrange the positions of the keys, or dots, to match your fingers. Apple calls this Calibration. It's a good idea to do this at the start of each Braille Screen Input session. Follow these steps.

  1. Go to the Home Screen.
  2. Dial the Rotor to Braille Screen Input.
  3. Hold your iOS Device in the position described above for either Table Top or Screen Away Mode with your fingers in Home Braille Position, but don't touch the display yet.
  4. Tap the display simultaneously with your right Index, Middle and Ring fingers.
  5. Then quickly tap the display simultaneously with your left Index, Middle, and Ring fingers. Voiceover should say, "dot positions Calibrated."
  6. If Voiceover says something else, try the steps again. You have to do the two taps at about the same speed as an Activate gesture.

3.6: Exploring Mode.

You can enter Exploring Mode from Braille Screen Input by placing any finger on the display and holding it stationary until you hear two tones. Voiceover will say, "in Exploring Mode."

You can use Exploring Mode in one of two ways. First, you can move your finger around the screen to learn the positions of the braille soft keys. Second, you can place different combinations of fingers on the display and have Voiceover tell you which dots you are pressing.

You exit Exploring Mode by lifting all your fingers off the display.

3.7: Upper Case, Numbers, and Punctuation.

Unlike Handwriting Mode, there is no Change Character Set gesture to change between upper case and lower case letters. You also don't need to switch between numbers and punctuation. You do this simply by using different Braille characters.

Braille Numbers.

The numbers 1 through 9, and 0 use the same characters as the first 10 letters of the alphabet, "A," through "J," but you need to add a Braille number sign cell before the number. The Braille number sign has dots 3, 4, 5, and 6. If you have a string of numbers, you only need to put the number sign once at the beginning of the string. The string of numbers ends with a blank space.

Braille Capitalization.

To make a Braille letter a capital, precede it with a Braille cell that has only dot 6. If you want to make the entire word capital, precede the word with two cells with only dot 6. Remember that if you are inputing text for an email or text message, some people may interpret words in all caps as yelling.

Braille Punctuation.

To enter punctuation marks just use the appropriate Braille character.

Now that we know how to setup and calibrate Braille Screen Input, and we've looked at some of the basic concepts, let's try using it to create a new note.

SECTION 4: Creating a Note with Braille Screen Input.

In this section we will create a new note, switch to Braille Screen Input, and write the words, "Braille Screen Input," as the first line of the note. We will capitalize each word, and end the line with a period.

First we will start a new note and switch to Braille Screen Input.

  1. Launch the Notes app and start a new note.
  2. Make sure the Text field of the new note is activated for editing.
  3. Dial the Rotor to the Braille Screen Input Function. Voiceover will say, "Braille Screen Input, Landscape," followed by either "Table Top Mode," or "Screen Away Mode," depending on how you are holding your iOS Device at the time.
  4. If you havent already done so, lay your iOS Device on a flat surface in front of you with the Home Button to the right. Voiceover should say, "Table Top Mode."
  5. When you first enter Table Top Mode, the dot positions can sometimes be inverted so that dots 3 and 6 are close to you rather than dots 1 and 4. It's easy to correct this by keeping your iOS Device in Landscape orientation and flipping the display briefly to face you. As soon as Voiceover begins to say, "Screen Away Mode," lay the device back down. This will orient the soft braille keyboard correctly.

    The first character we need to type is the Capital letter "B," of the word Braille. It takes two Braille cells to do this. The first is the cell with the dot 6 to indicate the next letter is a capital, and the next cell will have dots 1 and 2 for the letter B.

  6. Tap the display with your right Ring Finger. Voiceover will say, "dot 6."
  7. Now simultaneously tap the display with the Index finger and Middle finger of your left hand. They are dots 1 and 2 respectively. The Braille character "B" is formed by dots 1 and 2. Voiceover should say, "B."
  8. The Backspace Gesture.

    If Voiceover said a different letter, or just an odd combination of dots, don't worry. You can do a single finger flick left. This acts like the BACKSPACE key on a computer keyboard. Voiceover will say the letter you just deleted. You can Backspace as many times as you like. This is similar to backspacing in Handwriting Mode, except that you flick with only one finger instead of two.

  9. Simultaneously tap the screen with the Index, Middle, and Ring fingers of your left hand, and the Middle finger of your right hand. They correspond to dots 1, 2, 3, and 5 respectively. The "R" Braille character is made from these dots. Voiceover should say, "r."
  10. If you don't hear an "r," use the Backspace gesture and try again.
  11. Now write the remaining letters of the word, Braille. If you make a mistake, use the Backspace gesture to correct it.
  12. Tap the display with the index finger of yur left hand. This corresponds to dot 1. Dot 1 is the Braille symbol for the letter "A."
  13. Simultaneously tap the screen with the Middle finger of your left hand, and the Index finger of your right hand. This corresponds to dots 2 and 4, which is the letter "i."
  14. tap the display simultaneously with all three fingers of your left hand. This is dots 1, 2, and 3. These dots are Braille for the letter "L."
  15. Do the same thing again to type the second letter "l."
  16. Now simultaneously tap with your left Index and Right Middle fingers. These correspond to dots 1, and 5, the Braille character for the letter "e."
  17. The Spacebar Gesture.

    Now that you have finished the word, Braille, you need to put a space to separate it from the next word. In Braille Screen Input you do this with a Single finger flick right. Using this gesture is just like pressing the SPACEBAR on a typewriter or computer keyboard. It has the same effect as the Spacebar gesture in Handwriting Mode, but it only needs one finger instead of two.

  18. Use the Spacebar gesture to add a blank space. Voiceover will say, "Space."
  19. Now let's capitalize the letter "S" of Screen. This takes two Braille cells."
  20. Enter a dot 6 by touching the screen with the Ring finger of your right hand. Voiceover will say, "Dot 6."
  21. Enter the letter "S" by simultaneously tapping with the Ring and Middle fingers of your left hand, and the Index finger of your right hand. This represents dots 2, 3, and 4, the Braille letter "S."
  22. Finish writing the rest of the word, Screen. If you need a refresher on braille letters, go to an Introduction to Braille.
  23. Use the Spacebar gesture again and add a blank space.
  24. Write the word, Input. Don't forget to capitalize the "I"
  25. Now finish the line with the Braille character for a period. It's dots 2, 5, and 6. Use the Middle finger of your left hand together with the Middle and Ring fingers of your right hand..

Checking your work.

Now exit Braille Screen Input by dialing the rotor to the Characters or Words Functions. Use the Move Forward and Backward gestures to see your handiwork. Make any corrections you wish, and then move the insertion point to the end of the Text Field using the Start/End of Field gesture.

4.1: More Braille Screen Input Features.

Now we'll take a look at adding blank lines, and numbers to our note. We'll take a quick break, and try using Screen Away Mode. Before proceeding, please be sure the insertion point is at the end of the first line of the note. It should be right after the period.

Our goal for this next exercise is to add a blank line, and then add the phrase, "Line 2 was typed in Table Top Mode," Note that the digit "2" is used rather than spelling out the word two. Also, the line ends with a comma, not a period. Finally, the words, "Line," "Table," "Top," and "Mode," are all capitalized.

Remember at any point during the exercise you can use the Backspace gesture to delete the last character you entered. Also, since you exited Braille Screen Input, it won't hurt to ensure the dots are oriented correctly once you go back in, and that they are calibrated to the right positions. The few seconds this takes can save a lot of frustration later. This is especially true for beginners to Braille Screen Input.

Adding New Line characters.

While editing a Text Field in Braille Screen Input Mode, use a two finger flick right to simulate pressing the RETURN key. Voiceover will say, "New Line" each time you perform this gesture. This is exactly like the three finger flick right in Handwriting Mode, but it's done with one less finger.

  1. Use the New Line gesture, a two finger flick right. Voiceover will say, "New Line," and the Insertion Point moves to the beginning of the next line.
  2. Use the New Line gesture again to create a blank line before we begin writing the next sentence.
  3. Type a dot 6 to indicate the next letter is a Capital letter.
  4. Enter a Braille "L" for the beginning letter of the word, Line. Voiceover should say, "Cap L."
  5. Now write the letters, "i," "n," and "e" to finish the word, "Line."
  6. Use the Spacebar gesture, a single finger flick right, to insert a space. If you have Typing feedback set to "Characters and Words, Voiceover will say, "space, Line."
  7. Now enter the digit 2. It will require two Braille cells to do this.
    1. Type the Braille number indicator cell, which is dots 3, 4, 5, and 6. Voiceover responds with, "dots 3 4 5 6."
    2. Now enter dots 1, and 2. This is "B," the second letter of the alphabet, but since it's preceded by the number indicator cell, Voiceover will say, "2.".
  8. Now add a blank space after the digit 2 and type the words, "is in Table Top Mode," without forgetting to capitalize the last three words.
  9. Next We'll enter a comma. That's dot 2. Voiceover should say, "comma."
  10. Finally, add a New Line character so we start part two of this exercise on a blank line.
  11. Now use the Rotor to exit Braille Screen Input and check your work.
  12. Use the standard editing techniques you learned in Unit 1: Editing Text to correct any mistakes, then save your work.

OK. That was a lot of work! Take a break for a couple of minutes. Put your feet up. Have a healthy snack, but don't forget to come back. There's still stuff to do.

4.2: Using Screen Away Mode.

We will use the same note we just created to try Screen Away Mode. If the note is not already open, please open it now, and activate the Text field for editing. Use the Start/End of Field gesture to move the Insertion Point to the end of the text.

In this portion of the Braille Screen Input exercise we will switch to Screen Away Mode, and enter the words, "and line 3 is in Screen Away Mode." We'll type the digit 3 instead of the word three, and we'll capitalize the words, "Screen," "Away," and "Mode," then end the sentence with a period.

  1. Dial the Rotor to the Braille Screen Input Function.
  2. Now pick up your iOS Device and hold it as described in Section 3.4 above.
  3. Since the previous line ended with a comma, we'll start this line with the word, "and," followed by a blank space.

OK. That's it for the step by step. Now using what you learned from the previous exercise complete the phrase, "Line 3 is in Screen Away Mode." Don't forget to use the digit 3, capitalize the words, "Screen," "Away," and "Mode," and end the line with a period. Finally exit Braille Screen Input Mode and check your work. Fix any errors and save your note. Good Luck! We're all counting on you!

4.3: Other Special Gestures.

Braille Screen Input has a few special gestures that may come in handy.

Orientation Lock/Unlock.

A Three finger flick up or down will lock your iOS Device in either Table Top or Screen Away Mode, depending on what Mode you were in when you made the gesture. Perform the gesture again to unlock orientation and enable you to switch Modes again.

Switch Braille Style.

While editing a Text Field, a Three finger flick left or right will cause your iOS Device to switch between 6 dot Uncontracted Braille and Contracted Braille. If your device is one of the ones mentioned under the 8 Dot Braille section above, then8 dot Braille will be offered as a third option. You cannot switch the Braille style to Contracted Braille from the Home Screen, or while using a web browser.

Delete Last Word.

When you are in Uncontracted Braille style, the Two finger flick left deletes all cells between the last New Line or Space you entered, and the last cell you entered. In Contracted Braille style this gesture erases the last translated word along with anything not yet translated.

The Autocomplete Gesture.

A Single finger flick up or down will allow you to choose between typing predictions. If you find one that you want, use the Select gesture to accept it.

Immediately Translate Current Word.

When you ar in Contracted Braille style, the two finger flick down immediately translates the current word.

SECTION 5: Searching for Apps.

You can use either Braille Screen Input or Handwriting Mode to search for apps from the Home Screen by following these steps:

  1. Go to the Home Screen.
  2. Dial the Rotor to either the Braille Screen Input function or the Handwriting function.
  3. Enter the first couple of characters of the App name that you are looking for. As you enter more characters, Voiceover will tell you each character you entered, and then how many apps begin with what you've entered so far.
  4. When the number of apps is at a managable size, flick up or down with two fingers until you here the app you want.
  5. Use an Activate gesture to launch the app.

If you decide you don't want to launch the app after all, just dial the rotor away from the Braille Screen Input or Handwriting functions to return to the Home Screen.

SECTION 6: Entering Passcodes.

If you use Handwriting Mode or Braille Screen Input to enter a Passcode, such as the Passcode used to unlock your iOS Device, then you will hear a only a click each time a letter, number, punctuation mark is entered. The letter itself will not be spoken. By contrast, when you use the soft keyboard, Voiceover will speak each letter you type. This makes Handwriting Mode and Braille Screen Input more secure than the soft keyboard or numeric keypad. When you are finished entering your Passcode, use a New Line gesture. This will submit your Passcode and take you to the screen you were on when your iOS Device was locked, and will automatically exit Handwriting Mode or Braille Screen Input.

Section 7: Review.

7.1: Gesture Review.

New Gesture Table.
Gesture Name. Motion. Function. Context.
Spacebar. Single finger flick right. Inserts a blank space. Braille Screen Input.
Spacebar. Two finger flick right. Inserts a blank space. Handwriting Mode.
New Line. 2 finger flick right. Simulates hitting RETURN key. Braille Screen Input.
New Line. Three finger flick right. Simulates hitting RETURN key. Handwriting Mode.
Switch Braille Style Three finger flick left or right. Change Braille Styles between 6 Dot, 8 Dot, and Contracted. Braille Screen Input.
Change Character Set. Three finger flick up or down. Switch between upper case, lower case, numbers, and punctuation. Handwriting Mode.
Lock Orientation. Three finger flick up or down. Lock/Unlock orientation to Table Top or Screen Away Mode. Braille Screen Input.
Backspace. Single finger flick Left. Deletes last Braille cell entered. Braille Screen Input.
Backspace. Two finger flick Left. Deletes last character drawn. Handwriting Mode.
Delete Last Word. Two finger flick left. Deletes last word typed. Braille Screen Input.
Current Character Set. Three finger single tap. Say current character set. Handwriting Mode.
Alternate Characters. Two finger flick up or down. Suggest characters similar to the one you drew. Handwriting Mode.
Exploring Mode. Single finger touch and hold. Enters Exploring Mode to find positions of Braille soft keys. Braille Screen Input.
Autocomplete. Single finger flick up or down. Scroll through list of words your iOS Device thinks you may be typing. Braille Screen Input.
Immediate Translate. Two finger flick down. Translate current Braille entry. (Contracted Braille only). Braille Screen Input.

7.2:Things to Remember about Handwriting Mode.

7.3: Braille Screen Input Quick Review.

SECTION 8: Exercises.

  1. If you have set a passcode to access your iOS Device, lock your screen, and then use Handwriting mode to enter your passcode.
  2. Try the same thing with Braille Screen Input.
  3. Try handwriting a text message that says, "1+1=2," using digits, the plus sign, and equals sign.
  4. What does VoiceoverEasy.net recommend you should do each time you enter Table Top Mode?
  5. What orientation should you iOS Device be in when working in Handwriting Mode?
  6. What is the best way to review what you have entered using Handwriting mode or Braille Screen Input?
  7. If you attempt to draw a question mark in Handwriting Mode, but it keeps being interpreted as a comma, what's the easiest way to resolve this issue?
  8. Is it possible to use Braille Screen Input to enter Grade 2 braille on your iOS Device?

Click here for SECTION 8 answers.

Congratulations! You have worked with Handwriting Mode and Braille Screen Input as alternative ways to enter text into your iOS Device. Hopefully one of them will help you enter text more efficiently, and Passcodes more securely. These are difficult modes to get started, but like anything else, with practice you can become very proficient. Take a good long break. You've earned it.

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

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