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 1: Lesson 1, Orientation and Basics.

For iOS7,8, 9, and 10

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

This lesson describes key buttons, switches and plugs on the exterior of your iOS Device. It also introduces VoiceOver and the gestural language it uses to navigate around the display. At the end of this lesson you should know:

. This section introduces terms and actions which will be used throughout later parts of this course. Even if you have been using your iOS Device for a while, it is recommended that you glance at the review sections and try the exercises anyway as a quick refresher.

1.1: Siri.

Siri is the name Apple has given to its speech recognition software. Speech recognition allows computers, including tablets and smart phones, to recognize spoken commands or words and then act on them. Using Siri you can command your iOS Device to perform many tasks such as; locate information, make appointments, remind you of things, or take dictation.

1.2: VoiceOver.

Since your iOS Device has a touch screen which always feels uniformly flat, Apple uses a special software called VoiceOver to make the device accessible to people with visual impairments. With VoiceOver turned on, your iOS Device will speak information about any item on the screen you touch. VoiceOver also reads alerts and popup messages when they appear.

VoiceOver Gestures.

If you didn’t need VoiceOver, you could simply look at the screen and tap the feature you want. However, using VoiceOver requires constant contact with the screen, so the techniques used by sighted people will not work. VoiceOver uses a series of “gestures" to accomplish the same things. Gestures are made by moving one or more fingers around the screen, or by tapping with one or more fingers.

SECTION 2: Around the Block.

Before powering on your iOS Device, let’s take a look at the buttons, switches and connection points around the outside edges. Hold your iOS Device with the touch screen facing you and the round button centered below the touch screen. In this position the longer edges of your iOS Device should be on the left and right sides, and the shorter edges should be on the top and bottom.

2.1: Portrait and Landscape Orientation.

Typically, when an artist paints a portrait of a person, they orient their rectangular canvas so that the long sides are vertical. When an artist paints a picture of a landscape, he or she orients the rectangular canvas so the long sides are horizontal and the short sides are vertical. These two positions have given rise to the terms “Portrait" and “Landscape" Orientation. If you hold your iOS Device with the long sides on the right and left, and the round button centered beneath the screen, you are holding it in Portrait Orientation. This is the most common orientation, and unless otherwise noted, it will be the orientation your iOS Device will be expected to be in for most of these lessons.

2.2: The Wake/Sleep Button.

With your iOS Device held in portrait orientation, the wake/sleep button will be near the edge near the top right-hand corner. You use this button to power it on and off, and to manually activate or clear the lock screen.

2.3: The Mute or Ring/Silent Switch.

If you move clockwise from the wake/sleep button, you’ll find the Mute Switch at the top of the right side of your unspecified device. When the switch is in the down position, away from the Wake/Sleep button, it silences the bleeps and other sounds . When the switch is in the up position, toward the Wake/Sleep button, you’ll hear sounds normally.

NOTE: The Mute or Ring/Silent Switch does NOT silence VoiceOver. It also will not silence music and movies, alarms, or sounds made by many game applications. Camera and Voice Memo sounds are not always silenced either.

2.4: The Volume Buttons.

Just below the Mute or Ring/Silent Switch are the volume buttons. They affect the volume of whatever sound your iOS Device is making at the time. If you're playing music or movies, then media volume only will be affected. If you’re on Face Time or the phone, then volume for that conversation will be affected. Siri’s volume is also controlled by these buttons. You have to use them while Siri is speaking. VoiceOver, rings, alert tones and all other sounds are all changed in volume as a group by these buttons. The button closest to the Mute or Ring/Silent Switch makes the sound louder. The one beneath it makes the sound quieter.

IMPORTANT! While VoiceOver is speaking, it is possible to inadvertently turn the volume of VoiceOver to zero. Be careful not to do this. If you need VoiceOver to stop talking temporarily, then use the method described in Section 8.1 below.

2.5: The Headphone/Microphone Jack.

You will find this jack on the top edge of your iPad near the left-hand corner. You can plug a wired pair of earphones or ear buds into this jack. If the earphones have a microphone, you will be able to use it when recording, dictating, or directing Siri.

2.6: The Computer/Charger Port.

If you keep your iOS Device in portrait orientation, you will find a slot near the center of the bottom edge. This is where the charging cord is connected. It’s also the USB port to connect your device to a computer.

2.7: The Home Button.

On the front of the iOS Device centered below the touch screen is the Home Button. It has several functions that vary depending on your accessibility settings. Primarily you use it to return to the starting or Home Screen.

2.8: The Front and Rear Facing Cameras.

Your iOS Device has two cameras. If you hold your device in Portrait orientation with the Home button centered at the bottom, the Front Facing camera is located at the top center of the display. This camera is used to show the operator of the device during video calls, and for taking pictures of yourself. The Rear Facing camera is on the back of the device facing away from you. It is in the upper right corner near the Wake/Sleep button. This camera is used for taking pictures and videos of others much like a traditional camera.

SECTION 3: Powering Up

To power on your iOS Device, hold the Wake/Sleep button in for about 3 seconds and then release it. An Apple logo should appear on the display, but you will get no audible indication that it’s there. If Voiceover was turned on when your iOS Device powered down, then it will turn on automatically once your iOS Device finishes powering up.

If this is the first time your iOS Device has been turned on, you will have to go through the initial setup Instructions.

3.1:Turning On VoiceOver with the Home Button.

If your iOS Device is configured correctly, you can press and release the Home button three times quickly at any time to toggle Voiceover on and off. If Voiceover was not previously on, and your device was completely powered off, wait about five seconds after releasing the Wake/Sleep button before triple pressing the Home button.

3.2: Using Siri to Turn on VoiceOver.

Once your iOS Device is powered up, you can also try to turn on VoiceOver by using Siri. Find a quiet place and do the following:

  1. Hold down the Home Button until you hear two bell tones or feel two quick vibrations.
  2. In a clear voice, full of pride and confidence say, “VoiceOver on!"
  3. Anytime from two to ten seconds later you’ll hear two higher pitched bell tones. Then your device will say, “OK, I turned Voice over on."
  4. If this doesn’t happen, repeat steps one and two, but give your device a dirty look and speak in a slower and firmer voice.

3.3: Turning on VoiceOver with Help.

If VoiceOver still doesn’t turn on, Then it's time to get some help from a sighted person. After all, sometimes, "we all need somebody to lean on," or, "we get by with a little help from our friends," and, "Everything is awesome when you're part of a team." By now you should be tired enough of song lyrics that you will ask for help. It's really OK once in a while, and it will prevent you from having to read more lyrics.

Ask the sighted person to do the following: Choose “Settings", then “General," Then “Accessibility," then scroll to the bottom and choose Accessibility Shortcut. Make sure Voiceover is the only option selected. This will ensure that tripple clicking the Home button will turn Voiceover on and off. Then ask them to hand you the iOS Device and triple click the Home button. Voiceover will turn on.

Now that VoiceOver is turned on, the next time you power up your iOS Device, VoiceOver will start automatically.

SECTION 4: Locks and Keys.

When your iOS Device is turned on, it can be in one of two modes, either awake or asleep. When it's asleep, the screen displays no items and is black. This mode prevents you from accidentally activating buttons, making phone calls, and so on. It also saves battery power.

When your iOS Device is awake, you can use it normally and have access to all its features.

In section 2.2 we mentioned the Wake/Sleep button. When your device is awake, you can press this button once to put it to sleep. You may want to do this if you know you won't need it for awhile, but you need it to be on to alert you of incoming calls or messages. Some people call this "putting the iOS Device to sleep," and others call it "locking the iOS Device," but both mean the same thing. When you press the button, Voiceover will say, "Screen Locked."

4.1: Unlocking or Waking Up Your Device.

Press the Wake/Sleep button to begin the process of waking up or unlocking your device. When you do, you are taken to the Unlock screen. Voiceover will announce the current time, which is shown at the top of the unlock screen.. If you do nothing for about 20 seconds, your iOS Device will automatically go to sleep and return to the Locked Screen.

4.2: The Explore Gesture.

As we discussed above, VoiceOver uses a series of gestures to control your device. Gestures are made by moving one or more fingers around the screen, or by tapping with one or more fingers. The Explore gesture is the simplest gesture. Simply place your finger on the touch screen and then move it around without breaking contact with the display surface. As your finger touches each item, VoiceOver will tell you what it is, and give you hints about how to access it. Drag your finger slowly and stop when VoiceOver speaks. Be sure to listen to the entire description before moving on, otherwise you might miss something important!

You perform the Explore gesture by placing a single finger on the display, and then dragging it slowly across the display in whatever direction you wish. You can even change directions while moving. If you decide to Explore a different area of the display, you can pick up your finger and put it down again in the new location. Apple calls this gesture the Touch gesture, but VoiceoverEasy.net calls it the Explore gesture, because that is more descriptive of how it is used.

As your finger touches items on the screen, Voiceover will read the text in each item. If you keep your finger still long enough, Voiceover will tell you what type of item it is, and even give you hints as to what to do next.

Let's use the Explore gesture to find out what is on the Unlock Screen. If you are on the Locked Screen, press the Wake/Sleep button once. Then use your index finger. Start at the upper left corner of the display. If nothing happens when you touch the screen, try moving your finger down a little bit until you hear Voiceover speak, or until you hear a sound somewhat like a click.

Now slowly explore with your finger in a horizontal line moving to the right. Don't lift your finger. When Voiceover starts speaking, hold your finger still until you hear the entire announcement. It's important to listen to Voiceover's entire announcement, because after telling you what is on screen, Voiceover often gives you hints as to what to do next.

Depending on a number of factors, you may hear different things read to you. For example, you may hear about the current cellular signal strength, or whether you are connected to a wireless network. You can also hear the word "Locked," meaning your iOS Device is locked, and you can hear the battery level. If you move your finger back to the center of the display, and then move slowly downward using the Explore gesture, you will hear the time and date announcements.

Gradually move your finger down the center of the display toward the Home Button. As you move down the display, you will hear a series of clicks. This is because the display is divided into an imaginary grid. As your finger moves from one grid square to the next, your iOS Device makes this sound. When your finger is slightly above the Home button, Voiceover will say, "Unlock, Button."

4.3: The Current or Focused Item.

The last item spoken by VoiceOver is important, because your next gesture will act on that item, no matter where on the display you perform it. Apple calls the last item Voiceover spoke the “Selected Item," but that can cause some confusion when working with lists of items. So VoiceoverEasy.net will refer to it as the Current, or Focused Item.

NOTE: Low vision users of Voiceover may be able to locate the Current Item visually, because Voiceover places a black box around it.

4.4: Buttons.

So far we have talked about the physical buttons on the side of your iOS Device, but there is another type of button which can appear on the display. You can't feel it, but it's there nevertheless. When a button appears on the display screen in this way, it is called a virtual button.

The last announcement made by Voiceover before you lifted your finger should have been, "Unlock, Button," which means that the Current or Focused Item is a virtual button with the text, "unlock."

Now that we know the current item is a button, how do we press it?

4.5: The Single Finger Double Tap.

When a virtual button is the Focused Item, a single finger double tap anywhere on the display will press the button and activate the corresponding function. Throughout the remainder of the Voiceover lessons the single finger double tap will be referred to as the "Activate" gesture. There are a few things to keep in mind when performing this gesture.

Keeping these things in mind go ahead and Press or Activate the button. If you do the gesture correctly, you should end up on the Passcode Screen.

4.6:Passcodes.

By default your iOS Device requires you to enter a four or six digit passcode during the initial setup process. It may seem inconvenient to have to enter this code every time you wake up your device, but this passcode is there to protect you and the data on your device. Without it anyone can access private data you store on your iOS Device. They can even erase or tamper with it. Not having a passcode on your device is like going out of the house and leaving the front door wide open.

VoiceoverEasy.net recommends in the strongest possible terms that you use a passcode. Your passcode should not be something easy to guess like your birthday, Anniversary, or any part of your social security number. Those are known as weak passcodes. Instead use something easy for you to remember, but hard for anyone to guess. Maybe part of a friends telephone number, an old locker combination, or your zip code backwards with one extra digit. In later lessons you will learn how to create more secure passcodes, but this will do for now.

4.7: The Passcode Screen.

The passcode screen has ten virtual buttons on it with the numbers 1 through 9 and zero. They are arranged just like a telephone keypad. When you are prompted to enter your passcode, use the Explore gesture to find the correct buttons, and use the Activate gesture, a single finger double tap, to press each button.

If you enter an incorrect passcode, you will be asked to try again. If you enter the code correctly, your iOS Device will chirp, and you will be taken to the Starting Home Screen.

SECTION 5: The Starting Display Layout.

Your display screen is laid out in a grid divided into three active areas . The Status Bar which runs across the top of the display. The Home Screen which is laid out in a grid of four columns by five rows in the center of the display, and the Dock which covers the bottom of the display.

5.1: The Status Bar.

The status bar is where you will find important pieces of information about the current condition of your iOS Device. Examples may include how many bars of cellular service you have, the strength of your wireless signal, whether Bluetooth is on, the current time, and how much battery you have left.

Try exploring the status bar by moving your finger from left to right across the top of the display. Don’t worry yet about what each thing means. VoiceOver will announce each item and then say, “Status Bar Item" to indicate which part of the display you are on. Go slowly and listen to everything VoiceOver has to tell you.

IMPORTANT: Move slowly and take your time as you learn VoiceOver. It has a lot of information to convey, and until you are used to it, you need to take the time to hear it all.

Notice you will hear a click as you move between items. If you move down off the status bar, you will hear a chirp as well. This tells you that you’ve moved off the Status Bar and onto a different area of the display. Move your finger back toward the top again to get back on the Status Bar.

5.2: The Home Screen.

The Home Screen is in the middle of the display and takes up the largest portion of it. When your iOS Device is held in portrait orientation, it is arranged in a grid pattern which is four columns wide by 5 rows deep. Only one item at a time can occupy a grid square. The Home Screen can have multiple pages, each of which has a four column by five row grid. We will discuss how to access the other pages in the Gestures section coming up. There are two types of items which can appear in the spaces of the Home Screen grid. They are icons and folders.

Icons.

Icons are small graphic images which vaguely represent the application or function performed when you activate them. For example the icon for the weather app appears as the sun partially obscured by a cloud. In addition to the image, icons have names. VoiceOver will read these names as your finger passes over each icon.

Folders.

Folders can contain groups of related icons, just like a file folder contains related papers. For example, if you have three icons for Games such as; Ice Village, Candy Crush and Angry Birds, you can create a folder called “Games," and store the three icons there. This saves precious grid squares in the home screen and makes it easier to organize your iOS Device.

5.3: The Dock.

The Dock is an area at the bottom of the screen where you can keep the icons for the things you use most. That way no matter which page of the home screen you are on, the icons you use most are always available without having to move through multiple pages on your Home Screen. You can use them or learn about them using the same techniques you use on the Home Screen grid.

As you move your finger across the bottom of the screen to explore the items in the Dock, VoiceOver will announce each one. You will also hear a click as you move from item to item. If you move your finger up out of the Dock area, you will hear a chirp. This is just like the behavior when you move off the status bar.

5.4: The Inactive Zones.

There are two inactive areas of the display. When your iOS Device is in Portrait Mode, one is at the top above the Status Bar. The other is at the bottom. The one at the bottom extends to the left and right of the Home Button, and for a narrow space above it. There is no tactile way to detect these inactive areas, but you need to be aware of them, because if you perform one of the VoiceOver control gestures discussed throughout these lessons, they will not work correctly if one of your fingers is in these zones. If you hold your iOS Device in Landscape orientation, these areas move to the left and right sides.

If the iPad is held in Portrait Orientation, the inactive zone can be found by imagining a line from the top of the Mute switch that runs parallel to the top edge. Anything above that line is inactive. Your iPad will stop making clicks and chirps when you move your finger into this area.

SECTION 6: Exercises.

  1. What is the difference between Portrait and Landscape orientation?
  2. With your device held in Portrait orientation, where is the wake/sleep button, and what does it do?
  3. What technique have we learned so far to turn VoiceOver on and off on your iOS Device?
  4. What is an icon, and what is a folder? What is the one thing folders can do that other icons cannot?
  5. What are VoiceOver gestures? What is the one gesture discussed so far and how do you do it?
  6. Where is the Status Bar? Use the Explore gesture with your finger. How many items are on it? If your device supports cellular service, determine how many bars of cellular signal strength you have. How much battery power is left?
  7. How can you adjust the VoiceOver volume using what we’ve talked about so far?
  8. How many items are on the starting page of your Home Screen? Name at least three
  9. Where is the Dock? What are its similarities with, and differences from the Home Screen? Name the items on the Dock from left to right.
Click here for SECTION 6 answers.

SECTION 7: Basic Navigation.

We have already discussed the Explore gesture. This is the most basic way to find things on the display. Simply move your finger till you find the item you want.

7.1: The Current Item.

The last item spoken by VoiceOver is the Current Item. This is important, because your device will act on the last item VoiceOver spoke, no matter where you perform the next gesture. Apple calls this item the “Selected Item," but that can cause some confusion when working with lists of items. So for this course, we’ll refer to it as the Current Item.

NOTE: Low vision users of Voiceover may be able to locate the Current Item visually, because Voiceover places a black box around it.

The following navigation gestures will move around the screen relative to the current item.

7.2: Single Finger Flick Left and Single Finger Flick Right.

Remember your iOS Device’s display is laid out like a grid. The one row grid at the top is called the Status Bar. The four column by five row grid in the middle is called the Home Screen, and the grid at the bottom is called the Dock.

Let’s use the Explore gesture to find the leftmost item in the Status Bar. Once you find it, lift your finger so it becomes the current Item. Now imagine that an annoying bug has crawled on to a random spot on your display, and you want to get him off as fast as possible. Don’t give him any warning by touching the display first. Quickly flick one finger at him across the display to the right so you launch him off the right hand side of your display.

If you did the gesture correctly, VoiceOver will announce the next item to the right in the Status Bar, and that item becomes the new Current item. If VoiceOver started reading something else on your screen, there are two possible causes. Either you touched the screen before you flicked, or you didn’t flick fast enough. In either case VoiceOver will interpret these actions as the Explore gesture and begin reading from where you touched the screen. If this happens, simply use the Explore gesture to find the leftmost Status Bar icon again and have at that bug one more time. Repeat the Single Finger Right Flick until you get VoiceOver to read each item in the Status Bar. You’ll know you’re at the end, because your next flick will produce a strange sound.

7.3: The “Thunk" sound.

This sound is a little bit like someone striking a small drum. When you hear this sound it means that you’ve reached the end of a screen or list and can’t flick any further in that direction.

Now that we’ve gone as far as we can in that direction, let’s go back the other way with a Single Finger Left Flick. Just launch that pesky bug off the left side of your display, and you’ll begin moving backwards through the items. Remember not to pause on the screen or go too slow. If you do, your device will think you’re Exploring instead of flicking.

NOTE: You can begin any Flick gesture from anywhere in the Home Screen or Dock. VoiceOver remembers the current item and moves from there rather than the items your finger passed over during the flick.

7.4: Three Finger Single Tap.

It’s easy to lose track of where items are as you flick through them. Knowing their position in the grid makes them easier to locate with the Explore gesture the next time you need them. You can find out where the current item is on the screen by tapping the screen once with three fingers simultaneously. Your fingers should be slightly separated, and they can touch the screen anywhere except the inactive spaces, but they must all touch at the same time. VoiceOverEasy.net will call this the “Where Am I" gesture from now on, because it tells you where the Current Item is.

Now, let’s use the Explore gesture to locate the item that displays the time in the Status Bar. With that as the current item try the “Where Am I" gesture. VoiceOver announces “Top of Screen," or "Top and Centered" followed by suggestions of follow up gestures. We’ll ignore these suggestions for now. If VoiceOver announced a different item, then one of your fingers touched the display before the other two, and VoiceOver interpreted that as an Explore gesture. Find the time display in the Status Bar and try again.

Now make the top item on the left-hand side in the Home Screen the current item and try the Three Finger Single Tap or "Where am I" gesture again. This time VoiceOver gives you a little bit more information. It says, “Row 1, Column 1, Page 1 of x" and tells you how to open the item.

Try making the first item in the Dock the Current Item, and then do the WhereAmI gesture.

7.5: Flicking through the Home Screen Grid.

Now let’s go back to the Home Screen and make the upper left item the current one. You can do this using the Explore gesture or by making any item on the Home Screen the Current Item and repeating the Single Finger Left Flick gesture until you hear the Thunk noise.

  1. Now do Three Single Finger Right Flicks. VoiceOver will announce the next three items and make the last one the Current Item.
  2. Do the Where Am I gesture. In other words the Three Finger Single Tap. VoiceOver announces, “Row 1, column 4, Page 1 of x, Top of Screen," followed by other information which we will ignore for now.
  3. Do a Single Finger Right Flick.
  4. Do the Where Am I gesture. Notice VoiceOver now begins with “Row 2, Column 1. Unlike flicking through the Status Bar, when you flick through the Home Screen and Dock, VoiceOver will advance to the next row automatically. Rows are numbered top to bottom, and columns are numbered left to right.
  5. VoiceOver backs up rows automatically as well. Do a Single Finger Left Flick. The VoiceOver announcement begins with “Row 1, Column 4."

NOTE: When "Where Am I" describes locations, it considers the Status Bar and the first two rows of the Home Page grid to be the top of the screen. Rows 3 and 4 of the Home Page grid are the center of the screen. Row 5 of the Home Page grid is considered the center or bottom of the screen depending on your device. Everything under Row 5, including the Dock is considered the bottom of the screen.

Rules for Flicking.

From now on for purposes of clarity we will refer to the Single Finger Right Flick as the “Next Item" gesture, and the Single Finger Left Flick as the “Previous Item" gesture.

NOTE: In Western Countries reading order is left to right and top to bottom. VoiceOver is actually scanning the display in the same order, but sometimes the Next and Previous Item gestures appear to read the screen in a different order then you would expect after using the Explore gesture. This is because if the item on the right is taller than the item on the left, VoiceOver will encounter it first and read it ahead of the item on the left.

For example, the Reminders Application displays your tasks in a list. There's a checkbox on the left side of each row followed by the name of the task to its right. However, since the Task Name is taller than the check box, VoiceOver will read the item on the right first. The Next Item gesture, a single finger flick right, causes VoiceOver to read the check box second. This could mislead you into thinking the Check box is on the right of the Task Name rather than the left where it really is.

7.6: Two Finger Flick Up.

The Next Item and Previous Item gestures begin from the location of the Current Item, but suppose you want to hear every item on the screen. You can do this by swiping up the screen with two fingers. VoiceOver will start reading everything on the screen beginning with the first item below the Status Bar.

7.7: Two Finger Flick Down.

Maybe you don’t want to hear the entire screen. Perhaps you only want to hear the screen from the Current Item to the bottom. Then the Two Finger Flick Down is for you! There are some things you need to keep in mind about this gesture.

When VoiceOver finishes reading the Home Page and the Dock, you will hear the Thunk sound. From now on we will refer to the Two Finger Flick Up gesture as the "Read Top Down" gesture and the Two Finger Flick Down as the “Read to Bottom" gesture.

7.8: Two Finger Single Tap.

Suppose VoiceOver is reading and you suddenly hear the item that you are looking for. You need a way to pause VoiceOver so you can work with that item. The Two Finger Single Tap is it. This acts like the Play/Pause button on your DVR or book reader. If you want VoiceOver to pick up where it left off, Two Finger Single Tap again.

IMPORTANT! Be careful. If you just do a Single Finger Tap, your device will stop reading, but it will interpret this as an Explore gesture, and the Current Item will become the item you just tapped. This is probably not what you wanted, and you cannot use the Single Finger Double Tap to resume reading again.

Let’s call the Two Finger Single Tap gesture the “Pause/Resume" gesture from now on.

7.9: Three Finger Flick Left and Three Finger Flick Right.

The home screen grid can have multiple pages. These pages are arranged horizontally like the pages of a fold out pamphlet. Everything done so far has been done on the starting page of the Home screen grid. You can find out how many pages are currently on the grid by making any item on the Home Screen grid the Current Item. Then do the Where Am I gesture. After announcing the Row and Column Numbers VoiceOver says, “Page 1 of x," where X will be the total number of pages.

In order to move to the next page on the grid you can take three fingers and flick them across the display from right to left so that they make three horizontal parallel lines. This works best if you separate your fingers a little bit.

Rules for the Next and Previous Page Gestures.

If you do these gestures correctly, VoiceOver will begin its next announcement with “Page x of y," where X is the number of the page you’re on, and Y is the number of pages on the grid. VoiceOver then announces the top left item on the new page and makes it the Current Item. If you do the flick and hear the Thunk sound, then there are no more pages In that direction.

Give it a try. Use the Three Finger Flick Left gesture to scroll right to the next grid page. What’s the first item on that page?

Again, for purposes of clarity we’ll call the Three Finger Flick Left gesture the “Next Page" gesture. The Three Finger Flick Right gesture from now on will be the “Previous Page "gesture.

NOTE: If you are on the first page of the Home Screen and you perform a Previous Screen gesture, a three finger flick left, you will go to the Spotlight Search screen. More about that in an upcoming lesson. If this happens, simply press the Home button to return to the Home Screen Grid.

7.10: Picker Items.

There is another way to change pages. Immediately above the first item in the dock is an item that VoiceOver reads as "Page 1 of x, Adjustable," where x is the number of pages on the Home Screen grid. With this item as the current item you can do a single finger flick up or a single finger double tap to increment the page. A single finger flick down will decrement the page. When you hear the Thunk sound, you cannot go any further in that direction.

The item that changes the page number is called a Picker Item," even though in this case VoiceOver doesn't announce it as such. Picker items usually contain numbers, weekdays or months. When a Picker item is the Current Item, you can increment or decrement the value with a single finger flick up or down respectively.

VoiceOver will give you an indication you are on a Picker Item either by saying, "Picker Item" in its announcement, or by ending its announcement with the word "Adjustable."

Some Picker Items are cyclic, meaning that if you try to go past their largest or smallest value, they will cycle around to the bottom or top of the list. For example a picker item that shows months will cycle through the months in order until December. If you increment again past December, it cycles around to January. If you try to decrement below January, it cycles around to December.

7.11: The Increment and Decrement Gestures.

From now on when a Picker Item is the Current Item, we will refer to the single finger flick up and the single finger flick down as the "Increment" and "Decrement" gestures respectively.

7.12: Another Look at the Dock.

While you’re not on the starting Page of the grid, take a moment to look down at the Dock area. Notice that the same icons appear there that appeared when Page one was visible. This is the advantage of the Dock. You can keep the icons you use the most on the Dock. That way they are visible no matter what Home Screen grid page you’re on. Now let’s return to Page 1 of the Home Screen grid by using the Three Finger Right Flick or by decrementing the Page Picker Item.

SECTION 8: Other VoiceOver Gestures

8.1: Three Finger Double Tap

This is the Toggle Speech gesture. It toggles the VoiceOver speech off and on. Once you turn VoiceOver speech off this way, you can only turn speech on again with the same gesture. If your screen locks while speech is off, you can press the Home button once, and then do a three finger double tap to turn speech back on again.

8.2: Three Finger Triple Tap

This is the Toggle Screen Curtain gesture. It turns off the display so that no one can see what you are doing. You toggle the display on again by repeating the gesture.

8.3: Four Finger Double Tap, VoiceOver Help Mode.

This gesture turns on VoiceOver help. It’s a little tricky to tap with four fingers at the same time. So it may take one or two tries until you get it right. If you can't seem to get this gesture using four fingers from one hand, try using two fingers from each hand to make the gesture.

When you have done the gesture correctly, VoiceOver will say, "Starting help," and then wait for you to try a gesture. Once you activate help, you can make gestures on your display and VoiceOver will tell you what gesture it thinks you just made and what it does.

While you have help on, try the gestures we’ve talked about so far. Remember that Apple calls the Explore gesture the Touch gesture. Try the Next Item and Previous Item gestures at different rates of speed to see what happens. When you are finished, press the Home Button to exit help.

Exiting Help Mode.

There are three ways to exit help mode. Two of them use gestures we've already talked about. You can perform a four finger double tap, or press the Home button once. The third way uses the two finger scrub gesture described in the next section.

8.4: The Two Finger Scrub or Z scrub.

To make this gesture take two fingers, usually your Index and Middle fingers, and spread them a little bit apart. Then in one continuous movement slide them from left to right near the top of the screen, then diagonally down and to the left. Then move them horizontally left to right again. The shape you make is of a printed capital letter "Z" as in Zulu. Be careful not to lift your fingers or pause too long as you change directions.

This gesture has several functions depending on what screen or menu you have open.

SECTION 9: Review.

We have learned quite a few VoiceOver gestures by now. Let’s review them and what they do.

New Gesture Table.
Gesture Name. Motion. Function.
Explore. Move one finger around the screen without breaking contact with the surface. Apple also refers to this as the "Touch" gesture. VoiceOver reads everything your finger passes over. The last item your finger touched becomes the Current Item.
Activate. Single Finger Double Tap, or Split Tap, presses a button. Other functions will be discussed in Lesson 2.
Next Item. Single Finger Flick Right. Reads the next item in the grid and makes it the Current Item.
Previous Item. Single Finger Flick Left. Reads the previous item in the grid and makes it the Current Item.
Where Am I. Three Finger Single Tap. Gives you information about the location of the Current Item on the display.
Read Top Down. Two Finger Flick Up. Causes VoiceOver to begin reading from the top of the screen just below the Status Bar.
Read to Bottom. Two Finger Flick Down. Causes VoiceOver to read from the Current Item to the bottom of the Dock.
Pause/Resume. Two Finger Single Tap. Pauses VoiceOver. The item VoiceOver began reading last becomes the Current Item. Restarts VoiceOver from where it paused.
Previous Page. Three Finger Flick Right. Moves through the pages of the Home Screen Grid in descending order.
Next Page . Three Finger Flick Left. Moves through the pages of the Home Screen Grid in ascending order.
Toggle Speech. Three Finger Double Tap. Turns off Speech until you turn it on with the same gesture.
Screen Curtain Toggle. Three Finger Triple Tap. Toggles the display on and off.
VoiceOver Help. Four Finger Double Tap. Turns VoiceOver gesture help/practice on.
Increment. Single Finger flick up.
or single finger double tap
When a Picker Item is active, this gesture increments its value by one.
Decrement. Single Finger flick down. When a Picker Item is active, this gesture decrements its value by one.

9.1: The Current Item.

Knowing which item is the Current Item is very important. Remember that the Current Item is the item that will be acted on by your next gesture.

9.2: Item Review.

So far we have covered these items which can appear on your display.

Table of Item Types.
Item Type Description.
Buttons These are items that you can press using the Activate gesture.
Status Bar. The status bar appears at the top of the display. It is where you will find important pieces of information about the current condition of your iOS Device. Examples may include how many bars of cellular signal strength you have, how strong is your wireless signal, whether Bluetooth is on, the current time, and how much battery you have left. The Status Bar cannot become the current Item, but the icons within it can.
Dock. The Dock is an area at the bottom of the screen that holds icons for the things you use most. That way no matter which page of the home screen you are on they are always available.
Icons. Icons are small graphic images which vaguely represent the application or function performed when you activate them.
Folders. Folders can contain groups of related icons, just like a file folder contains related papers.
Picker Item. Picker items allow you to increment or decrement their values by a single finger flick up or down. The flick does not have to take place on the item. Anywhere in the display will do. VoiceOver indicates a Picker item by ending its announcement with the word "Adjustable."

SECTION 10: Exercises.

  1. Using the Explore gesture try to find the battery level indicator. Hint, it’s in the Status Bar. How much battery power do you have left?
  2. Use the Explore gesture again to find the “Mail" icon. Then use Where Am I to have VoiceOver tell you it’s exact location.
  3. Use the Next Item gesture to find what icon comes after the Mail icon in the Dock.
  4. Use the Previous Item gesture to find out what icon comes before Reminders.
  5. What part of the screen is the News icon in? Use the Where Am I gesture to get the exact row and column number in the grid.
  6. How do you get VoiceOver to begin reading all the items below the Status Bar starting with the first? What gesture makes it pause before it reaches the end and sets the last item spoken to the Current Item?
  7. Use the Read Top Down gesture to have VoiceOver begin reading the icons on the Home Screen. Pause VoiceOver when it reads the Music folder. Use the Where Am I gesture to determine the Row and Column number of that folder.
  8. Make VoiceOver read all the icons beginning with the Reminders icon and ending at the last icon in the Dock.
  9. Use the Read Top Down gesture or the Next and Previous Item gestures until you find the Messages icon. Then use the Where Am I gesture to hear its location on the display.
  10. Based on what you heard from the Where Am I gesture, try to find the Messages icon as soon as you touch the display with the Explore gesture. If it’s not the first icon VoiceOver reads, pick up your finger and try again.
  11. Try repeating questions 9 and 10, but this time try it with the Clock icon.
  12. Try the same thing with the Weather icon. As you become more familiar with the layout of your device, you will be able to rely less on gestures that navigate your screen sequentially like Next Item, Previous Item, Read Top –Down and Read to Bottom. Instead, you’ll be able to jump right to the item you want with the Explore gesture.
  13. Scroll to the next page to the right. How many items are in the Home Screen grid on that page?
  14. What happens if you use the Scroll Page Right gesture again?
  15. What is special about the Dock area?
  16. What do the Triple Finger Double Tap and Triple Finger Triple Tap gestures do?

Click here for SECTION 10 answers.

Congratulations! You’ve learned how to get around your new device. Take a break . In Lesson 2 you will learn more advanced VoiceOver gestures such as; how to activate items, navigate lists and do some simple typing.

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

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