Blind Bargains

Focusing on VoiceOver: a Quick Summary of Changes in iOS 7

In June we learned about the 200 new features that would be coming in iOS 7. Most of the announced changes though had nothing to do with accessibility. With this in mind, we wanted to bring you a list of the changes that would be coming for VoiceOver users. To begin let's start with how you set VoiceOver to the settings you want.

VoiceOver Menu in Settings

Much of this menu is the same, but there are some key changes. Let's start with Braille. For those that use a braille display, you will now have the option of choosing your braille table regardless of what language or dialect you choose as your Voiceover voice. This means if you choose to use the Australian voice, you can use the US braille table without having to change your voice back to US English. Even though the Braille Authority of North America voted to change to the Unified Braille Code, the US English braille table has not changed. Other changes in this menu include being able to turn on nemeth code equations and the on screen keyboard.

Next, we'll talk about the rotor. There are three additions to the rotor. These include: Containers, Sounds, and Handwriting. Containers serve as a way to move from the top of the screen to the bottom of the screen with one swipe up or down. Sounds is where you have the option of turning off the sounds that Voiceover makes when you're using gestures. . This feature may be useful when making recordings because it will not hear the sounds that VoiceOver usually makes. . Finally, handwriting allows you to use your finger to write out the letters of apps that you want to open, or you can use this feature when you're in a text field to avoid using the on screen keyboard. We will be bringing you a tutorial about this new feature.

Next is the new menu called Languages and Dialects. This is where you choose the languages you want to use with VoiceOver. Unlike previous versions of iOS you can now set your default dialect to another language without changing the keyboard. You can also have as many high quality voices as you choose. It's important to remember that the high quality voices take up more space, but if you want to switch between voices you can now have high quality with all of your voices.

The final change to the VoiceOver menu is the large cursor. For low vision users that use voiceOver, you can now have the option of a large cursor to help you keep track of the cursor location on screen.

Using VoiceOver With the New iOS 7 Features

One of the new features in this operating system is the Control Center. This menu gives you quick access to turning airplane mode, wi/fi, blutooth, do not disturb, and lock orientation on or off. It also is where you can change your screen brightness and control the music you're playing. Finally, you can open the following apps from this menu: flashlight, clock, calculator, and camera. to access the Control Center, tap on the status bar and swipe up with three fingers.

The app switcher has also undergone some changes, and is no longer multiple pages. To see what apps you have open, just continue to swipe to the right. to close an app, simply swipe down with one finger and select close. You can alternately swipe up with three fingers and that will close the app without having to select close.

Finally, Siri brings with it several improvements. VoiceOver users will now have a distinction between Siri and VoiceOver, including the two new voices. Also, when you're doing a task that involves Siri asking you a question, you will no longer have to hit the listen button again to answer the question. It works just like it would if VoiceOver was turned off. You can also use Siri to change settings including turning VoiceOver on and off and opening the VoiceOver settings.

Category: Software

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For the past three years Alena has been a feature writer for the online magazine Matilda Ziegler. She has also been a contractor for the Oregon Commission for the Blind, helping blind adults learn to use adaptive technology. She is studying to be a teacher of the visually impaired at Portland State. You might also recognize her from the Serotalk podcast Triple Click Home.

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