[macvoiceover] The iPhone and accessibility, good stuff!

  • From: Keith Reedy <wa9dro@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: macvoiceover@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 14 Jun 2009 06:15:52 -0400

Hi folks,

This was written by a friend of mine, its really good.

Keith Reedy


(Edited/Formatted  by Mark Taylor)  

The following information has been compiled, edited, and formatted for those 
reading with either a screen reader, screen magnifier, or refreshable Braille 
iPhone 3G S Accessibility Features
In addition to the many features that make iPhone easy to use for everyone, the 
accessibility features available on iPhone 3G S are designed to make it easier 
for users with visual, auditory, or other physical disabilities to use iPhone. 
The iPhone 3G S accessibility features include:



White on Black

Mono Audio

Speak Auto-text

With the exception of VoiceOver, these accessibility features work with all 
iPhone applications, including third-party applications you download from the 
App Store. VoiceOver works with all applications that come preinstalled on 
iPhone. In addition, third-party developers can use the iPhone Accessibility 
API to make their applications accessible for VoiceOver users.

Individual accessibility features can be turned on and off in the Accessibility 
settings on iPhone 3G S. You can also turn accessibility features on or off in 
iTunes when iPhone 3G S is connected to your computer. 

Turn accessibility features on or off in iTunes:
Connect iPhone 3G S to your computer.

In iTunes, select iPhone in the sidebar.

In the Summary pane, click Configure Universal Access in the Options section.

Select the accessibility features that you want to use and click OK.
Setting Up VoiceOver
IMPORTANT: VoiceOver changes the gestures used to control iPhone. Once 
VoiceOver is turned on, you have to use VoiceOver        gestures to operate 
iPhone?even for turning VoiceOver off again to resume standard operation.

Turn VoiceOver on or off:  
In Settings, choose General - Accessibility - VoiceOver and tap the VoiceOver 
On/Off switch.

NOTE: You cannot use VoiceOver and Zoom at the same time.
Turn spoken hints on or off:  
In Settings, choose General - Accessibility - VoiceOver, and tap the Speak 
Hints On/Off switch. Spoken hints are turned on by default.
Set the VoiceOver speaking rate:  
In Settings, choose General - Accessibility - VoiceOver, and adjust the 
Speaking Rate slider.

You can choose what kind of feedback you get when you type. You can set 
VoiceOver to speak characters, words, both, or nothing. If you choose to hear 
both characters and words, VoiceOver speaks each character as you type it, then 
speaks the whole word when you finish it by entering a space or punctuation.
Choose typing feedback:  
In Settings, choose General - Accessibility - VoiceOver - Typing Feedback, then 
choose Characters, Words, Characters and Words, or Nothing.
Change the language spoken by VoiceOver:  
In Settings, choose General - International - Language, then select a language 
and tap OK. Some languages may be influenced by the Region Local setting. In 
Settings, choose General - International - Region Format and select the format.

NOTE: VoiceOver does not work with Hebrew, Arabic, or Coatian.
VoiceOver Gestures 
When VoiceOver is turned on, the standard touchscreen gestures have different 
results. These and additional gestures allow you to move around the screen and 
to control the individual elements when they?re selected. VoiceOver gestures 
include using two and three fingers to tap or flick. For best results using 
two- and three-finger gestures, relax and let your fingers touch the screen 

You can use many different techniques to enter VoiceOver gestures. For example, 
you can enter a two-finger tap using two fingers from one hand, or one finger 
from each hand. You can also use your thumbs. Try different techniques to 
discover which works best for you.

Following is a summary of some of the VoiceOver gestures.
Navigate and Read
Tap:  Speak item.

Flick right or left:  Select next or previous item.

Flick up or down:  Depends on Rotor Control setting. See Rotor Control.

Two-finger tap:  Stop speaking current item.

Two-finger flick up:  Read all from top of screen.

Two-finger flick down:  Read all from current position.

Three-finger flick up or down:  Scroll one page at a time.

Three-finger flick right or left:  Go to next or previous page (such as Home 
screen, Stocks, Safari).

Three-finger tap:  Speak the scroll status (which page or rows are visible).
Select and Activate
Double-tap:  Activate selected item.

Touch an item with one finger, tap the screen with another finger (?split 
tapping?):  Activate item.

Double-tap and hold (1 second) + standard gesture:  Use a standard gesture.

The double-tap and hold gesture tells iPhone to interpret the subsequent 
gesture as a standard one. For example, you can double-tap and hold, then 
without lifting your finger, drag your finger to slide a switch.

Two-finger double tap:  Answer or end a call. Play or pause (iPod, YouTube, 
Voice Memos, Photos). Take a picture (Camera). Start or pause recording 
(Camera, Voice Memos).

Three-finger double tap:  Mute or unmute VoiceOver.

Three-finger triple tap:  Turn the screen curtain on or off.

NOTE: Single-finger flicking gestures must be done quickly to distinguish them 
from dragging gestures.
Roter Control
The rotor control is an invisible dial that you can use to change the results 
of up and down flick gestures when VoiceOver is turned on.

Operate a rotor:  
Rotate two fingers on the iPhone screen to ?turn? the dial to choose between 

The effect of the rotor depends on what you?re doing. For example, if you?re 
reading text in an email you received, you can use the rotor to switch between 
hearing text spoken word-by-word or character-by-character when you flick up or 
down. If you?re browsing a webpage, use the rotor to choose whether you hear 
text word-by-word or character-by-character, hear just the headers, hear just 
the links (all of them, visited links, or links not yet visited), hear form 
elements, or hear descriptions of images. In other words, you can use the rotor 
setting to hear all the text, or to jump from one element to another of a 
certain type, such as headers or links.

Rotor options depend on the context of what you?re doing.

Reading text
Select and hear:

text character-by-character

text word-by-word

Browsing a webpage
Select and hear:

text character-by-character

text word-by-word


all links

form elements

links visited

links not visited


Entering text
Move insertion point and hear:

text character-by-character

text word-by-word


Using a control (such as the spinner used to set the time in Clock)
Select and hear:

value character-by-character

value word-by-word

Or, adjust the value of the control object.
Using VoiceOver
Select items on the screen:  
Drag your finger over the screen. VoiceOver identifies each element as you 
touch it. You can also move systematically from one element to the next by 
flicking left or right with a single finger. Elements are selected from 
left-to-right, top-to-bottom. Flick right to go to the next element, or flick 
left to go to the previous element.

?Tap? a selected item when VoiceOver is turned on:  
Double-tap anywhere on the screen. 

Speak the text of an element, character by character or word by word:  
With the element selected, flick up or down with one finger. Flick down to read 
the next character, or flick up to read the previous character. Twist the rotor 
control to read word by word.

Enter text:  
Select a key on the keyboard by flicking left or right, then double-tap to 
enter the character. Or drag you finger around the keyboard to select a key 
and, while holding the key with one finger, tap the screen with another finger 
to enter the character. VoiceOver speaks the key when it?s selected and again 
when it?s entered. 

Flick up or down to move the insertion point forward or backward in the text. 
VoiceOver makes a sound when the insertion point moves and speaks the character 
to the right of the insertion point. Use the Rotor to select moving the 
insertion point by character or by word.

To enter an accented character, double-tap and hold until you hear a sound that 
indicates the alternate characters have appeared, then drag left or right to 
select and hear the choices. Release your finger to enter the current selection.

Adjust a slider:  
With a single finger, flick up to increase the setting or down to decrease the 
setting. VoiceOver announces the setting as you adjust it.

Scroll a list or area of the screen:  
Flick up or down with three fingers. Flick down to scroll down, or flick up to 
scroll up. If you?re scrolling through a list, VoiceOver speaks the range of 
items displayed (for example, ?showing rows 5 through 10?). Areas are scrolled 
in sections, and VoiceOver tells you which section is visible as you scroll.

For best results using three-finger gestures, relax and let your fingers touch 
the screen naturally.

Unlock iPhone:  
Select the Unlock switch, then double-tap the screen.

Mute VoiceOver: 
Double-tap with three fingers. Double-tap again with three fingers to turn 
speaking back on. To turn off only VoiceOver sounds, set the Ring/Silent switch 
to Silent.

Stop speaking an item: 
Tap once with two fingers. Speaking automatically resumes when you select 
another item.

Turn off the display while you use VoiceOver (?Screen Curtain?): 
Triple-tap with three fingers. Triple-tap again with three fingers to turn on 
the display again.

Speak entire screen from the top (?Read All?): 
Flick up with two fingers.

Speak from current item to bottom of screen: 
Flick down with two fingers.

Status information about iPhone can be heard by touching the top of the screen. 
This can include the time, battery life, Wi-Fi signal strength, and more.
Turn Zoom on or off:  
In Settings, choose General - Accessibility - Zoom and tap the Zoom On/Off 

NOTE: You cannot use VoiceOver and Zoom at the same time.

Zoom in or out:  
Double-tap the screen with three fingers. By default, the screen is magnified 
by 200 percent. If you manually change the magnification (by using the 
tap-and-drag gesture, described below), iPhone automatically returns to that 
magnification when you zoom in by double-tapping with three fingers.

Increase magnification:  
With three fingers, tap and drag toward the top of the screen (to increase 
magnification) or toward the bottom of the screen (to decrease magnification). 
The tap-and-drag gesture is similar to a double-tap, except you don?t lift your 
fingers on the second tap?instead, drag your fingers on the screen. Once you 
start dragging, you can drag with a single finger.

For best results using three-finger gestures, relax and let your fingers touch 
the screen naturally.

Move around the screen:  
When zoomed in, drag or flick the screen with three fingers. Once you start 
dragging, you can drag with a single finger so that you can see more of the 
screen. Hold a single finger near the edge of the display to pan to that side 
of the screen image. Move your finger closer to the edge to pan more quickly. 
When you open a new screen, Zoom always goes to the top-middle of the
White on Black
Use White on Black to invert the colors on the iPhone display, which may make 
it easier to read the screen. The screen looks like a photographic negative 
when White on Black is turned on.

Invert the screen?s colors:  
In Settings, choose General - Accessibility and tap the ?White on Black? switch.
Mono Audio
Mono Audio
Mono Audio combines the sound of the left and right channels into a mono signal 
played on both sides. This enables users with hearing impairment in one ear to 
hear the entire sound signal with the other ear.

Turn Mono Audio on or off:  
In Settings, choose General - Accessibility and tap the Mono Audio switch.
Speak Auto-text
Speak Auto-text speaks the text corrections and suggestions iPhone makes when 
you?re typing.

Turn Speak Auto-text on or off:  
In Settings, choose General - Accessibility and tap the Speak Auto-text switch.

Speak Auto-text also works with VoiceOver or Zoom.
Closed Captioning
You can turn on closed captioning for videos in iPod settings. See Video.
Voice Control
Voice Control (iPhone 3G S only) lets you make phone calls and control iPod 
music playback by using voice commands. See Voice Dialing, and Using Voice 
Control with iPod.
Large Phone Keypad
Make phone calls simply by tapping entries in your contacts and favorites 
lists. When you need to dial a number, iPhone?s large numeric keypad makes it 
easy. See Making Calls.
Widescreen Keyboards
Several applications let you rotate iPhone when you?re typing so that you can 
use a larger keyboard:





Visual Voicemail
The play and pause controls in visual voicemail let you control the playback of 
messages. Drag the playhead on the scrubber bar to repeat a portion of the 
message that?s hard to understand. See Checking Voicemail.
Downloadable, Assignable Ringtones
You can download and assign distinctive ringtones to individuals in your 
contacts list for audible caller ID. Create and download additional ringtones 
of your favorite songs from the iTunes Store (sold separately; not available in 
all regions). See Setting Ringtones and Creating Ringtones.
Instant Messaging (IM) Chat
The App Store features many Internet Messaging (IM) applications such as AIM, 
BeejiveIM, ICQ, and Yahoo! Messenger that are optimized for iPhone.
Minimum Font Size for Mail Messages
To increase readability, set a minimum font size for Mail message text to 
Large, Extra Large, or Giant. See Mail.
TTY Support (Available in Some Areas)
Use iPhone in TTY mode with the iPhone TTY Adapter (available separately) to 
use a Teletype (TTY) machine. See Using iPhone with a Teletype (TTY) Machine.
Universal Access in Mac OS X
Take advantage of the Universal Access features in Mac OS X when you use iTunes 
to sync information and content from your iTunes library to iPhone. In the 
Finder, choose Help - Mac Help, then search for ?universal access.?

For more information about iPhone and Mac OS X accessibility features, go to 

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