[macvoiceover] Re: voiceover in snow leopard prepare to learn:

  • From: Marie Howarth <marie.jane2005@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: macvoiceover@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 9 Jun 2009 16:52:16 +0100

I am very excited about this. and cannot wait until September to purchase Snow Leopard.

Good on Apple!

On Jun 9, 2009, at 4:26 PM, David Poehlman wrote:


I know it's not coming till September and someof you have or will read apple.com/accessibility and the info is "subject to change". Here below though is some info that may give some a jump start on what is coming and how it will work. I'll be posting more info when I find it available and relay it from personal experience and encourage others to do the same.

---begin guide:---

Every Mac comes standard with a wide range of assistive technologies that help people with disabilities experience what the Mac has to offer. We call this Universal Access, and it includes many features you won’t find in other operating systems at any price. In Mac OS X, they’re built right in. And now, the innovations in Snow Leopard advance accessibility even further.

VoiceOver screen-reading built in.
Mac OS X is the first operating system to include as a standard feature an advanced screen-reading technology, which is called VoiceOver. Much more than simply a text-to-speech tool, VoiceOver makes it possible for those who are blind or have low vision to control their computer. It features a unique voice — based on speech technology invented by Apple — that delivers amazing intelligibility and natural intonation even at speaking rates up to 700 words per minute. And with Snow Leopard, VoiceOver gets more powerful and easier to use.

Now the trackpad is the screen.

VoiceOver in Mac OS X Snow Leopard offers a breakthrough new capability: You can control your computer using gestures on a Multi- Touch trackpad even if you can’t see the screen. The trackpad surface on your Mac notebook represents the active window on your computer, so you can touch to hear the item under your finger, drag to hear items continuously as you move your finger, and flick with one finger to move to the next or previous item. You’ll hear how items are arranged on the screen, and you can jump directly to an item just by touching the corresponding location on the trackpad. For example, you can drag your finger around the trackpad to learn how items are arranged in a web page, a spreadsheet, a presentation, or any document with text. The more you touch, the more information you gather.

More braille support,
greater collaboration.
The Mac is the only computer that supports braille displays right out of the box. Snow Leopard broadens this built-in support by including the latest drivers for over 40 models, including wireless Bluetooth displays. Just connect one and start using it — no additional software installation necessary.

Snow Leopard also introduces a new feature, called braille mirroring, that enables multiple USB braille displays to be connected to one computer simultaneously. It’s perfect for classroom settings, where teachers can lead all of their students through the same lesson at the same time, even if the students are using different display models.

World-class web browsing.
VoiceOver in Snow Leopard offers new capabilities that make web browsing easier, faster, and more enjoyable. VoiceOver has been updated to take full advantage of powerful multicore processors, so it can scan and analyze large, complex web pages quickly and allow you to enter commands right away.

VoiceOver will begin reading an entire web page automatically after it loads, and you can use key commands or gestures to control VoiceOver as it’s talking. To help you more quickly size up web pages you haven’t visited before, VoiceOver can provide a customizable web page summary, including the title, number of tables, headers, links, form elements, and more.

Snow Leopard fully supports HTML web tables without the need for a forms or table mode. You navigate tables using the same commands you already know. You can hear the contents of a table, including the column title and column and row number, by dragging your finger across the trackpad or using simple keystrokes.

The rotor.
Instead of forcing you to memorize keyboard shortcuts to navigate around the screen, VoiceOver offers a unique virtual control called a rotor. When you turn it — by rotating two fingers on the trackpad as if you were turning a dial — VoiceOver moves through text based on a setting you choose. For example, after setting the rotor to “Word” or “Character,” each time you flick, VoiceOver moves through the text one word at a time or one character at a time — perfect when you’re proofreading or editing text.

You can also use the rotor to navigate web pages. When you’re on a web page, the rotor contains the names of common items, such as headers, links, tables, images, and more. You select a setting, then flick up or down to move to the previous or next occurrence of that item on the page, skipping over items in between.

Faster keyboard navigation.
A new feature called Quick Nav uses arrow key combinations to move the VoiceOver cursor so you can control the computer using just one hand without the need for modifer keys. For example, you can move up, down, left, and right by pressing the arrow keys individually, or press the up and down arrows together to press a button or click a web link. Other combinations let you adjust the rotor and move the VoiceOver cursor according to the setting. With Quick Nav, you’ll be navigating and reading documents and web pages in no time.

Find information fast with auto web spots.
Many web pages are filled with complex design elements or lack useful HTML tags, making them difficult to convey through a screen reader. So Apple invented new technologies to comprehend and interpret the visual design of web pages, then use the information to assign virtual tags called “auto web spots” to mark important locations on the page. If you’re on a newspaper website, for example, there might be an auto web spot for each lead story, another for a box containing weather or sports scores, and so on. You can jump from web spot to web spot with a keystroke or the flick of a finger. And if there’s a particular feature on a site you visit often, you can assign a “sweet spot” on that page so that VoiceOver will go there first when the page opens.

Create custom labels.
Sometimes items in applications are not well labeled, so VoiceOver can describe them only with vague terms like “blank,” “empty,” or “button.” If you know what the item is or have sighted assistance, you can assign a custom label. The next time you visit the item, VoiceOver will describe it using your label. You can add as many labels as you like and export your labels to a file that can be shared with other VoiceOver users.

More customization options.
Now you have even more ways to customize VoiceOver. You can change the way VoiceOver speaks punctuation, identifies changes in text attributes, announces links, and more. Choose one of three standard verbosity levels — high, medium, and low — or customize them by adjusting 30 separate settings. You can also change the order in which descriptions are spoken and how much description you hear.

Snow Leopard also introduces VoiceOver Commanders, a new category in VoiceOver Utility that lets you assign keys and gestures to open an application, utility, or file; run an AppleScript or Automator workflow; or perform a VoiceOver command. Commanders can help thosewith physical and learning disabilities by simplifying complex multikey shortcuts and making commands easier to reach and enter. Choose the Numpad Commander, Keyboard Commander, or Trackpad Commander and begin customizing VoiceOver to suit the way you work.

Every Mac includes a built-in VoiceOver tutorial called Quick Start. It’s the fastest way to learn VoiceOver. Your Mac starts talking soon after you turn it on and teaches you how to begin the Quick Start tutorial. If someone sets up your computer for you, you’ll get an invitation to open Quick Start the first time you activate VoiceOver. Quick Start teaches you the keys on the keyboard, basic VoiceOver commands, and gestures, and it provides an environment where you can learn at your own pace and practice your skills. It’s localized in 18 languages, including nine new ones, so when you add voices to your Mac (sold separately), you can hear Quick Start in your native language.

All features of Snow Leopard are subject to change.

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