Archive for the ‘VoiceOver’ Category
This new Apple device is already getting good reviews– and it does not surprise. The built in accessibility features and the enhanced use of VoiceOver in iBooks 3.0 with PDF support make it an even better product to use for users with disabilities.
I’m happy with my iPad 2, but if someone wanted to throw this device my way for testing I’d oblige .
Great news! This will expand the capability of providing digital texts to students who utilize text-to-voice technology!
Independent introductory video on using VoiceOver in iBooks:
This user (lfperez72) has a lot of useful videos on how to use VO on YouTube!
Also check out:
Here’s the latest release of another product that will go viral. What’s not discussed is the fact that all the Apple devices (iPads, iTouch, iPhone, Apple TV, iMac, MacBook) have the same ACCESSIBLE operating systems available to ALL users.
VoiceOver for the iPad responds to a wide range of gestures, far more than listed on the VoiceOver settings page. You can change how VoiceOver reads a page (e.g., continuously) and how it scrolls through text, raise or lower a screen curtain (turns the screen black), and change settings on the fly (e.g., turn speech on/off). The gestures involve various taps and flicks with one, two, three, or four fingers, and a “rotor” as if you were turning a physical knob on the page.
Just as importantly, VoiceOver also changes how the iPad responds to standard gestures, which can get pretty frustrating if you don’t know why, for example, you can’t turn the pages in an iBook with the usual single-finger flick.
As I was compiling a list of these gestures from various sources, I thought, “Surely someone else has summarized these in one convenient place.” Well, duh — Apple’s online iPad User Guide! (Can’t believe I didn’t think of this earlier!)
Go to Chapter 16: Accessibility, page 108 for a list of all the possible taps, flicks, and twists and what they do. After experimenting with these, I have to say that I am a lot more impressed with VoiceOver on the iPad as a reading and accessibility tool.
I agree with the other posters — if all the student needs to do is hear computer text read aloud to her (from the Web, from Word, from e-mail, etc.) and perhaps have those words or sentences highlighted as they’re read, software like Kurzweil, etc. would be overkill and a simple solution like GhostReader ($40) should be adequate. Selected text is copied into a separate window and highlighted as read, or you can simply point to text and have it read (but not highlighted). (BTW, Ghostreader can also create MP3 audio from the spoken text, if that’s helpful.)
VoiceOver was primarily designed for users with visual impairments and is not ideal for LD users (as it both reads the text and describes the screen), but it can be configured to work a little better. Here’s what I do: If you open the VoiceOver Utility (from the Universal Access preferences panel), there are several tweaks available for verbosity, speech, visual display, etc. For LD users, I go to Verbosity and turn off punctuation, text attributes, and several others. Under Speech, I click the Voices tab, then the little arrow next to “Voices” which allows me to choose the voice, and more importantly the volume and rate, for each class of things to be read — Content, Status, Attributes, etc. I set the Content voice’s volume at 100 (the maximum) and the others at 1 (unfortunately, there’s no zero). I then set the Content voice’s rate as desired, but all the other rates at 100 (maximum) to get their “chatter” over and done as quickly as possible.
Other useful settings: under Visuals, click “Show Voiceover cursor” to place a box around what’s being read. Under Verbosity > Announcements, check “Speak text under mouse after delay”, then under Navigation check “VoiceOver cursor follows mouse cursor” so the student simply points the cursor to what they wish to hear, and that text is “highlighted” with a box as it’s read.
Again, not ideal for LD users, but a functional workaround.
On a related note, the latest version of VoiceOver includes the “Rotor” and “Quick Nav”, which provides users with a wide range of reading options and controls using only a laptop’s trackpad or a keyboard’s arrow keys, respectively. It’s a pretty clever user interface — check out more here:
Summary of each (scroll down to section on the rotor and faster keyboard navigation):
Quick Nav details:
Potential for blind users to navigate Macintosh computers with Apple’s built-in screenreader.