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Using iPhone with Voiceover an overview

Information from the Apple website

The revolutionary iPhone also includes an equally revolutionary screen reader, and other innovative accessibility features that make it easier to use for those with impaired vision.

The same VoiceOver screen reader made popular on the Mac is now a standard feature on iPhone 3G S. It’s the world’s first gesture-based screen reader, enabling you to enjoy the fun and simplicity of iPhone even if you can’t see the screen.

What makes VoiceOver on iPhone truly remarkable is that you control it using simple gestures that let you physically interact with items on screen. It’s easy to learn and fun to use. Instead of memorizing hundreds of keyboard commands, or endlessly pressing tiny arrow keys to find what you’re looking for, with VoiceOver, you simply touch the screen to hear a description of the item under your finger, then gesture with a double-tap, drag, or flick to control the phone.

VoiceOver delivers an experience unlike any screen reader you’ve ever used before. Traditional screen readers describe individual elements on the screen, but struggle to communicate where each element is located or provide information about adjoining objects. This contextual information is very important but typically filtered out by other screen readers. For example, “off-screen” models used by traditional screen readers to represent applications and web pages intentionally strip away contextual information and describe web pages as a list or menu of items. But with VoiceOver on iPhone 3G S, you’ll experience something entirely new.

Because VoiceOver works with iPhone’s touchscreen, you interact directly with objects on the screen and can naturally understand their location and context. So, when you touch the upper-left corner of the screen, you’ll hear what’s in the upper left corner of a web page, and as you drag your finger around the screen, you’ll learn what’s nearby, providing an amazing new sense of context and relationship between the items you hear. For many, VoiceOver on iPhone will provide, perhaps for the first time, a true sense of how things appear on screen, not just descriptions of what they are.

You’ll hear descriptions of every item on the screen, including status information such as battery level, Wi-Fi and cellular network signal levels, the cellular network provider, and time of day. It even lets you know when the display changes to landscape or portrait orientation, and when the screen is locked or unlocked.

The speaking rate is adjustable so you can set it to a speed that best suits your listening ability. VoiceOver uses distinctive sound effects to alert you when an application opens, when the screen is updated, when a message dialog appears, and more. And, when Voiceover is talking, the volume of background sounds and music are automatically lowered, “ducking” under the voice, so you can clearly hear what VoiceOver is telling you.

It speaks your language
VoiceOver includes built-in voices that speak 21 languages including Bahasa Indonesian, Chinese (Cantonese), Chinese (China), Chinese (Taiwan), Dutch, English (US), English (UK), English (Australian), Finnish, French (Canada), French (France), German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish (Mexico), Spanish (Spain), Swedish, Thai, Turkish.

Getting started
VoiceOver is built right into iPhone 3G S. There’s nothing extra to purchase or install. All you need is iPhone 3G S, iTunes 8.2 or later, and a Mac or PC. You can activate your iPhone and enable VoiceOver without sighted assistance using iTunes with a compatible screen reader like VoiceOver included in Mac OS X and GW-Micro Window-Eyes® for Windows XP and Windows Vista (sold separately). When you activate iPhone using iTunes, you can enable VoiceOver on iPhone to start using it right away. Sighted users can also enable VoiceOver for you directly on iPhone using the Accessibility menu in the Settings application.

How it works
With VoiceOver enabled, you’ll use a different but simple set of gestures to control iPhone. For example, instead of tapping to activate a button, tap the button to hear a description of it, double-tap to activate it, and swipe up or down to adjust a slider.

When an item on the screen is selected, a black rectangle called the VoiceOver cursor appears around it. The VoiceOver cursor is displayed for the benefit of sighted users with whom you may be sharing your phone. When you prefer privacy, VoiceOver includes a screen curtain that turns off the display so no one can read it without your knowledge.

In addition to touching and dragging around the screen, you can also flick left and right to move the VoiceOver cursor precisely to the next or previous item on the screen—no matter how big or small it is. By flicking, you have precise control of what you hear even when it might otherwise be difficult to place your finger on it.

Entering Text
When you’re typing text, such as an email message or a note, VoiceOver echoes each character on the keyboard as you touch it, and again to confirm when you enter it. You can also have VoiceOver speak each completed word instead of and in addition to individual characters as you type them. A flick up or down while typing moves the insertion point cursor left and right within the text so you can edit a word just as easily and precisely as typing a new word.entering-text-20090608.jpg ¬
To help you type more quickly and accurately, iPhone features word prediction and suggests the correct spelling when you type a word incorrectly. With Speak Auto-text enabled, you’ll hear a sound effect and the suggested word spoken automatically. You can just keep typing to ignore it, or press the space key to have iPhone type it for you.

The Rotorrotor-20090608.jpg ¬
VoiceOver features an innovative new virtual control called a “rotor.” Turning the rotor— by rotating two fingers on the screen as if you were turning an actual dial — changes the way VoiceOver moves through a document based on a setting you choose. For example, a flick up or down might move through text word by word. But when you choose the “character” setting, each time you flick up or down VoiceOver will move through the text character by character — 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, form elements, images, and more. You select a setting, then flick up and down to move to the previous or next occurrence of that item on the page, skipping over items in between.

VoiceOver works with all of the built-in applications that come with iPhone 3G S, such as Phone, iPod, iTunes, Mail, Safari, and Maps. So, you can place and receive calls, surf the web, text and email your friends, check your stocks and the weather, and much, much more. Apple is also working with iPhone software developers so they can make their applications VoiceOver compatible.

Disclaimer: The information on this site is provided as a public service to the blind and visually handicapped community. While we have done our best to ensure the information provided is accurate, please realize the use of any information on this site is solely at your discretion and we take no responsibility for use or attempted use of this information.

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