Voice Over is Wonderful Article
I would like to share how the Voice Over screen reader from Apple, has changed my interaction with the way I now use my cell phone.
I, like a great majority of people, take part in social network, and text messaging, and with Voice Over, the capability to keep in touch, and use your cell phone has greatly improved for blind and low vision people, immensely. When I started to lose my vision I, had a normal flip phone in which had no features to help me use it, other than voice commands, and then my brother gave me his old Verizon LG En-v. The En-v spoke the text messages to me, and I thought that was the coolest thing ever, just for the simple fact that I hadn’t been able to do that since I lost my vision. I had this phone for just short of a year, and then I was introduced to mobile speak, and that changed my whole world. Now I was able to navigate my phone without requiring the help of someone else. I was now able to read text messages, surf the web, change phone settings and find contacts independently. I had that phone for about a year, and then it broke right before I flew out of town. I didn’t have enough time from when it broke, and when I flew out to make a claim through the insurance company to get a new one, so I just bought a new phone. I was going to buy a new phone, and use it for a couple of days, and then when I got back in town, I was going to make the insurance claim, and then take the phone back, when I got my phone from the insurance company. I ended up liking this new phone, and this new phone was the En-v-3. It spoke to me, and allowed me to text; manage contacts, change menu features, and all that good stuff. I never tried to go online with it, so I don’t know how that interface would have been, but I have a feeling that it wouldn’t have helped in that case very much, because whenever I got an email on that phone, it wouldn’t read them. I didn’t have very many complaints about that phone, until one day I was on my computer, and I checked my email, and received an video show-casing the Voice Over screen reader from Apple. I immediately started doing research on the iPhone, and started talking to all my sighted friends, that had iPhones, and started to dislike my current phone more and more, for it didn’t do nearly what I could have with the iPhone. I researched, and played with iPhone models for about a year, and then finally made the switch from Verizon to AT&T. I now have the iPhone 4, and love it in every way. I firmly believe that Apple hit the nail on the head, when it comes to this soft ware. Not only does it enable blind, and low vision people to surf the web, social network on the go, read and send text messages, send and read emails on the go, it really gives me a more of a since of independence. I use my iPhone for everything. If I have some print in front of me, that is too small to see I will turn Voice Over off, and take a picture of it, and then zoom in, and use it as a pocket magnifier. The Apple app store as accessible applications to make the interaction for blind, and low vision people as easy as it can be too, whether it be the Red Laser app; which will scan any UPC label, and tell you what you are holding in your hand, but it will also give you a list of competitive prices for what that product would sell, and then with location services on, it will give you the prices of places near your location. The National treasury has created an app that can distinguish between different dollar bills, and then announces what denomination of the bill you are holding.
The interface with the Voice Over screen reader is very simple. With a series of finger movements you can navigate your entire phone. Voice Over will read anything under your finger. When you drag your finger over the screen you will hear Voice Over tell you what is under your thumb, whether it be dragging your finger from left to right, right to left, up and down, or diagonal in either direction. Voice Over, really gives the user an accurate depiction of the layout of the phone itself, as well as the placement of text in a webpage, as well as pictures within a webpage.
With the iPhone usually being a single touch screen, with voice Over turned on it now becomes a double tap interface. When using voice Over, and wanting to open one of your apps, touch the screen once and it will tell you where you are, and then once you find what you are looking for weather it be an app, text, email, link, or contacts name, once it is selected it will announce that what is under your finger is selected, and then just a simple double tap with one finger will now open whatever has been selected. With a series of clicks and sounds the iPhone helps us navigate our phone. When the sound is turned on, we will hear clicks as we go from app to app, contact name to contact name, or letter to letter; further making it easier to orientate ourselves with the phone.
Aside from the capability to keep up with email, social network, and send and receive text messages, Voice Over is the closest thing I have been exposed to in a mobile device that allows me to navigate, and use my phone as efficiently as my screen reader on my PC.
I am a full-time student in Seattle, and I often use my phone in the class room as well. The iPhone will open word documents, and allow you to read them from your email. With this screen read I am able to read attachments sent from anyone on my phone. The Voice Over screen reader has really changed my life, and quite possibly ruined me for other phones.
This screen reader is also available on the iPad as well. I have played around with it, and the interface is exactly the same, as it should be, because they are virtually the same device.