Archive for the ‘visually impaired mac users’ Category

Changing How Voice Over Says things

March 26, 2010

Ever wanted to change how voice over says something? Well you can. Here’s how

Hit VO-F8 to open the voice over utility.
arrow down through the categories list until you get to speech.
VO-right and on pronunciation hit VO-Space to select it.
Now to the right of the pronunciation button is a table. Mac automatically edits the way some symbols are spoken but to add your own vo to add.
You should be in the first column where you type your word. So for example, the phrase lol should read laughing out loud. So type lol in the first column and then VO-right.
You need to hit VO-Space here to enter your new word, otherwise it just types your word in the first column. So where it says substitution, hit VO-Space to ensure you’re about to edit the word in the write column, it should make a pop sound to allow you to know its in the right place, type laughing out loud.
To add another word repeat the process.

You can change a word for certain applications, so if you want Lol to only work in your IM client then you can select that from the applications menu within the table.

To delete an entry
Simply highlight it in the table by putting your voice over cursor on it, stop interacting with the table and VO-right to delete and vo-space to carry out the action.

To edit an entry.
Interact with the table.
Find the entry with your VO keys you want to edit.
Ensure you VO-space on the entry you want to edit whether that be the word or the substitution before you attempt to edit it.

Hope this helps you guys.
Any questions please let me know

Anticipating The Big Bite?

January 25, 2010

And it is that time of the year again where we anticipate what Mr Jobbs and his buddies over at Apple have cooked up for us. As usual the rumour mill has been filled with all kinds of teasers and the grand unveiling is two days away but I had to report what I’ve learnt.

There is a rumour of an Apple tablet. a device that is somewhere in between a computer and a smart phone, all touch screen. But along with this piece of information, Sky News today reported that Apple are supposedly in talks with publishers, magazines and news Papers to allow the new Tablet to become some kind of reading device on the go. This of course is not new in itself but what is potentially interesting is the potential for Apple’s increasing scores of Visually impaired and Dyslexic users.

If as Sky News predict, and Apple are in talks and continue their dedication to their own policy of universal access then this could mean that books, news papers and magazines would be as readily available to not just their sighted users but to all of their users.

As a student, I really hope for this tablet to be three things.
1. accessible
2. the ability to buy and read books with voice over.
3. Relatively affordable.

If Apple can pull this off, surely some of the educational hypocrites could change their attitudes. But as I just told someone on Twitter never get complacent.

I hope for all of these things and would be shocked and very disappointed if the tablet isn’t in the least accessible to Voice Over users. So we will see.

Other trinkets of goodies may include an Iphone 4.0 update. That may be very interesting. Wish they’d sort the battery lives out, seriously. I’m tired of charging mine. And I personally suspect a new shuffle but we will see.

I’ll update when I know more.
Later Apple heads!

My Apple Mac

December 19, 2009

With all the choices on the computer market nowadays, the general consumer has more choice than ever before. However, as a visually impaired user, the only option I want to have is mac and Apple products. Here’s why.

On Thursday, I turned my trusty macbook 13 inch, 2008 model white onto to check my email and such to discover it wouldn’t boot beyond the apple logo and timer thing. I was so upset. I love my macbook so much, it recently travelled to the US with me and if I don’t take the time to at least boot it once a day, I’m sick.

Anyway, I called Apple care and booked an appointment to see an Apple genius the next day. The problem I next had was that I had to pull out my old sony Vaio laptop that runs Windows XP and has a version of Jaws for windows running on it. It wasn’t a prospect I was looking forward too, let me tell you. Nevertheless, I loaded it up and encountered twitter issues with the program I have running on that laptop, then had issues setting up my gmail account in outlook express, followed by issues with not only importing music to itunes but getting the damn program to work correctly for me. I was still fighting with Itunes at lunchtime when I left to go to my apple appointment.

I never realized how counter-intuitive windows was, and I missed my specialized features that voice over on the mac offers, such as spelling as I type. I missed hearing, “misspelled” which happens frequently when I’m typing a lot. Itunes was a complete nightmare, how anyone uses that program on windows with a screen reader is beyond me. And the screen reader itself frustrated me beyond belief, freezing on several occasions, jumping on others, it was just a nightmare I do not want to repeat.

Hasten to add, my macbook was fixed and is happily being used again. I know some people prefer windows but for me, it is mac all the way. snow Leopard can keep purring happily inside my pretty white macbook with voice over being its Captain. ☺

a quick start guide to mac and voice over

March 1, 2009

I’ve had my mac for about five months now and i love it. I have talked to several of my friends about the mac and the benefits for visually impaired users. one of my friends has now invested in the mac and I decided it would be a good idea to share some of the knowledge I’ve picked up along the way to share with other new visually impaired mac users. I’m no expert and I may have missed things out, and i might not cover everything you think I should, so if that is the case, please feel free to leave me a comment and let me know. I’ll try and do a few tutorials, but i’m no expert and I may not be the most perfect speller in the world, but I will try and help anyone who needs it.
Please feel free to message me and let me know what you think. The mac is a wonderful thing, you just have to learn it and not compare it to windows. It’s vital for learning the operating systems.
Here’s the intro

Some definitions and tips for Voice over and getting started with your mac.

The doc
The doc is where all of your applications are situated. from here you can open regularly used applications and don’t worry if something’s not there. All you need to do is put it there which is easy. Standardly, regularly used applications such as safari, mail, ichat, itunes, etc are placed in the doc by default. So to get to your doc, all you need to do is press your voice over keys [control plus option] and d. then use your voice over keys to move left orright, [the doc is by default situated at the bottom of your screen. You can move it to the left or right if you like, later on]. once you found the application you want to open, press enter. Also remember that if you want to open itunes, you can press i while in the doc and it will take you to itunes immediately. pressing I and then c will more than likely take you to the first application with the first letters being I and C which could be ichat or ical, depending which comes first. so once you found the application you want to open, press enter and it will be activated.

We have three menus in the mac, the apple menu which will also act as your application menu. if you are focussed on safari for example, and you press the menu, it will go to the apple menu first and then if you move to the right using voice over and the right arrow, it will take you to the safaris menus, such as file, edit, view, history, etc. to activate a menu, i.e, go into that menu, press voice over keys and down arrow and maneuver through the menus with your voice over keys. Pressing enter at any point will activate that action.

The apple menu
Here you can perform simple actions, such as turn your mac off, make your mac sleep or restart, force quit a programme, edit settings such as the doc, view recent items, etc. To activate any menu, hit voiceover keys and M.

Task bar menu
Here is where your indicators are situated. such as volume, if you have wireless enabled or in mac’s terminolgy airport, how many bars it is on, your battery and date and time and some other things too.
Here you can change the indicators values, so if you want to turn your mac’s volume up, simply press vo + M twice to go to the task bar menu, and then use your navigation keys to move along. you will hear voice over say a percentage and volume button, simply press the down arrow key to turn the volume down and interact with that slider or press up arrow to turn the volume up. the same things can be done to check your battery and what power source you are using by pressing vo + right arrow to move along the menu and find the battery menu. pressing vo + down will tell you what charge rate your battery is at and pressing vo + down arrow again will tell you if your mac is on power adapter or batter. [this will obviously not be applicable to imac or mini mac users].

Spotlight menu
This is really useful for finding things. If you need to find a application that isn’t on your doc, simply press vo + m three times and it will bring up the spotlight menu. or an easier way is pressing command spacebar. enter the name of the application/file and as you type different things will come up. once you’ve finished typing the item you’re looking for, press vo + down arrow and voice over will take you to the items displayed. Press enter to open the item you desire.

key strokes
here is a list of key strokes that should get you started, both in mac and voice over.

voice over keys– = control + option
to move right– = voice over keys [vo] + right arrow
to move left– = vo + left arrow
to move up– = vo + up
to move down– = vo + down arrow
to read content area, i.e, document/email– = vo + A
to read a sentence– = vo + s
to read a line– = vo + L
to read a paragraph– = vo + P
to interact with an area– = vo + shift + down arrow
to stop interacting– = vo + shift + up arrow
to go to the end of the window or interacted area– = vo + shift + end
to go to the top of the area or interacted area– = vo + shift + home
to move up or down a paragraph– = vo + shift + page up or page down

Navigating with lots of elements
Here is a list of keystrokes that will primarily help you around the web. be warned, some websites are not necessarily going to let these actions perform very easily. Hopefully the next version of safari will fix this problem.

lock vo keys [very useful if you’re mainly navigatin, just remember to unlock if you need to enter text]– = vo + semicolon
jump to next frame– = vo + command + f
jump to next graphic– = vo + command + g
Move to next heading– = vo + command + H
Move to next heading, same level– = vo + command + M
move to next different element– = vo + command + N
Move to next element [such as button, text box, check box, radio button, etc]– = vo + command + J
Move to next colour change– = vo + command + K
move to next hyper link– = vo + command + L
Move to next visited hyper link– = vo + command + V
move to next plain text– = vo + command + P
move to next font change– = vo + command + O
move to next italic text– = vo + command + I
move to next underlined text– = vo + command + u
Move to next bold text– = vo + command + B
move to block quote at same level– = vo + command + w
move to next block quote– = vo + command + q
move to next list item– = vo + command + X
move to next style change– = vo + command + c

mac and voice over keys together
go to the doc– = vo + d
go to menu– = vo + M
go to the task bar menu– = vo + M twice
go to spotlight– = vo + m three times or command spacebar
select an element on a webpage– = vo plus spacebar or vo + shift + spacebar or enter. [note, this depends on the element and the page. try each if the first doesn’t work! One usually does work. You’ll learn which ones do work for what on each webpage]
open a pop up menu– = vo + spacebar
select an item and leave a menu– = enter
select a radio button– = either vo + spacebar or just spacebar. if you use vo and spacebar it will read the action.

Item and link choosers
This is a really cool way to find things on a webpage. if you’re looking to find text within text edit for example, there is a way there too but I’ll focus on that later.

Item chooser is great if you want to find text, a control button, anything on a webpage. hit vo + i and it will say item chooser. sometimes this may take a few seconds, depending on how much content there is on the page. once it says item chooser menu, start to type the thing you are looking for. for example, on facebook, if you’re looking for your home link, type home and it will say home in the item chooser. press enter once to highlight the item and enter again or vo + spacebar, whichever you prefer to activate the link. This works for text too. so if you’re on a forum and you know roughly a word you wrote last time and you want to go to your last post to see if any other posts have occurred, type a word and the line of text your word is in will come up in item chooser. press enter to leave item chooser and use your navigation keys to move from there.
Link chooser works in a similar way, except it only works for links. To activate the links choser menu, hit vo + u. This has been useful, before hotmail redesigned their email page. the delete, move, new buttons were in some hidden files on the web page. Normally item chooser would pick things like that up but because they were hidden, voice over couldn’t find them with the item chooser. hOwever, by using the links chooser the item was found. However, unlike most elements, you had to use the vo + spacebar to activate the hidden elements. Happy to say hotmail have changed their site now so it’s all up and working with item chooser again.