GTT Beginners National Conference Call Summary Notes, Using the Web on iOS with Voiceover, June 25, 2019

GTT Beginners National Conference Call.


An Initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind


Summary Notes


June 25, 2019


Theme: Using the Web on iOS with Voiceover


On June 25, 2019 Albert Ruel demonstrated the use of the Rotor with Voice Over for effectively and efficiently accessing information from websites using iOS devices.  A discussion of the Reader View available in the Safari Browser was also undertaken with a view to accessing just the text of articles rather than pages of advertising, links and other navigation controls.

Web Browsing using the Rotor with Safari:

  • Using both touch gestures on the iOS screen and the Logitech Bluetooth keyboard K380.
  • Voice Over and Safari on iOS, iPod iPad and iPhone with the latest version of iOS 12.
  • The rotor was used when web browsing to access Headings, Links, Form Fields, Edit Options, Text Selection, Characters, Words, Lines, Buttons and Tables.
  • To turn the Rotor to the above movement units move two fingers across the screen in opposite directions, or use the thumb and forefinger to mimic the turning of a knob. To do this on a Bluetooth keyboard press both the left and up arrow buttons to turn the Rotor to the left and use the right and up arrow buttons to move it to the right.
  • Once a movement unit is selected, a one-finger flick up will move to the previous item and a one-finger flick down will move to the next item. To do that with a Bluetooth keyboard press the up and down arrow buttons respectively.


Reader View Button in the Safari Browser:

  • The Reader View button is located at the very top of Safari on the left-hand side of the page and looks like a button with squiggly lines.

To access it perform a four-finger single tap near the top of the screen to bring focus to the top, or hold down the Control key and press the up arrow button.

  • To activate and de-activate the Reader View button one-finger double tap it, or press the up and down arrow buttons together. When the Reader View button is activated it strips out most links, advertisements and other junk from a webpage.
  • Voice Over will announce that Reader View is available once a web page is loaded.
  • Reader View in Safari can be activated when accessing any website where it is available, or it can be programmed to automatically activate when all web pages are accessed, or just specific websites. To access the Automatic Reader View Menu, from the Reader View button perform a one-finger swipe up or press the up arrow, then one-finger double tap or press the up and down arrow buttons to activate the Menu.  Use a one-finger swipe to the right or the right arrow button to examine the menu and one-finger double tap or press the up and down arrow buttons together to activate your desired option.
  • Low vision configuration is available once Reader View is activated by one-finger double tapping or pressing the up and down arrow buttons on the keyboard on the Reader Appearance Options button to the right of the Address Bar. Swipe to the right or use the right arrow button to examine the list of options and one-finger double tap or press the up and down arrow buttons together to select desired items.


General Touch Screen Gestures:


  • On all web pages, a one-finger swipe to the right, or pressing the Write arrow button will move focus to the next item, and a swipe to the left, or pressing the left arrow button will move to the previous item.
  • To have Voice Over read from the top of the page perform a two-finger swipe up, or hold down the VO key and press the letter A. To have Voice Over read from the current position perform a two-finger swipe down or hold down the VO key and press the letter B.
  • To pause and resume Voice Over’s reading of any document, email or web page perform a 2-finger single tap, or press and release the Control key. Both of the above gestures will toggle the reading functions on and off.
  • Access Heading Navigation by turning to it with the Rotor, or holding down the VO key on a Bluetooth keyboard and typing the letter Q. VO + the letter Q will toggle it off again.
  • Navigating by headings is the most important means of examining a web page, and once the desired section is found swiping to the right or pressing the right arrow buttons will move focus to the next item. Using Heading Navigation will avoid much of the junk at the top of web pages.
  • Headings are like the chapter markers in a book. They are organized in a hierarchical numbering system with Level 1 Headings above Level 2 and so on.  With VO + Q turned on pressing numbers 1 through 6 will move to those respective Level Headings.
  • Every time a Google search is conducted in Safari there should be a Level 1 Heading titled: Search Results. Turn the Rotor to Headings then use a one-finger swipe down or press the down arrow button to locate the Search Results area, and eventually each of the results listed on the page.
  • forefinger double tap on the iPhone screen will turn on keyboard help, this will enable you to test out key commands on the keyboard or swipes on the phone to hear descriptions of what that action will do when outside of keyboard help.
  • To access the Status Bar at the top of the screen in any iOS device using a Bluetooth Keyboard hold down the Control key and the CapsLock key plus the letter M, then perform the same key command again to get out of the status bar.


Quick Navigation Keys:

  • to turn quick navigation keys on/off use left and right arrow Keys at the same time.
  • when typing into an edit field quick navigation keys are off.
  • Having quick navigation keys On enables one to use the Rotor to access headings, Characters, Words, Lines and many other navigation elements.
  • when the focus is on the address bar and it is clicked on you can assume that the text is selected and if using quick navigation it will turn off automatically so you can begin to type. Typing will replace the highlighted text.
  • The Rotor elements called Vertical Navigation and Rows will allow you to move up and down columns when in a table rather than swiping right and left to go horizontally across the screen then wrapping around to the next line or row. This is useful on bank statements as an example.



Additional Resources:

AppleVis is the main place to find out information regarding voiceover iOS apps on all 4 of the iOS family devices. 



Bluetooth Keyboard Commands are listed here:


Logitech Bluetooth Keyboard K380:



GTT National Conference Call Overview

  • GTT National Conference Call is a monthly discussion group of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
  • GTT National Conference Calls promote a self-help learning experience by holding monthly meetings to present and discuss new and emerging assistive technology.
  • Each meeting consists of a feature technology topic, along with questions and answers about assistive technology.
  • Participants are encouraged to attend each meeting even if they are not interested in the feature topic because questions on any technology are welcome. The more participants the better able we will be equipped with the talent and experience to help each other.
  • There are GTT groups across Canada as well as an email distribution list where assistive technology questions are provided by participants. You may also subscribe to the National GTT blog to get email notices of teleconferences and notes from other GTT chapters. Visit:


There is a form at the bottom of that web page to enter your email.


National GTT Email Support List

CCB sponsors a GTT email support list to provide help and support with technology for blind and low vision Canadians.  To subscribe to the email list, send an empty email to:


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