Here are the notes for last night’s GTT meeting. Enjoy!Jason opened the meeting by describing how to keep in touch. There is now an announcement email list. Most people should be on it already. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will subscribe you. You can also send an email to email@example.com and you will be subscribed directly. Next month’s meeting topic is screen magnifiers.
We went around the room to introduce ourselves. Ian asked if anyone had ideas for up-coming topics. Proposed ideas were: online banking, a CSUN conference wrap-up, (CSUN is a very large adaptive technology conference held annually in California,) and smartphone technology such as home-automation.
Jason then introduced the evening’s presenter Martin Courcelles, who is an accessibility consultant with Ontario Lottery and Gaming. He is here to talk about iPhone aps.
Martin began by talking about iPhone gestures. Gestures are useful because they make things happen more quickly. A 4 finger double tap will open a help window. A 2 finger single tap will start and stop voice-over speech. A 2 finger double tap will answer the phone, start and stop playback of music or video. Ian asked about the unlock sequence. Martin answered that if you don’t have a password set up you can swipe to unlock, or on a newer phone you can use your fingerprint on the home button.
Looktel V O tutorial is available from the App Store. This ap will walk you through exercises to practice your gestures, and train you on when and where to provide them. It gives a good overview of how many aps work generally. He has over 270 aps on his phone. One example he gave is a parcel tracker. Spotlight search (3 finger swipe down on the home screen) gives you a search field to look for specific aps. You can also launch aps by using Ciri. Ciri used to be an ap, but now it’s built into the phone. It’s web based so if you don’t have internet access you can’t use Ciri. Voice-over is not internet dependant.
The general layout of aps is that there is screen information at the top, and options at the bottom. Along the bottom is a row of options called tabs. Whatever is active at the time will say “selected,” after the name of the tab. He demonstrated the phone ap by showing the tabs along the bottom.
The next ap he demonstrated is Seeing Assistant Light, light meaning he didn’t pay for it. Within this there are options for magnifying, light detection, barcode scanning etc., this ap can be used on older iPhones as well. He demonstrated the light detector, which uses a varied tone to indicate ambient light levels. A higher tone indicates more light. Some of his other aps include a podcast player, the CNIB library ap, the KNFB reader which is a text recognition product, and Blind Square a GPS ap designed for blind people.
He opened the ap store, and pointed out the familiar layout, with tabs at the bottom. Some aps are accessible and some aren’t, developers vary in their interest in making their ap accessible. There are a Ciri’s of games called blindfold games which include card games, bowling, and air hockey. Within the ap store he did a search for Blindfold using Ciri. He did this with the dictate function within the search field. You can tap on any search result for more information, or swipe right to the “get” or “install” option. When the ap is downloaded you get an open button. He left the ap store to find the ap on his phone. Double tapping on the ap will open it. Blindfold aps have good help features, and explain the relevant gestures well. A member clarified that if the ap store says “get,” that means it’s free. Paid aps will list their price. Some will look free, then have in-ap purchases once you’re in the ap.
1 Finger double tap and hold gives you move or delete options. Our groceries’ is a grocery list editor for keeping track of your grocery lists; it’s Android compatible so you can share with a housemate who has Android.
Jason raised the suggestion to demonstrate the Be My Eyes ap. A member said she’s tried it. You get a real person from anywhere in the world in one of several languages, who will help you. It’s like a Skype call to get visual assistance. Jason said that Crowd Vis is a paid version, and the staff is trained. Be My Eyes is slightly less reliable. A member pointed out that you can Facetime a sighted person for assistance if they have a smartphone and are willing to help you out with a visual task.
There are silly aps, eg; one that will make a whipping sound when you sweep your phone through the air. Ian asked for Martin’s top five most used aps. 1 Was Facebook. The mobile ap is much easier to use than the computer because it’s quicker and simpler. Voxer is a kind of walkie-talkie ap that you can use to chat with people. Messaging is useful and very straightforward. You can send messages using Ciri. Martin demonstrated by sending a message to Jason using speech only. You can do this in one step by saying “text Jason Fayre,” then dictate the text you want to send.
A member raised the point that you can ask Ciri to spell or define a word, and Martin demonstrated.
If your phone is not speaking, try using Ciri and say “turn on Voice Over.” You can use a sighted person’s phone by doing this.
The question was raised about how to correct an error in a dictated text. If you know you’ve made an error right away, you can stop dictating and shake your phone to erase the whole thing. A member said with IOS 9 there is a new easier way to select text. You have to add “text selection” to the rotor first, turn the rotor to text selection, then choose what unit you want to select by swiping, then turn the rotor back to copy or delete, but this is pretty complicated. Martin described the rotor. You put two fingers on the screen and rotate them clockwise or counter clockwise. Pinching and unpinching will determine the unit of text to be selected, character, word, sentence etc.. Jason recommended IOS Access for All, a book for $20, iosaccessbook.com. He said it’s an excellent resource. Tom Decker has published a tactile version with tactile diagrams that show what different screens look like. Appleviz is a website with a lot of resources and an email list, and reviews of aps from an accessibility perspective. Debby pointed out that the manual for each IOS has a chapter on accessibility and Ciri. Jason pointed to inclusiveandroid as a site for Android accessibility help.
Debby raised the topic of using the wish list in the ap store. Find the ap you want, then look for the share button, then keep swiping right and there’s a wish list option. This allows you to keep track of things maybe you want to look at later or download later.
Martin described Voicedream Reader, which allows you to download eBooks, and read them in a variety of high quality voices. You can play audio books from within it as well. The iPhone is useful because you can attach many things to it like a Braille display or an external keyboard.
A member asked about entering multiple phone numbers into your contacts. Martin agreed that entering contacts is confusing and frustrating. He said that after entering a phone number there should be a button that allows you to label it as home, mobile etc. Many people agreed that Ciri is useful for setting a timer, an alarm, or scheduling an appointment. Most people believed that Ciri will not let you set up a repeating alarm. Martin tried using Ciri, and it did allow him to set up a repeating alarm. A member asked how to stop a sounding alarm. Another member pointed out that if you don’t do it right you’ll set up the snooze function. If you tap ok or the unlock button it will stop. Careful, because the volume buttons will stop the alarm but put it into snooze as well.
A member announced that she’s looking for a used iPhone, anything above a 4.