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iPad: The Email App

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The Email App using VoiceOver

First of all let's look at the structure of an Email, an email is really an electronic letter.

When you create an email you must first enter the recipient's name; this is entered into the 'To field', then you need to decide if the email requires to be copied to another recipient; this is entered into the CC field. You can also carry out what is known as a blind copy or BCC for short; if a recipients name is entered into the BCC field, then when they receive a copy of your email they cannot tell if you have copied it to anyone else.

Note, the acronym CC comes from the days when typewriters were used to create letters, and the operator would insert a piece of carbon paper between the original paper that received the letter imprint and the second piece of paper placed behind the first, this second piece of paper would also receive an imprint, hence the second sheet of paper contained a carbon copy of the first.

After entering the names of all the people who you want to receive your email (the recipients), you then would normally enter the subject for the email, this is like giving the email a heading, basically a title which reflects the content or nature of the email. Once you have completed the Subject field then you move to the body of the email, to enter the main message.<\p>

Once you have completed the email you then need to send the email by activating the Send button. <\p>

The iPad email application allows you to write and send new emails, or receive emails and forward on to another recipient. All emails end up in compartments known as mailboxes. You can also move your emails (sent or received) into different mailboxes, so as to group together emails that are related to the same subject or have been set to the same status.

You can think of the mailboxes as being like the old fashioned pigeon holes, where letters to different people or departments were posted into different pigeon holes. It's really a way of organising where you want your emails held, either temporarily or for a long time.

From the outset the iPad email application sets up some default folders for you; they are:

The Inbox mailbox; this contains all of the emails you receive.

The Drafts mailbox; this contains all of the emails you have started to create but have not finished, they are still at the draft status.

The Sent mailbox; this contains a copy of all the emails you have sent out.

The Junk mailbox; this contains mail that is consider junk, either because you have marked it as such or your email application has suspected it is junk email. Email applications using techniques such as trend analysis, dynamic lists, and content filtering to automatically detect and block junk mail before it reaches your Inbox. However, no strategy for managing junk mail is 100 percent effective, so some junk mail may still reach your Inbox. 

The Trash mailbox; this contains any email you have deleted. Just like an ordinary trash container, the email is not completely deleted from your system until you empty or delete the contents of the trash mailbox. This means if you inadvertently delete an email you can still retrieve it from the trash mailbox.

The All mail, mail box; this provides you with a global view of all your emails irrespective of where they normally reside. Sometimes you are unsure which mailbox your email is sitting in, by looking at the 'All Mail' mailbox you will always be able to locate your email.

You can of course create your own mailbox folders for emails you want to group together, for example you might want a new mailbox called Holidays, where you want to keep all emails relating to holiday correspondence.

You may have other mailboxes set up, such as Starred or Important. You can mark an email as starred if you want to flag it up for some reason, maybe as a reminder that you need to respond to this email soon. It's a bit like setting yourself a little reminder regarding this email.

If you have a mailbox setup called Important, your email application will try and work out what emails it considers are important. It does this by determining some characteristics related to your email such as:

Who you email.

Which messages you open.

: Messages you open are likely to be more important than those you skip over.

What keywords spark your interest.

: If you always read messages about soccer, a new message that contains those same soccer words is more likely to be important.

Which messages you reply to.

: If you always reply to messages from your mum, messages she sends are likely to be important.

Your recent use of stars, archive and delete.

: Messages you star are probably more important than messages you archive without opening.

Creating and sending an Email (Using Voice over).

Step 1. First you must locate the Email application by exploring with one finger along the bottom of the iPad, in the area known as the Dock until voice over announces Mail.

Step 2. On hearing the announcement of Mail you must activate the Mail application by double tapping with one finger. This will start the mail application, what the narrator announces depends on what was the last window displayed during the last mail session. The iPad remembers the last activities you were carrying out when using the mail application, and takes you back to the point where you left off.

Step 3. A good place to start is at the main entry point for the Mail application. To get to this point keep on flicking left with one finger until you hear the narrator announce the words Back button, then double tap, this will take you back to the previous page. 

If you have not arrived at the Mailboxes announcement after activating the Back button, then keep flicking left and selecting the Back button until the Narrator finally announces the word Mailboxes. 

Note, sometimes you may hear a dull drum sound, this means you can go back no further for the current list of options, if this is the case flick right and then left listening for the narrator each time until you hear the word mailboxes, button announced.

Step 4. You should now be at the Mailboxes page which contains a list of Mailboxes and Accounts. From here you can move up and down the displayed list by flicking right or left with one finger, so that the narrator announces each of the available mailboxes and any accounts that you have set up. 

The Mailboxes list contains the following sub headings.

All Inboxes, if selected this shows you all of the inboxes for all of your accounts, so if you had three email accounts setup on your iPad it would show you all of the emails for the inboxes for all three accounts.

Below the all inboxes headings you may have one or more Inbox headings such as Exchange, Your email address at outlook.com etc. If you just wanted to look at the inbox for a particular account you would flick right with one finger until you hear your inbox announced, then double tap with one finger to open the selected Inbox. Don’t forget you can flick left with one finger to move up the displayed list. If you have selected a particular inbox you will be taken to a new page displaying a list of emails for that inbox.

As you move below the list of you inboxes, and remember you might only have one, you will hear the narrator announce the word Flagged, this is a special list of emails which displays any emails that you have flagged, a flag is a marker that you can place on an email so you can quickly display only Flagged emails, rather than showing all emails. The flag enables you to filter out of a possible long list of emails those emails that you might want to access quickly.

As you move below the Flagged heading you will hear the Narrator announce the word Accounts, this is the heading for the email accounts that follow. As you move past the Accounts heading you will hear the Narrator announce each of your email accounts, you may of course only have one email account configured for your iPad.

Practise flicking right and left to move up and down the Mailboxes list to familiarise yourself with its contents.

Step 5. Traverse the Mailboxes list until you hear the Narrator announce your email Mailbox, then double tap to activate.

You will now be taken to a new page displaying a Pop Up box containing a list of all of the folders in your email account, as you traverse the Pop Up box list you will hear the Narrator announce the following folders, Inbox, Drafts, Sent, Junk, Trash, All Mail and, any new folders you may have setup. If you hear a dull thud as you traverse the list it means you have arrived at the extremities of the list, either the bottom or the top of the list.

To create or Compose an email we need to dismiss the currently open.

Step 6. To dismiss this Pop Up window tap with one finger in the centre of the screen and you should hear the Narrator announce the words Dismiss Pop UP, if the Narrator is silent just flick right once, the Narrator will announce something relating to the previous Pop Up window, now tap the centre of the screen and the Narrator should announce the words Dismiss Pop UP, double tap with one finger to dismiss the Pop Up window. 

You will now be taken to your last compiled email. Flicking right and left with one finger will allow you to traverse this email, and the buttons at the top of the email with the Narrator announcing each currently highlighted item.

The buttons at the top of the email are as follows.

From left to right.

Inbox back button, if selected takes you back to the previous page.

Message button, if selected takes you to the previous email message.

Next message button, if selected takes you to the next email message.

Mark message, if selected allows you to place a marker on the current message, possible markers are, Flag, Mark as Unread and Move to Junk.

Move button, if selected allows you to select an alternative folder to move the current email to.

Delete Archive button, if selected deletes or archives the current email.

Reply button, if selected allows you to, Reply to All, Forward, Compose, if selected allows you to compose or create a new email.

Continue traversing the current email and its buttons until you hear the Narrator announce the words Compose, then double tap to activate the Compose button.

Step 7. The compose email page is now displayed and places your cursor at the To field. Note when in the To field, you can flick right to the add button, then activate it, to add contacts that are already in your contacts list.

The keyboard will be displayed at the bottom of the screen, allowing you to enter the email address of the person you want to send the email to.<\p>

Enter the email address of the recipient either by using the keyboard or adding from your contacts list using the add button as stated above, then press return.

Flick right once and the Narrator will announce what the name of the recipient you have just entered, flick right once more and the Narrator will announce the words Add Contact, if selected you could add the name of the recipient into your contacts. 

Flick right for a third time and you will be placed into the CC field, where you can enter the name of another recipient you want to copy on this email. Double tap to enter a CC name, and return once you have added the CC name. 

Flick right once and the Narrator will announce the name of the recipient you have just entered, flick right once more and the Narrator will announce the words Add Contact, if selected you could add the name of the recipient into your main Contacts list.

Flick right and you will be taken to the BCC field, this is the blind copy field where you can enter the name of a recipient but the others in the CC field, will not see the BCC name, when they receive the email from you. If required double tap to enter a BCC name, and return once you have added the BCC name. 

Flick right once and the Narrator will announce the name of the recipient you have just entered, flick right once more and the Narrator will announce the words Add Contact, if selected you could add the name of the recipient into your contacts. 

Flick right and the Narrator will announce who the mail is from.

Flick right and you will be taken to the Subject field where you can double tap and enter the Subject matter. This is simply a heading for your email. Once you have completed the email Subject heading press Return, you will now be in the body of the email where you can add your main content.

Note you can use dictation to enter details for the subject field and the main body of the email. To use this option when in either the subject or body fields, just locate the dictation key at the bottom of your screen, it is the third key from the bottom left of your screen or displayed keyboard. Double tap to activate dictation, you will hear a sound like a bell to notify you the iPad is ready for you to talk, then speak clearly into your iPad, once you have completed your current dictation double tap to end dictation. The narrator will announce the contents of your dictation.

Once you have completed your email content flick right and wait for the Narrator to announce the words Hide Keyboard, then double tap. Note the hide keyboard icon is in the bottom right hand corner of the screen, therefore you may find it easier to locate this icon by touch, and close the keyboard down once the narrator has spoken the words Hide Keyboard, then double tapping from here.

When you have hidden the keyboard the Narrator will announce the contents of your email body.

Flick back until you hear the Narrator announce the words Send Button, then double tap to activate.

Your email will now be sent. You have completed the required steps to create and send an email.

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