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iPad: Basic VoiceOver Navigation

There are some basic gestures that you need to master in order to move the focus of the VoiceOver narrator around the screen. Users with sight would normally just place their finger on the displayed screen, selecting the item they want to activate or the input field they want to enter text into.

Obviously with limited or no sight this is not possible, so by using finger gestures when VoiceOver is active: such as flick left, right, up or down with one finger on the display, it is possible to instruct the VoiceOver screen reader to move in a preferred direction, or select an option of your choice.

Note: the flick gesture is meant to be a quick swipe of the finger across the screen, as if you were removing a speck of dust from the display.

As soon as VoiceOver is activated using the default flick left, right, up or down with one finger actions, you have access to many different icons and menu options shown on the displayed screen.

A three finger tap anywhere on the screen, will cause VoiceOver to announce to you exactly where you are positioned on the current screen.

On the Home screen, icons are laid out in rows and columns; VoiceOver will let you know where you are positioned within the current display by reporting your row and column position. It will also provide hints about what you can do next.

Providing you are not in a text input window that is expecting text via a keyboard or dictation, the left and right single finger flick will move you around the currently displayed elements or icons on the screen.

To change the default action from navigating displayed elements you need to flick down or up with one finger to hear available options, such as, show context menu, edit, activate and other options.

The options you will hear are relative to the particular application or window you are currently in. Another way of saying this is, that the currently available options are context sensitive.

Having chosen one of the currently available options you can activate the selected option by double tapping anywhere on the displayed screen with a single finger.

So in general to move around the screen flick left or right. However to listen to the default option for the element or icon that has the current focus, flick up or down. If required double tap with one finger to activate your chosen option.

There is also a special context sensitive menu that is accessible when you perform what is referred to as the 'Rotor action gesture'. This is achieved by placing two fingers of one hand on the display and moving them as if following the circumference of an imaginary milk bottle top, placed on the screen.

Try placing two fingers of the same hand on the screen, leaving a gap of about one centimetre between the two fingers, then twist your wrist, or forearm, allowing your fingers to slide on the screen scribing as it were an imaginary half circle, this should bring up the Rota menu.

This action is similar to using two fingers to turn a cooker knob but with your two fingers sliding on the screen. The rotor menu can also be displayed by flicking in opposite directions with two single fingers running parallel to each other; this can be done vertically or horizontally on the screen. The rota gesture does take a bit of practice, so hang in there and don't give up, it will come with practice.

As soon as the rota is displayed VoiceOver will announce the current setting, repeat the rota gesture to turn to another or desired setting, again VoiceOver will announce the new setting.

Once the rotor is displayed you can adjust its currently selected option which will then alter the way the narrator traverses the currently displayed screen elements, as you flick up or down with one finger.

So for instance if the current window is displaying text, by activating the rotor menu you can select to move through the displayed text by character, word or line.

When moving into a text input window, for example an input box, a form or an editable text window, the narrator will automatically switch into insertion mode, sometimes referred to as Edit mode. This means that VoiceOver is expecting text to be fed into the text area via dictation or keyboard.

You can move the insertion point for text around any text that has already been inserted, by selecting the appropriate traversing step from the Rota, move insertion location by character, word or line.

Note, you can move the insertion location to the start or end of a text window by double tapping with one finger on that window when you are in Edit mode. Double tapping a third time will move the insertion point to the start of the current line.

To copy text when in Edit mode, move the insertion point to the required start position, then with two fingers placed on the display, move each finger apart to select more and more text as required. Once you have selected your required amount of text, activate the Rota and choose the Edit option.

Once the Edit option has been activated simply flick up or down to select 'Copy', then double tap to copy the selected text into the memory of your device. To paste at the desired location, move to the new location by character, word or line and bring up the Rota again, select Edit and then swipe up or down to reach the Paste option, then double tap to insert the previously selected text into the current position.

Note, when you are displaying a webpage perhaps using Safari, you can activate the Rota and select how you want to traverse the webpage when you flick up or down, you can select to move by, Containers, Headings, Characters, Words, Links.

Note if a popup menu is displayed and after traversing its contents, by flicking right or left, you decide you want to close or dismiss the popup menu without selecting any of its options, then just flick left until VoiceOver announces, 'Dismiss context menu', then double tap with one finger, anywhere on the display to activate the dismiss context menu popup action. The popup menu should now close.

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Accessibility Page Control Section

Keyboard control (Chrome/Safari): Screen Speak - Press ALT + s, Pause Audio - Press Alt + p. To reset/reload page activate the Reload Page button below.

Search Section

If you are using a laptop, then to search for text on any currently displayed page press Control and F, then enter the required search text in the displayed search box. Any text found in the current page will be highlighted, you can use the up and down symbols displayed within the search box to search forward or backwards for occurrences of your search text.

If you are accessing this site via a smart phone or tablet, you will need to navigate to the 'More options' button, usually towards the top right hand side of your screen, to access your device Search options for the currently displayed page. Note that sometimes instead of the word 'Search' your device might display 'Find in page' as the option to select for searching the current page.

To search for text primarily in other pages of the Simplyinformed Website, enter text in the search box below. To get back from the search results Press ALT and Left Arrow. Please note there may be a few initial links that take you to other sites that match your site search string, these can of course be disregarded if you only want to be taken to content on this site. Please note that the Search box is displayed as a table with one row and three columns, in other there are three cells in the search table layout. Cell one is where you enter your search string and press enter, or move to cell two to activate the Search Button. Move to cell three to find the clear search content button to clear out the text in cell on, ready to enter a new search string. Use the Up and Down arrows to move through search table cells when using NVDA. Once the Narrator has been taken to the search box press the enter key so that the screen reader switches into text input mode.

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