Unlike a physical keyboard, an on screen keyboard is little difficult to type for any user. Imagine it if the user is a visually challenged? Of course so many mobile screen readers are available in the market to make the task easy for persons with visual challenges. When I have compared various touch screen phones I have found using a IOS device is very easy and a pleasant experience.
Using voiceover a powerful inbuilt screen reader for iPhone, iPad or a iPod typing is not really difficult. The IOS devices have two typing modes available.
- Standard Typing
- Touch Typing
Standard is a simple way of typing with voiceover on IOS device. When the keyboard is available on the screen tap anywhere in the bottom portion of the screen. Voiceover will announce the character or the key under your finger. It just announces the character or key but not activate the key or type the character. To type the character double tap on the character or tap anywhere on the screen when you hear the character. Usually screen reader users drag one finger on the keyboard and when they hear the required letter they will tap with another finger anywhere on the screen to type it. The task will become more easy as you practice. As the keyboard is QWERTY style users will know which way to drag to access the letter quickly.
The keyboard will have special keys such as â€œcap slogâ€, shiftâ€, â€œmore numbersâ€, More lettersâ€ and â€œmore symbolsâ€. When the user double taps on this keys the keyboard changes accordingly. An onscreen keyboard also have keys such as done, cancel etc.
In touch typing the user will drag a finger on the keyboard similar to a standard typing style. But when the required letter is found the finger needs to be lifted from the screen. In IOS 5.1 touch typing is possible with alphabets, numbers and special characters but special keys such as Cap slog, shift and change keyboard should be done with standard typing style. Touch typing is advised to use when the user is comfortable with standard typing.
How to change the typing modes
Typing mode is a rotor element. The typing mode element can be found only when the user focus is in a form element.
Eg: When you want to change the typing mode navigate the focus to any of the form elements such as text field on the screen. Double tap on it. Now twist your two fingers to focus the typing mode rotor element. Swipe up or down with single finger to change to Standard typing or touch typing modes.
To understand how to activate and use the rotor go to our Voiceover & rotor topic.