Accessibility

Auto Turn Book Pages in iOS

Welcome to a new screencast on The Mac Quad. In this post I will show you how to have iOS auto turn your pages in a book, making it much easier for motor impaired users to read an ebook.

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Text Walkthrough

How to auto turn pages in a book on iOS

  • Select Settings

  • Ensure General is selected the tap Accessibility

  • Flick down and tap on Accessibility Shortcut

  • Tap on Voice Over

  • Go back to main accessibility screen

  • Flick up and tap on Voice Over

  • Drag Speaking Rate to between one quarter and one third

  • Return to Homepage

  • Launch iBooks

  • Choose book

  • Once on the page you wish to start at triple click home button, Voice Over is now activated

  • Start continuous reading by doing a two finger swipe down

  • Turn iOS volume down to zero

  • When Voice Over reaches the end of the page it will turn

  • To stop Voice Over and auto page turn triple click home button

  • You can return to the homepage as usual

I hope this video has enabled you to get more out of your iOS device and made reading books easier.

Get To Know The macOS Onscreen Keyboard

Welcome to a new screencast on The Mac Quad. In this post I will help you get to know the new macOS onscreen keyboard included with High Sierra, making it much easier for motor impaired users to enter text on the Mac.

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Text Walkthrough

Get to know the new macOS  Onscreen Keyboard.
    •    Previous post shows how to display the onscreen keyboard.
    •    This will show some of the features of the basic keyboard which is displayed when enabled.
The basic keyboard is for typing in a text editor and all other places where text entry is required.
    •    This includes modifier keys.
Above is a Typing Suggestions panel this enables quicker entry of text and learns use of words.
There are Function Keys which are like a standard Apple keyboard.
    •    Dim Screen & Brighten Screen
    •    Launch Mission Control
    •    Go to Launchpad
    •    Toggle Touch Bar (if you have a new MacBook Pro)
    •    Rewind, Play/Pause, Forward in iTunes etc.
    •    Mute/Unmute Sound
    •    Decrease, Increase  Volume
    •    fn key displays standard function bar
x Closes keyboard and must be reenabled from System Preferences (please see previous post).
… Minimises the keyboard but still allows access once the keyboard button is clicked.
Preferences Cog gives the ability to change the appearance of the keyboard.
    •    Zoom will change the size of the keyboard
    •    Transparency changes the amount of the background that shows through
    •    Fade after 15 seconds of inactivity fades the keyboard if the mouse is inactive for 15 seconds (amount of fade can be altered in the Accessibility Preference Pane)
    •    Show Dwell options on the keyboard
    •    Show Dwell options in the Menu Bar
    •    Always Dwell in panels means that whenever the cursor is over a keyboard panel dwell is active
    •    Customise allows the user to add their own panels to the keyboard increasing the functionality of the keyboard even further
    •    Preferences take the user directly to the Accessibility Preference Pane
Finally the Custom key shows customised panels that the user has added, I have created three.
    •    An extended keyboard
    •    A launch bar panel to make launching applications quicker
    •    A system panel for quickly shutting down, restarting, showing the system preference and more
I hope this video has enabled you to get more from the new Onscreen Keyboard in macOS High Sierra.

Show macOS High Sierra Accessibility Keyboard

As I eluded to in my post about Mac Accessibility For Severely Motor Impaired Users the release of macOS High Sierra has seen the inclusion of an onscreen keyboard increasing the accessibility of all Macs from day one of purchase.  This is a feature that has been available on the Windows platform for several years but it’s eventual inclusion in macOS is a welcome addition for motor impaired Mac users.  Below is a walk through about displaying the new onscreen keyboard.

How To

First, select the System Preferences icon, I keep mine in the dock for easy access (img.1).

 (img.1)

(img.1)

When the System Preferences window displays you will see an Accessibility icon in the lower region of the window, click on this (img.2).

 (img.2)

(img.2)

In the Accessibility window that is displayed scroll down in the left area of the window to Keyboard and then select this (img.3).

 (img.3)

(img.3)

Select the Accessibility Keyboard tab at the top of the Keyboard window (img.4).

 (img.4)

(img.4)

Now just check the Enable Accessibility Keyboard checkbox and the onscreen keyboard will be displayed (img.5), the user can drag the onscreen keyboard to their desired position.

 (img.5)

(img.5)

The keyboard is displayed until the above is reversed or the ‘x’ is sliced in the top left of the onscreen keyboard.

Activate Siri By Voice On A Mac

Welcome to my first screencast on The Mac Quad. In this post I will show you how to activate Siri by voice on a Mac, making it much easier for mobility impaired users to access the features of Siri on a Mac.

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Text Walkthrough

Go to System Preferences click the Siri icon and Enable Siri.

  • Previously to enable Siri voice activation on the Mac you needed to add a Keyboard Shortcut, this is no longer the case.

  • I prefer to have Siri in the Menu Bar but not in the Dock

Go to System Preferences click the Keyboard icon then choose the Dictation tab. Turn Dictation on and click the checkbox to Use Enhanced Dictation. (this may initiate a download of a file if you have not used Enhanced Dictation previously.

Go to System Preferences click the Accessibility icon, in the left panel select Dictation and then click the checkbox Enable the dictation keyword phrase.

  • I keep my trigger word as Computer.

  • At this point you can click on Dictation Commands and in the left panel scroll down and in the System section make sure the Start Siri option is checked. If you are unable to see this command make sure Enable advanced commands is checked.

You can now activate Siri by simply saying “Computer Start Siri”.

Mac Accessibility For Severely Motor Impaired Users

As you may have seen from the about me section or realised from my website icon I am a disabled Apple user. I am paralysed from the neck down and on a life support machine 24/7, obviously this provides many barriers to using technology, however, not so much with Apple and the Mac specifically. As a severely motor impaired user most people jump to the conclusion that the primary way I interface with the Mac is via Switch Control. I have been using a Mac since 1989 so have discovered my own favoured way of controlling my system, we didn’t have the option of Switch Control with System 6 OS! In this post I’ll show how I currently access and control my 27 inch iMac with 5K Retina Display and hopefully demonstrate that despite the very welcome accessibility features in macOS Sierra there is a more precise and quicker way of taking complete control of a Mac.

As stated above I first used a Mac in 1989, two years after I was completely paralysed by a virus that attacked my spinal cord, and the revolutionary control system was called Headstart. Headstart was the forerunner of what I use today, a TrackerPro (img.1), despite having a very high level spinal cord injury and a tracheotomy tube I do have complete control of my head movements and this enables the use of the TrackerPro which has a small receiver that sits on top of the screen and a small reflective dot which sticks to the centre of my glasses. The receiver picks up the position of the reflective dot and small movements of the head (therefore dot) moves the cursor on the screen, this allows for much more precise movement as opposed to Switch Control, it is also a much faster way of moving the cursor. TrackerPro can be viewed on the Inclusive Technology Website and is also now available on the Apple Website and as you can see at over $990.00 it is extremely expensive for a piece of equipment that just emulates a mouse or trackpad, however, the cheaper versions I have tested have always had problems such as not being responsive and reacting adversely to sunlight.

 (img.1)

(img.1)

TrackerPro on it’s own does not give the full functionality of a mouse or trackpad, there is no way to left or right click. In order to have this necessary ability I use a Sip/Puff switch (img.2) that I wear on a very small headset, a puff effects a left click and a sip effects a right click. The Sip/Puff switch plugs directly into the TrackerPro and together they provide a complete mouse emulator. The Sip/Puff switch available from Origin Instruments at $295.00 and negates the need to wait for a period of time in order for a dwell click to activate, once again speeding up control of the system. As the TrackerPro alongside the Sip/Puff switch are technically a USB mouse there is no specialist software that needs to be installed.

 (img.2)

(img.2)

Being paralysed from the neck down means a standard keyboard is completely inaccessible so my main form of text input is via an onscreen keyboard called KeyStrokes (img.3) which is available from AssistiveWare for $149.00, however, with the release of High Sierra in the autumn a full featured onscreen keyboard is expected to be included free of charge in the Operating System. KeyStrokes has a built in predictive text bar which also has intelligent learning to enhance predictions, using this I an able to type at approximately 25- 30 words a minute. I also use Dragon to enter basic text.

 (img.3)

(img.3)

Over the years I have been paralysed, with the help of many iterations of accessible Mac adaptions I have gained GCSEs, A Levels, a BSc (Government) from the London School of Economics and completed many other academic courses. For my own pleasure I have also run websites, made computer artwork, run an internet radio station and had a brief go at podcasting all using this accessible technology demonstrating that such accessible technology gives complete access to the macOS platform.

Below are some images of the assistive technology set up described above. Image 4 (img.4) shows where the TrackerPro sits on the iMac. Image 5 (img.5) shows the Sip/Puff Switch box that is connected to the TrackerPro. Image 6 (img.6) shows myself wearing the tiny reflective dot on my glasses and the tube that enables me to activate the Sip/Puff Switch. Image 7 (img.7) shows where I choose to have my onscreen keyboard.

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(img.4)

 (img.5)

(img.5)

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(img.6)

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(img.7)