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Posted tagged ‘voiceover’
Netflix just updated their app yesterday with two neat things. First is pretty obvious. Netflix now works with the retina display on the new iPad, but the second thing is the best for those who are blind. Netflix adds on their change screen for their update that they have added better support for VoiceOver users. I am not sure what that means, but it sounds like they have made netflix work with VoiceOver again on iDevices. I would love to hear readers thoughts on this or if they have seen it work better now.
While using my phone yesterday I found an interesting bug. While switching between VoiceOver and Zoom with the home button I came across an error where Zoom turned on and VoiceOver’s gestures turned off, but the speech did not. I have never seen this problem and I have to say that it is kind of a nice bug. I would almost call it a feature.
So why is this a feature you ask? Well that is a good question. The reason I feel this is a feature is because as a partially sighted individual, I kind of like the ability to have partial speech while also having zooming capability. I can zoom in and also hear what I am doing at times. I really like this in ZoomText for Windows at some points.
There are several issues however that occur when this error occurs. The first being that there will be very little memory for the rest of your applications. If the speech is running, and zoom is turned on, then the operating system will have to work double time to keep your apps running and to keep speech and magnification going. This slows down the phone or iPad by a lot. The other problem is that this only allows for partial speech feedback. You will hear some things be spoken through VoiceOver, but the VoiceOver gestures will not work. This means that if you tap on something, you will be brought to that item you tapped on. Double and tripple taps will not work the same in this mode. This means VoiceOver will not always read what you tap on, but it will read any actions that result from that tap.
Out of all the bugs I have found in software over the years, this has to be the best.. It allows for partially sighed users to get zoom and speech, but at a price. I would really love to see Apple create a VoiceOver and zoom environment where both can work together for the user, even if it just means partial speech. It would be really nice to have your phone numbers read aloud like this bug allows, but to still be able to zoom in on certain things on the screen. So what do you think, should this be a bug or a feature?
I am very glad to see that mainstream bloggers are taking notice of these kinds of things. Check out this article from The Unofficial Apple Webblog TUAW. Blind User Explains why he Loves the iPhone.
I am not going to re-state what has already been stated on the AppleVis web site, but I do want to get the word out about the new VoiceOver commands in iOS 4.1. These commands allow for more appropriate screen reader functionality for the operating system, and includes features like reading keys. We will also see these make an appearence on the iPad in November. Head on over to AppleVis, and read all about it.
If you have a jailbroken device, your jailbreak will be lost after the 4.1 update, so be aware of this when you update.
Lately, we have been seeing a few Assistive Technology applications reach the iPhone via the App Store, Some of these include Digit-Eyes, SayText, and etcetera. Now we have Prizmo.
Prizmo is a well established OCR (Optical Character Recognition) application for the Macintosh. Prizmo for the Mac was designed to take in images through a scanner, and return editable text to the user. This week, we now see the release of Prizmo for the iPhone
How does it work?
When launched, Prizmo asks what kind of text is to be scanned. This can be plain text, a business card, a bill, a whiteboard, or to bring up the text reader. You may also view your saved documents from this screen. Each choice allows for better scanning clarity for that particular item. When you select an item, a few more choices will be presented. Prizmo will then ask where the image should be gathered from. Your options here are camera, photo album, or pase the image from the clipboard. After inserting the picture, you will be given many changeable options to increase the quality of the image. Once scanned, the program will take a short time to convert your image to text, which can then be read by voiceover.
Below are the summeries of the main menu options.
- Text – Text mode will let you scan a printed page and read it with VoiceOver, or with the Reader option.
- Business Card - Scanning a business card will take all found text, and create a new contact in your phone based on what is on the business card.
- Bill – Scanning a bill will add multiple text entries for easy review of billed items.
- Whiteboard – This option will allow a user to scan a whiteboard in an office, or school. It then will convert all information to text.
- Reader – The reader section will allow you to read saved text documents with one of the 35 voices that can be purchased through Prizmo. These are standard Vocalizer voices, and are not half bad.
- Documents – The Documents section will allow you to view, and maintain your saved documents.
All sections of this software work with VoiceOver. All buttons have proper labels, and all areas are spoken clearly.
The only possible problem may be that the app does not have any way to tell a visually impaired user how to center their camera for the clearest picture.
Prizmo costs $9.99 in the App Store which is vastly more expensive then the competition of SayText.
Final observations and conclusions
Prizmo, already being an established OCR application, does not fall short of expectations. The scanning quality is excellent as far as I can tell, and the programs functionality comes very close to the kind of functionality found on other established phones for a lot less cost.