As part of my services from Washington State Services for the Blind, I am receiving training on the use of VoiceOver. VoiceOver is Apple’s screen reading technology for both iphone/ipad and mac computers. It allow blind/visually impaired users to access the phone, iPad, and computer through auditory means instead of visually. I have dabbled in its use on my phone and figured out the basics, but receiving official training in it’s use is really helpful to learn shortcuts and details. On Friday I received training in the use of VoiceOver on my phone. In just 2 hours, I learned all the finger gestures that are used to navigate the phone just as a sighted user would. VoiceOver reads everything on the screen. It is like learning a new language or way of using the phone. I decided to challenge myself and today, I turned off the screen (you can turn it black, but VoiceOver still works) and used my phone by VoiceOver only. I was surprised at how easy it was for me. I have ran into a few things i’m not sure how to do and “cheated” a little and used my vision to help me out, but for the most part, I am pleasantly surprised at how well I have done.
Using VoiceOver has helped me to be less fatigued than just accessing my phone visually. I really think this is a tool that I am going to use more often, especially when I have it synced to my bluetooth earpiece! It is easier for me to use it with the black screen compared to with the screen on as I do not try to use my vision. I have to rely on the VoiceOver.
I need to keep practicing so that I become proficient and I feel that it is better to use VoiceOver than not. This is really important to remember when working as an OT and working with clients on learning new technology. It may be frustrating at first, but with practice it will become easier and it is important to push clients to practice.
Tomorrow, I start learning how to use VoiceOver to access my mac laptop. This will be completely new learning for me, but I heard it is similar to the iPad so hopefully I pick it up easy.
I am excited to learn these skills!