Gesture-based VoiceOver on the iPhone and iPod touch
When Apple announced the iPhone almost three years ago, I posted Apple iPhone is cool, but where is my keypad?, with some thoughts about the lack of a real physical keypad and how that would make it difficult to make the iPhone accessible to people who are visually impaired.
One of the ideas I had was to somehow give the user audio feedback. Well, Apple fortunately did a lot better than that—the iPhone 3GS and current iPod touch models ship with Apple’s VoiceOver screen reader. To work around the lack of a keyboard on the iPhone and iPod touch, VoiceOver is gesture-based.
Apple has made a video that shows how VoiceOver works on an iPhone. There is also more detailed info on VoiceOver for iPhone and VoiceOver for iPod touch. And for some comments from a real user, read Marco Zehe’s My first experience using an accessible touch screen device.
Oh, and the gesture-based VoiceOver is not only for iPhones and iPods—If you’re lucky enough (I’m not) to have a Mac notebook with a Multi-Touch trackpad and Snow Leopard, you too can use it.