VoiceOver features in iOS 6: Reference apps and a new reading mode for HTML content

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

As I’m gradually adding apps to my iPhone 4S and enjoying the extensive features and gestures provided by VoiceOver, I thought I’d add my desired features which might be considered by Apple for inclusion in future releases of iOS. Of course, I use the phrase “iOS 6” here and in the rest of posts dedicated to this topic because it seems the most logical release of the OS which can accommodate my features; however, there would be nothing wrong with implementing one or more of them in, say, iOS 5.2.

At any rate, currently it’s very difficult to find many truly usable applications in the “Reference” category of the App store. Sure, many of them are accessible, but as I also mentioned in my review of New Oxford American Dictionary, many apps in this category tend to display their definitions in the form of a series of hyperlinked words which can be tapped for their definition. Even conjunctions and prepositions appear as links. This isn’t bad at all; in fact, it shows how capable these apps are. But the problem with the way VoiceOver currently reads the contents of these apps is that it tends to pause for each hyperlinked word, read that word, say the word “link,” trigger its sounds which is used to indicate the end of an independent item on the screen, move on to the next hyperlinked word and do all of the above. Needless to say, this makes using a very good number of dictionary and encyclopedia apps such as WordWeb dictionary, American Heritage Dictionary and New Oxford American dictionary quite time-consuming and devoid of a sense of satisfaction derived from reading normal and non-hyperlinked words though these apps are practically accessible and contacting their developers isn’t an option.

As such, I suggest that a new item called “Reading” be added to VoiceOver’s Router. When selected, users should be allowed to switch between “Normal” and “No HTML element” modes. The latter should treat words in continuous reading as if they were not hyperlinked. This can help us listen to content without having to hear the word “link” for each word and tolerate unnecessary pauses inserted between words.

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yes, I agree.

A feature like this would be useful. We should all contact Apple and suggest it.

Contacting Apple

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Yes, I would highly suggest that you do this. That is an awesome idea. I would love to see that function as part of the Rotor. There has been many times when I just wanted to read it normally without having to swipe around so many times. I may even go as far as saying to everyone that likes this idea to do the same. Not just you so that they know we really do like this idea. Who knows that might help Apple deciding what people want based on the number of feedbacks?      

That's a sure thing

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Also, it can be useful while reading webpages like Wikipedia articles which contain lots of links. Sometimes one might want to just read an article without knowing which word can be tapped to move to a separate article, website or section.

Great job!

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Doug, thanks for doing such a great job!