Apps/techniques for serious writing?

iOS and iPadOS

Hello all.

I am a very serious writer, and have been for many years. I primarily write using my PC, but now that I have an Iphone and Ipad, I would really like to write in a more mobile capacity. I haven't had this opportunity since the days of the Braille Lite long ago. I've used pages and Microsoft Word, plus tried Voice Dream writer. I can almost get the latter to do what I want, but I can't import Word files, which is a deal breaker. I do want to be able to import formatted documents, and also format documents myself.

My issues are two fold:

1. I don't mind using a braille display/Bluetooth keyboard for typing, but I have a problem: text navigation. Simply put, I can't seem to read and navigate by paragraph. it's just characters, lines and words in the voiceover router. That really makes it difficult to navigate longer paragraphs to get to where I need to go quickly. I'm really used to that on the PC. I know with a Bluetooth keyboard there is a reading by paragraph keystroke, but in both Pages and Word, I find it incredibly unreliable. It often skips entire paragraphs, or reads only part of a paragraph.

2. using the router to read by line. This happens in lots of different apps; anything from word and pages, to even Safari. What happens is I'll read by line, and voiceover will cut off maybe the first letter or two of the line. When I look at the voiceover cursor, I can even see that letter is not within the cursor bounds. If I flick or arrow up, it works, but when I do it down, it doesn't. Makes reading really hard let me tell you.

3. MBraille. Simply put, the app doesn't work on my Ipad when using it as a third party keyboard. The interface comes up, but there are no dots present to type on in any of the orientations. Voiceover just acts either as though it's not there by reading the elements it would normally read, or as if there is nothing there at all, by beeping as if ... there was nothing recognizable underneath my finger. The regular Ios braille keyboard works pretty well, but I generally prefer MBraille because it announces misspelled words. Are there any fixes for this? Anyone encountered similar issues? Also, similar issues happen on my Iphone 6S plus.

Thanks for reading all this. I hope someone will know something.



Submitted by WriterGirl on Tuesday, April 18, 2017

I am a very serious writer as well. I used a PC for years but recently switched to the Mac. I now use Scrivener for all my writing needs because the Mac and IOS apps stay in sync through Dropbox. Unfortunately, Scrivener for PC is NOT accessible, so you would really only benefit from the IOS version. It is completely accessible and solves most of the navigation issues by letting you break your projects into smaller chunks like scenes or chapters. You can also import Word docs very easily if you wanted to continue working on your PC. As far as your other questions:
1. I would not attempt to write anything super lengthy without a braille display or BT keyboard. It's just much faster and WAY more reliable than touch screen typing! You're correct in that the paragraph shortcut on a BT keyboard is not very accurate, so I usually just use the arrow keys to move by line. I'm pretty sure you can add paragraph navigation to the router under settings, general, accessibility, voiceover, and router, but that's not much better than the keyboard shortcut.
2. You are also correct that moving by lines on the router is not very accurate either. Again, I just use the arrows on my keyboard or pan keys on my Focus Blue.
3. I've never gotten the Mbraille 3rd party keyboard to work either. I sometimes use the app and save everything to Dropbox, but that gets tedious. The IOS braille keyboard does allow spell checking, but only in uncontracted mode, and you have to be typing slow enough to hear Voiceover say misspelled. That's a no go for me, so braille display it is!

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The people from scrivener are great, they've worked very hard to get scrivener accessible on both mac and IOS. I'd say that screen brailing is fine for short pieces, but when it comes to longer, not a chance, it's far to involved to scan back and correct.

I sometimes use my iPhone to get down ideas however, there still isn't really a complete solution on IOS to edit and spell check to the level we need as professional writers though, I do have high hopes for the future.

I'm a serious writer too... I just happen to do it in my underpants.

Submitted by Remy on Tuesday, April 18, 2017

What more can I say. Gets cold though. Thanks for the replies. I was wondering about Scrivner. I heard it was accessible on the Mac, but was uncertain about accessibility on IOS. Have to give that a try for sure. As for navigating, I have never seen a paragraph navigation setting in the router. Believe me, I've looked with every IOS update. I'll totally use my old apple bt keyboard or Brailliant brl display. They work great overall except for the text nav issue. Paragraphs are just helpful when jumping back and forth through text. Not a deal breaker, but even on the old braille lite days I could do it, so I've come to rely on it. Guess I'll have to eyeball it. Thanks again.