Questions about using the Focus 14 Braille display with some common iPhone apps
Hello, all. I am just working on mastering a variety of apps using my Focus 14 and the iPhone 5s. I do not do well using the swipes and gestures, and depend almost exclusively on the Focus 14 keyboard.
I downloaded the Amazon app, but found that when I wanted to go to the top of the screen, hitting the L chord did not appear to be sufficient, because my sighted friend was telling me that there was yet more material above that. Likewise, I found the Braille display was constantly getting stuck. Using The L chord, the 456 chord, and the rocker buttons just left me stuck. Do you have any suggestions? Has anyone created a tutorial or guide for using the Focus 14 with the Amazon app, as well as other common ones?
I also had a problem with Kindle app on the iPhone. I found it impossible to use the book browser: I'd hit the mode button to get into the search field and type the name of the book. But the phone wasn't searching at all. A sighted friend this summer failed to get the book browser function to work.
I do a lot of traveling, and would like to know about how to navigate common travel apps with the Focus 14. Among the airline apps I'd like to use are: American Airlines, UsAir, United, Delta, Air Canada, and then there would be Expedia, and one that my travel agent uses called Mytripandmore. Are there easy ways of getting into an app using the Focus 14 and seamlessly finding gate information?
I would welcome any and all suggestions. Thanks for helping me, a clueless novice.
Freedom Scientific has a free training on using the iDEVICES with the Focus displays.
If you aren't familiar with these, there is an archive, which "plays" in a web browser as if you were attending the webinar. There is an MP3 file of the webinar and a series of HTML files which are handouts. It depends on your learning style how you work with these.
I usually play the archive, though if I'm mobile I might download the Mp3 to a player or stream it on my phone. Later, when I don't remember how to do something, I return to the HTML files for reference, often storing useful ones in my dropbox to refer to on the go.
You were asking about how to use the Focus display with apps. It's super important first to be sure you can use it seamlessly with apps built in to your phone; reading a PDF in iBooks, typing in the notes app, scrolling through the app store. If you can do these things you are much better equipped to start using it with random apps.
I too found the learning curve for Braille displays , including the focus to be steep. You can't just pick one up and start using it because the key combinations aren't as intuitive as the touch interface. You need to commit to memorizing a few chords at a time, rather than getting overwhelmed trying to learn it all at once.
If you are having issues with a particular app, try doing something similar using an app built in to the device that you know is accessible to confirm it's the app and not you. For example, when I had trouble reading something in Word, I went back to try to do more reading in Safari. In this case, I was hitting the wrong tiny button. But later, when I tried reading an epub book in a third-party app where Braille kept jumping I confirmed that lack of access was the issue and not lack of skill on my part.
Remember too that 14 cels is not a heck of a lot; it can be very frustrating to read a lot of text and constantly panning, especially since the button used to pan is so itty-bitty compared to the huge levers to the right and left of the display. In my opinion most manufacturers give their displays way too many buttons, because they want to market features over long-term ease of use. If I were designing a braille display, it would have a detatchable 8-dot keyboard where iOS would support all the standard chords. It would have a touch-sensitive area at the end of the line of cells that would automatically pan when touched, no need to locate and press a teeny button. And it would only have four large buttons and cursor routing buttons above each cell.line