Need help with teaching a new user how to use their iPad

I am a caregiver who is trying to help my client who is legally blind, use the iPad. The prob I am having is the iPad is all touchscreen, even with voiceover she needs to type in info and can't because she can't see the screen. We have downloaded the carb count app but it appears you have to type in info. She wants to also play games, trivia, solitaire, etc but the ones I have found, you have to type in info. Can someone shed some insight on these probs or give some direction, ideas? Thanks so much!

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#1 bluetooth keyboard

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Although the onscreen keyboard is usable with Voiceover, it might be faster to get a bluetooth keyboard. With that, they won't have to use the touchscreen as much.

#2 How to Type

However, if you're interested in how to type using VO without seeing the screen, here's a basic run-down:

To navigate between typing modes, perform a two-finger rotor gesture until you hear "Typing Mode", then flick up and down to cycle through typing modes.

If "Standard Typing" is selected, you drag your finger along the screen until you hear the key you want, then "split tap" by leaving your finger on that key, and then touching the screen with a second finger.

If "Touch Typing" is selected, drag your finger until you find the key you want, then lift your finger to select it. This is my preferred method of typing, personally, though I also use a Bluetooth keyboard when I'm going to be inputting a lot of text.

Hope that helped!

#3 Teaching Clients

Hi,
I've been teaching a client how to use the iPad for quite a while now, about a year and a half. I'd say the use of a touch screen is not an impossible task, however, for a complete beginner, it'll take quite a while. The client I'm working with now has an understanding of the basic gestures, such as flicking left or right to move the the previous and next item respectively, and double tapping to activate items, and the 2 finger double tap to pause and play audio. However, other gestures they aren't so familiar with. So it'll definitely take time. Also, as for inputting information. Depending on what information it is, dictation might be another solution, if activated, all the user will have to do is double tap the screen with 2 fingers, and then after they hear a sound, they'll have to speak the text they want to type, including punctuation, then double tap with 2 fingers again to stop the dictation process, at the end of which the text will be entered into the text field, and hopefully the text will be exactly what the person said into the microphone. In most situations, I find dictation quite reliable.
As for bluetooth keyboards, they're also a great Idea, I use one when I write blog posts on the go. SO definitely something I'd consider, however, you'll also have to teach your user the navigation around the screen with the keyboard commands.
Sorry for the length of this reply, but I hope it helps you. If you need more help please feel free to ask.

#4 How familiar are they?

Hello,

First, is your client familiar with voice over? Do they know the gestures? While the IOS is great for visually impaired people, knowing the basics is a must.

If they are not familiar or only know a little bit, have them use Voice Over Tutorial which can be found on the app store and it's free, It's a fun way to learn the basics of Voice Over.

If your client is older, having them learn the IOS and a BT keyboard can be overwelming. For me, I have my client interact with their device using Siri. Then I go over the gestures and instructing them to use the on screen keyboard. I let them know they can swipe left or right to move across the keyboard if they don't want to hunt and peck. Then when they are truely comfortable, I introduce the BT keyboard.

HTH and good luck.

#5 Using Siri

Hi,
As the previous comment here pointed out, Siri is a very good way to use quite a few functions of your iOS device if the client is not familiar with VoiceOver. The client I'm working with uses Siri on a regular basis, and finds it much easier to use than the VoiceOver gestures, although they will use the basic navigation gestures such as flick left and right, double tap and so on. But Siri is definitely something I'd also recommend.
Hope that Helps
Hubert