Microsoft To-do iOS App
Having regularly plundered this website for information, I have finally got my A into G and registered. My wife is totally blind and uses JAWS with Windows 10 and Voiceover on her iPhone. We have tried numerous ways of sharing lists so that we can nag each other, even when apart, the most recent being Wunderlist, that came very close to actually being useful.
Rather than reconstitute, I will paste my message to Microsoft support [which in my experience is a total misuse of the word "support", although they are "happy to help"!!!]. I have already had a non-reply and will paste that at the bottom for your edification and amusement.
If anyone can give an answer that usurps MS, we would be hugely grateful.
My wife is totally blind and recently had two, near fatal heart attacks.
As part of reducing stress we have implemented a number of changes and as part of that, To-do looked like an ideal solution to help get things more organised.
Using Windows 10 with a screen reader she can navigate To-do very well, but she doesn't take her computer with her when she is out of the house.
Sadly, a Windows phone is no longer an option so she uses an iPhone 6S with Voiceover. Generally everything works well until...
I will try to describe this verbally:
Once a list is prepared and a task created, she can open the task and read most things. However, with lots of text in the "Note Attachment", Voiceover will read the top couple of lines and will then say "null button - double tap to open". However when she does double tap it just reads the same message and doesn't allow her to either see the whole message, nor edit it.
Visually the note appears in a window and in the bottom right is a blue field saying "More". A sighted user can tap on this and open the note, but Voiceover doesn't allow Blind users to move the Voiceover cursor to that button.
Your expedient help would be greatly appreciated.
December 10, 2018, 09:16 +0000
Hi Shane Clayton,
Thank you so much for contacting Microsoft To-Do support team and we are happy to help
Apologies for the inconvenience caused to you . We would be sorry to inform you that this feature is currently not available in Microsoft To-Do.
However thank you for taking the time to get in touch and share what you'd like to see! User feedback and suggestions are really important to us as we work to improve Microsoft To-Do.
This is a really good idea and we will consider adding it in a future update.
In the meantime, we encourage all our users to post their ideas for future features on “Microsoft To-Do UserVoice” - https://todo.uservoice.com/forums/597175-feature-suggestions
We base our choices for future features on what our users most request, so you should also add your comments, and votes!
Thank you for your patience as we work on this and many other improvements to Microsoft To-Do!
From: Shane Clayton
Sent: Monday, 10 December 2018 10:22 PM
To: 'Microsoft To-Do Support'
Subject: RE: Accessibility for the Blind on iOS
This is not a new feature request. It is part of the iOS App that you have released that is not functioning.
I understand that it is Microsoft policy to enable Accessibility under the Human Rights Act and would really appreciate a solution.
Please read the request more carefully or kindly escalate this issue to someone who can understand the purport and intent.
Hello Shane. Have you considered the AnyList app? This app allows for automatic syncing between users. You can share lists, and/delete items on same list, and it is updated on the other persons list.
Technically, this was designed as a grocery list app; however, due to the ability to create different kinds of lists, you really can make it do what you wish. For example, I have a list created to keep track of all my supplements. I just created a category for each company that I take supplements from and then listed the name, dosage and even the ingreedients for that supplement.
Another really nice feature is the checklist feature. For example, if you have created a list full of tasks to be completed, if voiceover is active, a single finger double tap will cross off the item and Voiceover reports the status of that item. You can uncross the same item by repeating the same gesture.
You can save items for future lists, as well. For example, if you have a list of items that you would need, for example, a packing list for travel, you create the list, use it by checking off the items, and then delete the items, then in the future, if you need that list again, by adding the items from the favorites, you can recreate the list. You don't have to delete the items from the list. Just be certain that, if it is an item that you will want in the future, when you create that item, say bread for the grocery list, then be sure to add that item to the favorites. Then it is available whenever it's needed again.
Besides the free version of the AnyList app, in order to have all functionality inside the app, there are two annual subscription models to choose from (quite inexpensive no matter which one you choose). If you choose the single person offering then I think you would have total access to all functions and be able to share your lists with your wife, but she would not have full functionality. If you choose the family plan, however, then she would also have full functionality. Beside having all access to the app, the subscription also ensures that all data is backed up on their servers so that, should you need to upgrade your device, all you do is sign into your account and all items are there. If not, then you would have to recreate everything, not something I would wish to do.
I highly recommend this app. AnyList has become an indespensible iPhone app that has helped me more than I realized when I first installed it. It is very friendly with Voiceover and with just a bit of creative thinking between you, I think you can create lists that will meet all your needs.
That's certainly worth exploring. Although MS To-do is free, cost isn't an issue, if it does the job well.
From a sighted point of view [don't shoot me down yet!], although I hate the Microsoft prefix, I like the apparent simplicity and the lack of unnecessary graphics, bells, whistles, etc.
Also appealing is the fact that they have developed standalone iOS, Android and PC versions - even though the iOS version is slightly flawed, it still shows promise. I see that AnyList has a web access option, but that rings alarm bells (as a PC user) and I imagine my wife, Gillian, having to negotiate graphics, multiple columns, panes, etc., before actually getting to the shopping list, or the "essential things to keep husband happy" list.
Honestly though, unless Microsoft surprise me and provide a solution, I think To-do is dead in the water. I have worked with computers since my first, brand new, IBM AT and in all that time, despite the ongoing promise that they are "here to help", I can't think of one occasion that MS have provided an answer that works. It tends to be the frustrated users that band together and find a workaround, while MS employ their "keep the suckers busy" campaign by cutting and pasting useless and/or irrelevant suggestions... but now I'm rambling!
Suffice to say, our best option of finding an answer is via some wizard on this forum.
I have more, but perhaps I'll add it under a different heading.
(cont. from the above ramble)
Once I discovered custom labels on the iPhone I wanted more to get over the quirks of various Apps.
We currently have one App that insists on reading numerous labels from previous pages, but are not visible on screen. Another one has about six buttons on top of each other. VoiceOver reads all six, but a sighted user only needs to tap the top one.
I am not asking about developing or programming Apps, but are there user definable codes that allow further customisation? A code to skip a button would be great, or perhaps where there are two fields, one for the data (ie: 22kg) and one above or below for the heading (ie: Weight), it would be great to be able to label the data field as "Weight" and skip the heading field altogether.
With my wee problem above, the label in the notes field concludes with ..., (null)
Is this a clue? Is "(null)" a command line option and if so, are there others and if so, what do they do???
December 10, 2018, 12:48 +0000
I want you to know that I've just filed a ticket with our engineers. We hope to reproduce and fix the issue as soon as possible. We appreciate your bearing with us in the meantime. Thanks again for reporting it to us!
I feel you 100% on support. I have had to deal with tech support for years. And my family has had to as well for years. I've talked to reps that bend over backwards and reps who to put it politely seem like they don't like their job. Recently, I talked with the former of the 2. The service had a chat thing with a time limit. I didn't know that, and the chat thing was very hard to work with with Vo. So I got disconnected with the 1st rep. I got back on, and as I explained my issue I told them that I used Vo. and asked them to bear with me as it'd take longer to respond. And that the chat was very hard to work with Vo. and turning it off is no option. The rep got back to me and asked if she could send it to the email team. Since I was using Vo. to which I agreed to right away! She noted my issue, sent it to the email team, and I wrote back-and-forth with them for a few days to solve the problem. And they were the nicest people.
That being said, if you absolutely want/need to have Microsoft products, you might try calling their disability answer desk. And explain your plieght. And tell them about your failed ajtempts to get support from To-do. I'd see what they can do. They may not be able to help you, but they might. It's 50 50 shot. I don't know the number, but they are open 24/7.
Also, if you need to, I'd read them the emails from support. I had to do that 1 time and I used it as a last resort though. After that, I got a rep to help me.
This is just stuff to keep in mind for the future too if it doesn't help in this case.
best of luck
And usually, if you are nice to them, they'll be nice to you. That's how I try to approach it. It's gotten me good results.
I'm not saying you're not nice. I'm just telling you my approach to handling tech support.
The number for the helpdesk is 1-800-936-5900.
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Apple's Notes app have a checklist function? I thought I seen it last time I used the Notes app. (before Ios. 11 and 12.) I know it's not cross-platform, but if you use it with iphone, you'd probably be able to sync to icloud or to Files. Maybe even another service.
Another thing you might try is the Sighted Help )I think that's what it's called on Be my eyes. It gives tech reps a way to help the blind and see what's going on. It works just like be my eyes. I know that Microsoft is in there. They were the 1st. Maybe if you have the app, pull it up on your phone, then your wife can duplicate the issue on hers and her Pc.
Good morning Shane. Quite frankly, I don't see the need to utilize the web version of the AnyList app. Everything you need can be done through the iPhone app. Perhaps you as a sighted person may like the web version, but for a blind iPhone user, I don't see any conflict of access in the iPhone app.
I hope this helps.
Yes the note application does have an check list function. i just tried it and this is how it work for me. First thing that I did was press the check list function. Next i began typing my to do list. Finally i pressed done and started to navigate my list and as going through the list i would double tap after each item that i have completed and voiceover would say completed.
I’m really sorry for the negative experience you had with customer support, we will definitely do better in the future.
I’m an engineer on the To-Do team working on accessibility for the iOS app.
I can reproduce the bug and am currently working on a fix!
The ‘More Button’ is only displayed if the note is more than 3 lines long. For VoiceOver the preview Note attachments acts as the more button. However the labelling for that button isn’t good at the moment at indicating that this is only a preview of the notes content and as you already mentioned it is currently not opening the full note on activation which is clearly a bug. I also found a second bug that prevents opening the full Note if the Note contains a link or a date indicator like “tomorrow”.
A workaround until we release a fix: Notes that are shorter, that don’t get clipped and that don’t contain links or dates can still be opened with VoiceOver.
I would like to invite you, your wife and everyone who is interested to our Insider Program via TestFlight:
That’s the fastest way to get version of the app that contains a fix for that bug.
I just started using To Do for work, and I was planning on reaching out about this issue as soon as I found the time. Very glad that you beat me to it Shane, and that your on the case Leo, just what I expected from Microsoft; you guys have been hitting it out of the park lately. I am really loving the To Do app, and it will be, hands down, the only option for me with this fix; I'm joining the Beta right now.
A BIG THANKS from me too Leo,
...and in fairness to MS support they have been in touch after my mention of the "Human Rights Act" and they have been uncustomarily forthcoming. I offered to send a video of the issue, which they were quite keen to see, but I haven't done it yet. Shall I copy and paste your post and forward it to them or is there still merit in creating a video clip. Much though we would like a fix, it seems hardly right to have two people working on the same problem.
On things non-iOS. My disability is apparently being sighted and I had problems getting JAWS to go into the detailed task view in Windows 10, but when my wife, Gillian, opened a task she just went to the pane intuitively...
While I have your ear (and again, non-iOS) there is a slight discrepancy between the iOS App and the Windows version. When I make changes (specifically in the notes section, but perhaps any changes) with iOS it automatically saves the information in a similar way to the iPhone Notes App. However with Windows you have to remember to click/activate "Save" to avoid losing your changes.
This in itself is not a big issue, but if you close the App there is no warning that you have unsaved changes. It just closes regardless and the last chapter of my extremely interesting ,completed memoirs is lost to the ether! Also, (unless my wireless keyboard is playing tricks on me) I don't think that Control-S works as a keyboard shortcut in lieu of the Save button.
...and GREAT WEE APP thankyou and cross platform is just amazing.
After using it "domestically", I was very keen to introduce it to our business, but discovered like many others that you can only use To-do one user at a time and you can't open multiple instances.
Is it also true [Sorry Applevis, it's another Windows thing] that even with Office 365 for business, users have to respond to a link and don't automatically become Collaborators drawn from the pool of user e-mail addresses.
So many questions [Sorry[!
Prior to her heart attacks - which I am sure were assisted by frustration with technology, Gillian was studying for a degree in Social Work and spending oodles of hours on her Windows laptop.
I think that for her it is just the convenience of staying on the same device so that she can task switch from her assignment to To-do and throw a quick barb, attached to a nag, to her husband so that she can carry on with the assignment and know that she has got that off her chest.
I did have a quick look at the web access version, but the Windows App is not web based and is remarkably uncluttered and devoid of five million links, advertising banners and unsolicited audio/video clips that deliberately hide their stop/pause buttons. But I digress....
...and no, you are indeed remarkably astute. I am not a nice person ;)
Sorry Leo, I knew there was something else - possibly minor, but a bit niggly.
On the web version the notes field loses all its formatting and dumps all the paragraphs one after the other. I don't know what happens if you edit and save and then open the notes on the iOS App!
I tried with Firefox, Chrome and Edge, all with the same result.
Thanks for the great feedback and questions!
Please keep the feedback coming. We are always super happy about feedback, bug reports or feature requests from the community.
I’m in contact with our support team about the bug so you don’t need to paste our conversation. A video of your case would still be helpful for me to make sure that we are talking about the same bug and my fix really solves the issue you are experiencing.
I talked to my colleagues who work on the Windows client and I have good news about the discrepancy between the iOS and Windows version in the notes section. The next version of the app will be available this Monday and no longer contains the save button and will auto save your notes just like on the iOS version. I also told them about your experience with JAWS and the detailed tasks view. Better JAWS support is definitely on our development roadmap.
Using To-Do with multiple accounts is currently only supported on the Android version and currently under development for the other platforms.
In To-Do we currently only support sharing via the invitation link. However, in Office 365 for business you can directly invite people to a document with their email address and they will join the document directly.
We currently don’t support formatted text (bold, italic etc.) in notes and all clients therefore remove the format except for paragraphs and new lines. However, screenreader doesn’t announce paragraphs on the web. I created a bug report for the web team and hope to see a fix for that soon.
Thanks again for all the questions and feedback!
I just wanted to chime in here, and say that you guys did a fantastic job on the accessibility of To-Do for iOS!
I finally got around to importing my Wunderlist tasks and getting everything set up, and it is a joy to use with VoiceOver!
One thing I miss is a native Mac app, but this is hands down the best to-do solution I've ever used regardless.
We have both accepted the TestFlight invitation thankyou.
Sorry to ask, but is there a timeline for sorting out the "Note" bug?
The bug should be fixed in the next TestFlight version. I’m not sure when it will be released though due to the upcoming holidays.
I was wondering if it is possible to share lists with other people using this app? The reason I ask is that my son has autism combined with ADHD and easily forgets things he has to do. I want to be able to create a list and then share it with him to make it easier for him to remember the things he needs to do. If this is not possible yet could this be a future feature added?
Yes, To-Do supports sharing!
You can share a list by navigating to the list options.
In my little world, sadly I found To-do a very exciting prospect after wanting something like this for years. I haven't had time to submit anything or give logs, but I have very successfully shared tasks and lists with my wife on iOS and Windows, with lists also (and magically) appearing in the Outlook Task list... FANTASTIC!
BUT... All this has been fruitless because despite two updates of the beta version for iPhone my wife is still unable to edit the Notes section. Yes, she can now double tap and get into the Notes, but we have no idea what is happening! Swiping right makes the cursor jump all over the place. It seems as though each paragraph is set as a field and although you can get into the field, placing the cursor for editing is impossible.
PLEEEEASE... if anyone is using the iPhone App successfully with VoiceOver, would you mind sharing any tips please?
She has also spent a significant amount of time (although has lost interest recently) with the Windows version and JAWS, but was unable to skip easily between panes [sometimes F6 with JAWS, I think]. From memory if you keep pressing tab on the left hand pane, eventually you end up in the middle pane, but with no audio prompt to let you know you have arrived.
Getting from the middle pane to the right hand pane is a bit of a hit and miss affair.
Any clues gladly and gratefully accepted.
Hi everyone. I just downloaded the To Do app from Microsoft and have only used it briefly thus far. But I really like it. I've mainly been using my personal site to write these things down, and I just make those entries private. But figured I'd test out this app and am glad I did. The price is just right, and the UserVoice site seems to get along great with VO and Chromevox Classic. It's perhaps a bit cluttered due to the amount of activity on there, but I think this was a great support choice for Microsoft. Now that I think of it, I might try and advocate for this at a local nonprofit. I think the app would be great as a goal tracker, and it's cross-platform so I think that would work for everybody in the organization. Our current goal-tracking portal is not that accessible, and the previous one was a bit worse.
I love this app!
@MaleXLR Where do you run into problems? If I understand you right, there should be a problem with the note attachment, but for me it works well with VoiceOver, and my cursor position is working too. I don't know if one is supposed to be able to add multiple notes to a post, because I can't seem to do that. Is that the issue?
Yes, that is precisely the issue and the App is so close to being amazing.
If we have something as simple as a shared grocery list we don't want to add each item as a "Step" and thought that the notes field would be the best to achieve this. Using the rotary options it is possible to stumble around, but it's clunky.
On our "Daysheet" task we just changed our note paragraphs to "Steps" which on the surface looks good but again falls short of the mark.
As a sighted user I can mark the step as complete, edit the step and delete it. With VoiceOver, marking the step as complete or incomplete is easy. Also you can get to the delete button by using the rotary control. However, using the rotary control to "rename step" puts you in the text editing field, but for us none of the keyboard actions are read out by VoiceOver.
One thing I'm curious if you can do is sighted is add more notes to a task? I can add multiple steps, and mark those as completed fine with VoiceOver, but I can't add multiple notes.
What I mean is, I can double-tapp note attachment, delete the note, edit it, but I can't add more notes, though paragraphs works fine.
Ahh, I think I see what's going wrong. When using rotor controls, you swipe up and down, not left and right, to navigate the text field by whichever rotor option you choose. Swiping right when using VoiceOver will move you to an other interface element, which is not what you want in an editing case.
Let's say you want to move the insertion pointer to the next line, rotor gesture til you hear "lines" and flick up and down til you get where you need to go.
Also, keep in mind that VoiceOver focus needs to be in the text field/on the keyboard in order to use the rotor for editing.
Hopefully this is not confusing, if it is let me know and I'll try to clarify.
NB: If whichever option you want is not in the rotor already, add it from the settings in settings>general>accessibility>VoiceOver.
Thanks Malthe. Great info and much appreciated. I'm a bit busy right now but will be back on deck soon.
Is anyone else running into the bug where, when you double tap the textfield to add a task and the keyboard appears, the view of the list disappears for VoiceOver users, so the only thing visible is the keyboard?
This also means that one can't get back to the list after adding a task to it, without using the 2-finger scrub to get out into the lists overview and double tapping the list again.
I found a workaround for it though.
What is the workaround? I'd love to know
If you tap enter twice after writing the task, the list of tasks will appear. No idea how you'd do it without an external keyboard.
Thanks a bunch! This also works in braille screen input, if you flick two fingers to the right twice after writing the task.
I hope the devs fix this soon. What used to be the standard behaviour after creating a task?
I hope so too! I messaged support about it in march or something like that, and they said they could reproduce it and were working on it, so they're definitely aware that the bug exists.