Whatsapp and voice messaging. Is it accessible?

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iOS & iPadOS
Hi, Yesterday I saw that the send button from Whatsapp changed to a push to talk button when there is no message to send. Well, when keeping it pressed you can send a voice message, and sliding to the left when recording will cancell it. But when is time to hear what other people sent you comes the problem. I don't know wether I am a bit slow or it is not accessible. Have you tried this feature yet? Regards

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Submitted by chee chau on Thursday, August 8, 2013

hey, i am finding it not accessable too. i only manage to listen to one voice message by accident. how i did it? i am not sure too.

Submitted by Hendrik on Thursday, August 8, 2013

When typing text, the button changes to "send", but when you attach audio, only the text part goes through. I tried everything, but it's not working. It seems the new voice messaging feature broke accessibility and Whatsapp used to be quite accessible! PS: The old way of sending audio notes still work. Tap share media and tap "more". Then you must feel around the screen, do not swipe, till you find "record audio note". But a couple of us here in South Africa tried to use PTT, but it does not work. That's why I use Zello for that. (sad)

I sent an email to the Whatsapp support with the request, but I think they will just ignore one single message. Maybe if many people write them there might be a posibility. support@whatsapp.com

Submitted by yorkshire-drew on Thursday, August 8, 2013

Having a bit of time on my hands I decided to try out this new voice messaging facility on What's App using Voiceover on my iPhone. I found it's doable but not terribly satisfactory. Sending out Voice messages is the easiest. Find the "Push to talk" button and do a one finger double tap and hold. You will then hear two low tones. Record your message then lift your finger. You'll hear two higher pitch tones. The message should have been sent. Listening to a message someone has sent you is more problematic. You can drag your finger around the screen until you hear "message contains audio" then hover your finger just above the screen and triple press the home button to turn off Voiceover. Bringing the hovering finger down on the screen will play the message. I understand sighted folks have an opportunity to cancel their message mid-record if they make a mistake. I haven't found a way that Voiceover users can do that. Obviously What's App haven't considered the needs of blind users in this update and I, too, will be writing to them. But at least in the meantime we can use this new facility although it's not easy.

Submitted by Jakob Rosin on Thursday, August 8, 2013

In reply to by yorkshire-drew

Thats how it works. I was told, that there is a play button to the left of every message, wich is not recognised by VO. Can anybody conferm, that the messages are automatically played when you have the conversation open and the message comes in.

Submitted by Raul on Thursday, August 8, 2013

In reply to by yorkshire-drew

Sure you can cancel the message, when holding the double tap, slide left and let go. I received an automatic response from whatsapp support based on keywords, but not having a solution.

same here for me. i already wrote to whatsapp support but still yet to receive a reply from them other than the automatic reply from them that my email has been received by them.

Submitted by yorkshire-drew on Friday, August 16, 2013

Over a week ago I contacted the developer of What's App Messenger to tell them Voiceover couldn't detect the "listen" button on received audio messages. Finally got a reply overnight. They said they'd fix the problem in the next release. Let's hope they will as this is a fantastic cross-platform messaging app.

Submitted by Raul on Monday, August 19, 2013

It seems we pushed enough for the Whatsapp team to respond, and here we have a new update, which includes Voiceover improvements. I haven't tested it yet, but It'll probably work.

I reply to myself just to say they screwed the app. Yes, we can hear the voice messages, but the chaters names, and message date is not readable at all, plus various focus jumps. I already wrote to the Whatsapp support, let's push them again and hope they do their job :).

Submitted by yorkshire-drew on Monday, August 19, 2013

Seems they've fixed one thing and broken several others. Talk about one step forward and two back. Also, the "push to talk" button is now labelled "Voice message button" easily confused with "voice message" which is the audio note the other person has sent you. I too will be emailing the developers.

Submitted by Bahzad on Tuesday, August 20, 2013

In reply to by yorkshire-drew

I've just downloaded the latest version of WhatsApp from the app store. Even though I appreciate their efforts at making the app accessible, I'm curious to know about whether or not the names of contacts or numbers still appear after chats are deleted from within the edit menu. In order to erase my history, I would normally tap the edit button and select delete all chats. If I had tapped the back button and then the edit button, the chats would have been deleted and I wouldn't see anything on my screen. Now, the chats are gone, but the number of the person whom I was chatting to is still there. Is this a change they've made to the update, or is it just me?

Submitted by Samuel J on Friday, August 23, 2013

Agree with the two posts prior to the one above mine. Quite a few things seem to have been broken in the new update (released earlier this week) as far as accessibility with Voiceover is concerned. Things that have worked perfectly fine prior to this update, are not working anymore. I installed the update after looking at the notes for the update (which stated that Voiceover accessibility improvements and enhancements had been made). What an absolute nightmare! The frequent loss of focus (hence making it a pain to navigate through conversations and access messages), inability to access time stamps and whether a certain text is mine or my friend's, constant lag while loading chats or navigating through messages in a chat, the voice message button being labeled incorrectly are just a few. I also have noticed that the keyboard keeps disappearing anytime you stop typing and touch above it to check what's been typed thus far. So, each tyime I stop typing and try to check what I have written, the keyboard disappears. Hence, I have to double tap in the field again to get it back. If I stop and check my text again, it disappears. This also happens if I stop typing and want to check a new message that I have received in the same conversation while I am typing. Emailed the Whatsapp Support team. Hopefully they will pay attention and resolve these issues.

Submitted by Raul on Saturday, August 31, 2013

It seems that people from the Whatsapp support team are not interested in solving the accessibililty problem they created. Maybe few people wrote them complaining.

I just contacted them as well via the email given in this thread. I hope all of you will as well and those just reading this thread, give them a link to the thread in question. I think it will help. Also explain and give them the link found on apple vis on accessibility in ios. Good luck.

Submitted by Guest on Sunday, September 1, 2013

I wrote them an email and got a reply from them. It was saying that the problem would be fixed on 2.11.4. Just come here and write several words about it. I'm not sure whether the same reply was also sent to you guys since it was quite informal with a sentence only. Perhaps I'm or we are seriously bothering them. lol

All I got thus far is your ticket has been received and it will be replied to as soon as possible, this on friday or when ever I said I contacted support. lol! Nothinig from them yet.

Submitted by Walei on Monday, September 9, 2013

I downloaded the update for What's App today. The voice messages feature seems to be working as it should be. They also fixed the labeling of messages. In a conversation voiceover will announce "your message" or "buddy message." In a group conversation, voiceover will announce the specific persons name along with their message. So there we go, What's app is back to normal with the added use of voice messages. Thanks to those who contacted the developers. I personally like the voice message feature a lot. Even more so than apps like voxer and hey tell.

Submitted by Raul on Tuesday, September 10, 2013

In reply to by Walei

Well, it is fixed only partially. The time in which the message was sent or received is not spoken.

Submitted by Guest on Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Right, problems are only fixed partially... Is anyone gonna contact them again?

Submitted by Gina on Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My WhatsApp works just beautifully. Whenever I get a voice message, I just open the app, find the particular conversation that's new, or even old, hear the "Voice Message" double tap, and it plays beautifully.

Submitted by falcon wings on Saturday, September 14, 2013

Hello there, I updated my whatsapp a few days ago,and it works just fine without any noticeable problems. it doesn't read the voice messege time,but that isn't a problem at all. not to me,anyhow. The whatsapp team has done a lot to make their app accessible and I was surprised that they actually took notice and resolved the accessibility issues. so a thanks gos out to the whatsapp team. I rated the app on the app store noteing the accessibility changes that were made,I suggest people who haven't,do the same. =d Falcon wings

Submitted by Samuel J on Saturday, September 21, 2013

Ever since the latest update (Sep 9, 2013), there have been a couple of improvements. The things that got fixed were that Voiceover now announces whether the message is your message, or your buddy’s message (there are still no time stamps announced by Voiceover though), and the Voice Message feature seems to be working fine again. However, there are still some issues as far as Voiceover accessibility with Whatsapp is concerned. And really frustrating ones too. 1. The major problem that I have been facing is, while trying to go through the conversation thread (reading individual messages in a chat, using the right and left flick gestures to move down or up), Voiceover skips messages. Meaning, it doesn’t read anything at all at certain points. There’s no particular position it does this. For instance, if I am in a chat, and I perform a left flick to check the last message that I have, Voiceover does not read the message. It makes the clicking sound, and then stays silent. If I keep flicking left, it may or may not read the next one or the next one. Same behavior when trying to go down in a conversation. Basically, it does not read the text in some of the messages while trying to navigate up or down in a conversation. It reads some messages, and skips others, at random. I have had the most trouble with this particular bug, and it is really annoying trying to read all the messages in a conversation as it requires multiple attempts with flicking right or left, and sometimes even having to close the app entirely, before I manage to get Voiceover to read all the messages. 2. The other bugs (that carry through from the August update) are, Voiceover is very jumpy, and loses focus quite a bit. The focus just jumps randomly, all over the place (hence making it extremely tedious to navigate through conversations and keep up with them). 3. Also, the keyboard keeps disappearing anytime you stop typing and touch in the edit field to check what's been typed thus far. So, each time I stop typing and try to check what I have written, the keyboard disappears. Hence, I have to double tap in the field again to get it back. If I stop and check my text again, it disappears. This also happens if I stop typing and want to check a new message that I have received in the same conversation while I am typing. Not sure what everyone else's experience has been, as far as the above mentioned issues are concerned. I for one, am encountering them a lot, which makes it very difficult for me to use Whatsapp effectively.

Submitted by Isaac Hebert (not verified) on Friday, March 7, 2014

I haven't had any problems with this app yet.

Submitted by Khalfan Bin Dhaher on Friday, March 7, 2014

In reply to by Isaac Hebert (not verified)

Hi all. Unfortunately WhatsApp messenger doesn't seem to work well with VoiceOver. I'm having the same issues that Salman has mentioned above. However, I'm not sure how to contact the developer. Any suggestions?

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Friday, March 7, 2014

Well, now that what's app was bought by facebook I'm not sure if the accessibility email for fb would work or not. I can give it though if anyone wants.

Take care.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Wednesday, October 7, 2015

I heard in the twitter verse that th ebutton can be made sticky that is you don't have to hold it. However I jsut browsed their faq and i can't find how to do this I think this was just a roomer but can someone verify this?

Take care.