Announcing Black Ink 2 crossword app for Mac with VoiceOver support

macOS and Mac Apps

I'm excited to share the news that Black Ink 2 is finally released today:

This is the first version of Black Ink to support VoiceOver on the puzzle grid, and as far as I know, it's the only general-purpose Mac crossword-solving app to support VoiceOver.

I see this very much as a "1.0 for VoiceOver" so please give it a try and let me know what I can do better, or particularly if I got anything completely wrong. It's a challenge to adapt the mutli-dimensional nature of crosswords to VoiceOver so if anybody has ideas for how to do it better, I'm open to all feedback!




Submitted by Joe on Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Club AppleVis Member

I downloaded this just now and have one comment. It seems when checking the word I am not notified if is correct or not. When doing command shift k it just says checking word and that's it. I am on the word I want to check. Other than that its a really great 1.0

Submitted by Joe on Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Club AppleVis Member

APH also has a web crossword app that is cross platform and is really neat also. The address is

Submitted by Daniel Jalkut on Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Thanks, Joe. I appreciate you giving it a try. I think I was so fixated on trying to get the basics of the letter/word structure exposed to VoiceOver that I didn't take any time to look yet at extras like the behavior when you correct things. I'm writing a bug report to myself to look into this.

I'm not sure what should happen after correcting it, maybe it should read aloud the special state, if any, along with the letter value? Visually it shows a small icon in the square, although sort of problematically for sighted people it only shows an icon if it was wrong, it doesn't give any feedback if it was right.

Thanks Daniel, the way I've approached it so far is to announce words on one level inside the grid, and then puzzle squares at a lower level within each word. I think VoiceOver only announces "text" on each square within a word, where I would think whether it is across or down is either sort of already known from context of navigating to the word, or else doesn't matter that much in the context of solving that word. Are you hearing it say "text" when navigating at the word level? (Interacting just beneath the puzzle grid level).

I think one of the challenges is finding a way to expose the intersecting words without it being overwhelming. In case anybody didn't notice I did add a quick action item to "change puzzle direction" so if you are on a word or square and want to go from across to down you can invoke that.

I've struggled a lot to get the desired behavior out of VoiceOver from a programming point of view, but if I get some clear guidance about how people wish it would work differently I can at least go searching for solutions to how I might be able to make that happen! Thanks for giving it a try.

Submitted by Joe on Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Club AppleVis Member

You could implement a quick sound like a bell if the word is correct or letter if I am checking with that method. A buzz for wrong of course you would more than likely want to make this a toggle for folks. I really am enjoying this so far. I also checked out mars edit your blogging software and you made a sale with that too thanks again for the hard work.

Submitted by Ekaj on Thursday, December 5, 2019

My brother sent me a tweet about this a couple days ago and I went to the website, but haven't downloaded the free version yet. It looks very nice though. Btw, I am still interested in upgrading my copy of MarsEdit but I've just been rather busy as of late. I will do that though hopefully soon.

Submitted by Alexandra Moldovan on Monday, May 10, 2021

When I interract with the grid and navigate with the arrow keys, VoiceOver says only ”text” (like it was said before), without giving me the clue number. Moreover, when checking a letter or a word, it says either ”current letter” or ”current word”, depending on what I check, and does not mention if it is correct or not.
I would love this problem to be solved, if possible.
Thank you very much in advance.