Question for Scrivener and Mac Users

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Hi all!
Have any of you used Scrivener extensively for writing? I have a discount code for it, but I have a PC, and the windows version does not seem to be the least bit accessible with JAWS. I really do not want to pay the extra cost for a Mac at this time, as I just got a new PC, but I might be convinced after learning about some of the Scrivener features. So here is my question for MAc and Scrivener users:
Would you say that Scrivener is as amazing for VO users on the Mac as it is for sightlings? Are there any features that don't seem to work well with VO? Also, what do you love/hate about the Mac compared to the Pc? I have been a PC user for almost ten years, but i also use an iPad and bt keyboard on a daily basis. So... How difficult will it be for me to learn the Mac with the experience I have?
Thanks in advance for your help, :)



Submitted by Joseph Westhouse on Friday, January 29, 2016

I haven't used Scrivener extensively, per se, but I can say that as far as my experience goes, it's incredibly accessible. I haven't tested nearly all of the features (one of the beautiful things about Scrivener is it has tons of features and odds are most writers, in most circumstances, only need any given 10% of them, and the 90% they don't need stay out of the way), but I've yet to find any that don't play well with VO. Are there any in particular you want to know more about? I'd be happy to play around with them and let you know.

As for the Mac in general...I love the stability (my Mac is far smoother and more stable than any PC I ever had). I love the integration of the screen reader into the OS itself - it's hard to nail down exactly why this is better, but there are all these little ways in which an integrated screen reader just provides a more consistent and reliable performance than a third-party program. Then there are little Mac-specific things that don't seem like a big deal until you go without them - I am always catching myself trying to delete or highlight by word on my PC at work, only to remember with resignation that I can't.

It's a big change, and there are definitely things to get used to - but you've got a headstart if you're already using an iPad with a bluetooth keyboard, as there's a decent amount of crossover between the two. I'd say that, if you were willing to commit to it and stick through the rocky first couple of months, you would be fine. Does that mean it's the "right" choice for you? Ultimately, nobody can answer that but you.

Hope that helped; sorry if it didn't; let me know if I can answer anything specific about Scrivener, or Mac in general.

Submitted by Chris McCausland on Friday, January 29, 2016

Scrivner is beautifully accessible. I would imagine it could be quite overwhelming as it is incredibly feature rich, however everything workss well with voiceover. It also has a great interactive tutorial to learn a lot of the features. It also integrates very well with index card for iPad and iPhone which is also really accessible.

Submitted by WriterGirl on Wednesday, February 3, 2016

I would love to know more about the index card and binder feature with VO, and also, would you say that it's worth switching to the mac mainly for Scrivener accessibility? I write a lot of fantasy, and outline everything to the extreme, so I've been looking for something like Scrivener. If so, any tips on which mac model would be better? I would use it mostly for Scrivener, pages, and maybe research, and it would definitely need to connect to my Focus 40 blue braille display. Could I get by with a mac mini or would a mac book air be better?
Thanks again for the help. :)

Submitted by Joseph Westhouse on Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The advantage of a Macbook obviously is that it's mobile - you could take it to a coffee shop or a park or on a plane or whatever and do your writing wherever you happen to be. Personally I even find that picking up my Macbook and moving to a room in the house that I don't usually write in can really spark more creativity. Change of environment is good for creativity, so I'd say the mobility of your writing platform is a big plus for a writer. That may be a point in favor of the Macbook Air.

I would have to revisit the index cards in Scrivener, but I remember the interactive tutorial (which is extremely well done, by the way) went over them and they worked fine. The binder is basically just a collection of different files associated with your document and is accessed via a list that you can navigate to very easily with VO, no accessibility issues here. In fact, you could probably assign a custom hotspot to your binder list that way you can jump right to it any time you want to go to a different document. (Custom hotspots are one of the things I love most about Voiceover.)

I don't know if I'd say it's worth switching just for Scrivener, per se - though I had that same thought when I was considering the change. In the end, Scrivener is just one program. Yeah, it's a great program - but it's not like you can't write without it.

Why I would suggest you consider switching to the Mac is because of what Scrivener *represents.* Scrivener represents everything I'm growing to love about the Mac ecosystem. On the one hand, it represents an ecosystem of apps geared towards creativity and powerful, intuitive user experience. On the other hand, it represents the way that an integrated screen reader like VO results in a lot of programs being accessible, whether the developers intended them to be or not. Of course there are bound to be inaccessible apps, though I haven't found them yet...but in my limited experience thus far, it seems far less likely to find an app that's accessible on Windows and not on Mac than vice versa.

Do you know anyone who has a Mac, or do you have access to one in some other way? It wouldn't hurt to play around for a bit - just bear in mind that certain things like the differences in the screen reader will take time to get used to - more time than you'll probably have; also you may not be able to customize things to your liking as much as you would with your own machine. But if you have the opportunity to try out a Mac, download Scrivener and take advantage of the very generous trial period to go through the interactive tutorial. By the time you're done, you'll know everything you need to about the app - and I think you'll be hooked, both on Scrivener and on the Mac OS.

Submitted by WriterGirl on Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Yes, I've noticed that more apps seem to be accessible on mac, especially since Windows 8 was released. I actually upgraded my PC not long ago, but I've come to really despise Windows 8.1, as it is much less JAWS friendly than previous versions. That's part of why I'm considering the switch. Unfortunately I don't really have access to a mac at this time, but I do know friends who have successfully used it with VO for school. I really like the idea of VO being built in rather than having the added expense of future screen-reader updates as well. I've also watched several tutorials on Mac with VO just to see how difficult it will be to learn, and it does look pretty similar to what I'm used to with the iPad and keyboard.
Thanks everyone again for your help!

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