Over at the DingoAccess blog Roger Hudson has a fabulous 9 minute video in a post called iPhone, iPad and VoiceOver. The video shows David Woodbridge, a senior consultant for Vision Australia, showing how he uses VoiceOver on his iPhone and iPad.
I’m not lucky enough to have either an iPad or a sufficiently recent iPhone to be able to look at VoiceOver for myself, though I’ve played with it briefly on my MacBook Pro. Fortunately I don’t need it (yet) but I like to keep up with these things.
In the past, many people in the blind community and accessibility advocates, myself included, generally felt that VoiceOver did not have the necessary features to be considered a viable alternative for established screen readers like JAWS and Window Eyes. Today, it appears that VoiceOver is an effective and easy to use screen reader, although it seems that it may take people who are used to the more commonly used screen readers a little time to get use to.
I feel VoiceOver, which is built into the Apple operating system, and NVDA, a Windows screen reader that is available at no cost, now provide screen reader users with real alternatives. And in the process, they will hopefully put pressure on the manufacturers of other, relatively expensive, screen readers to lift their game.
On Roger’s site you can also read a transcript of the video. There are some very handy Tips in there for using VoiceOver, so bookmark it.