Here’s a quick list of what you need to know about VoiceOver as an iOS developer:
- VoiceOver is Apple’s built in screen-reading software that is available on Apple products.
- A screen-reader does exactly what it says: it reads the screen to the user.
- VoiceOver is used by those with visual impairments. With VoiceOver, they are able to hear what is on the screen and navigate through their iPhone and mobile applications.
Turn VoiceOver on and off
First thing’s first: how do you turn VoiceOver on?
Open the Settings app on your iphone, then navigate to Accessibility > VoiceOver *
Before we actually turn VoiceOver on for the first time, let’s set up a shortcut so it’s easy to toggle on and off.
On the accessibility menu (Settings > Accessibility), scroll all the way to the bottom.
You’ll see an option called “Accessibility Shortcut.”
Click on that and check the option for VoiceOver.
Now, if you triple-click the side button (or home button) on your iPhone, you can turn VoiceOver on and off without having to return to the the phone settings.
* The exact navigation changes with different versions of OS, but if you look for the Accessibility menu, you’ll find VoiceOver.
Navigating with VoiceOver
While you’re still in the Settings app, triple-click the side button of your iPhone to turn on VoiceOver.
Swipe left and right to scroll through the items on the screen.
If you want to select something, make sure you’ve scrolled to it so it’s highlighted, then double-tap anywhere on the screen.
To sum things up:
- VoiceOver is a screen-reading tool on the iPhone
- Turn it on/off in the Settings > Accessibility menu (or with a shortcut)
- Scroll through items by swiping left and right when VoiceOver is activated
- Double-tap to select something when VoiceOver is activated
Now that you know what VoiceOver is, how to turn it on and off, and how to perform the basic navigation, nothing is stopping you from developing a more accessible iOS application. With these basic skills, you can audit your own applications for accessibility, and perform a quick check at the end of developing a new feature to confirm everything sounds right on VoiceOver.
To read more about how exactly to make your app more accessible, check out other blog entries on this site, or read documentation from Apple directly: https://developer.apple.com/design/human-interface-guidelines/accessibility/overview/introduction/