Category Archives: braille

Guest Post: Check out the GARI Web Site to learn more about Accessible Smart Phones, TVs and other Devices

The Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative

The Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative (GARI) is a project created in 2008 by the Mobile & Wireless Forum (MWF) and designed to help consumers learn more about the various accessibility features of wireless devices and to help them identify a device that best suits their needs.

The project website (www.gari.info) includes information on more than 110 accessible features in over 1,100 mobile phone models from around the world, as well as information on accessible tablets, accessibility related mobile applications, and as of late 2016, accessible Smart TVs and Wearables.

As part of the GARI project, the MWF has committed to regular reviews of the features that we report on in light of changes in the technology and customer needs. As a result, we invite all stakeholders to provide any comments or suggestions on the features that they would like to see reported on by manufacturers, as well as comments on the usability of the GARI website.

Comments or suggestions can be made by 31 July 2017 in order to be included in the current review cycle.

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Guest Post: How to Re-Arrange App Icons on your iOS 10 Device

Dear GTT Members,

Thanks goes out to GTT Edmonton member, Owais, who has written a tutorial on arranging iOS app icons that he would like to share with us. See his email below.

Subject: Arranging Apps In Ios 10

Hello Gtt. I have prepared a Tutorial that demonstrates how to Arrange Applications in iOS 10 since Apple has made it very easy to do this. In this tutorial I have prepared all the steps to arrange apps with a Braille Display and without a Braille Display. I hope this helps everyone.

Arranging Apps In iOS 10 With A Braille Display:
Note: This tutorial assumes that the user is already connected to a Braille Display.
Step 1. First locate on your Home Screen of the iOS Device to an app. It will help if your at the very top of the Home Screen.
Step 2. Press Spacebar and Dot 6 to go to your options of your current Rotor Settings. Try to find Arrange Apps.
Step 3. Click or Double-Tap on it with your Rotor Keys. The Braille Display and Voiceover will announce Arranging Apps.
Step 4. Scroll up or down once and then back to the app you were previously on. You will then read the App’s name and the word “Editting” beside it.
Step 5. Be careful here because Double-Tapping on this may Delete the App however you will get an Alert Pop-Up.
Step 6. Locate to the app that you wish to move and swipe up by pressing Spacebar and Dot 3. Look for Move the specific app for example Messages.
When you swipe up your Ios Device should say Move Messages.
Step 7. Double-Tap and a Pop-Up should be seen spoken to choose a Destination.
Step 8. Now anywhere on your phone locate to an app on your phone that you would like the currently moved app to be with.
Step 9. When you have found that app swipe up by pressing Spacebar and Dot 3 again. You will see place Message in this case before or after or the current app. Another option you will have is to Create a folder with the following 2 apps. Select the option you want and press the either of Rotor keys to Double-Tap. Your app will then be mrved.
Step 10. To end the Editting Mode press the Home Button or do the same steps if you wish to mrve other apps.
Step 11. When you create folder with several apps the iPhone may name it randomly according to the Category of apps they fit in. You may change the App’s name by going into the Folder and putting your Ios device in Editting as explained above as you want to move an app.
Step 12. Instead of mrving apps go to the very top of the folder. You will see Clear Text and when your Ios Device has focused the Braille Display on the Folder’s Title, a Pop-Up comes saying “Double-Tap to edit text field.”
Click on it using the Braille Display Rotor keys and simply enter the Title you wish to give this Folder. Press Spacebar and E when your done.
Step 13. End your Editting as described above.
Note: When you have completed formatting your Ios Device’s Layout place your Rotor Setting option to Activate Default since if it’s focused on Arrange Apps, your phone will go back into Editting Mode as soon as you Double-Tap on the app to use it or when you press Enter.

Arranging Apps Without A Braille Display:
Step 1. Swipe Up or Down on your Ios Device’s screen and Double-Tap on Arrange Apps. Swipe to the right/left and then back to your current app you would like to move and Voiceover will announce for example Messages Editting.

Step 2. Be careful here and don’t Double-Tap since that may lead you to Deleting your app. Please note that if you click on this button here as well Voiceogher will alert you telling you that your about to delete an app.
Step 3. Swipe up to find move Messages for example and Double-Tap on it.
Voiceogher should announce Choose A destination.
Step 4. Locate to the app you wish to move the current app before or after.
Step 5. Swipe up or down and you will get options to place Messages after or before or even create a folder with the following 2 apps. Select the one you want.
Step 6. Now your app has been moved and your done. Press the Home Button if your done formatting your Screen Layout or follow the same steps to mrche your other apps.
Step 7. When your folder in a folder and wish to change the folder’s name in which your apps are located do the follow things.
Step 8. Proceed to the very top of the folder and put your Ios Device back into Editting Mode.
Step 9. You will hear Voiceover announce the folder current name in addiy to a Pop-Up saying Double-Tap to edit the Text Field.
Step 10. Double-Tap and use your Touch Screen to enter the Title you wish to give your folder.
Step 11. Double-Tap on done and your all done.
Note: Make sure your screen is focused on Activate Default instead of Arrange Apps when your done since this will do the same thing as described in the note with the Braille Display above.

Best Regards,
Owais

Please send your questions and comments to,
GTT.Edmonton@Gmail.com

Guest Post: Dolphin Releases the EasyReader App for iOS, a new Direct To Player audio book reading app

June 9, 2017

Dear GTT Members,

Earlier this week Dolphin released their latest app that will allow CELA patrons to access Daisy books directly into the app. Below are two helpful links, the first will take you to the Dolphin Web Site where you can access a YouTube video and other sources of information about the Dolphin EasyReader App, and the second one will take you to the App Store where you can download the app into your iDevice for free.

Dolphin EasyReader Direct to Player App for iOS:

Where to purchase EasyReader from the iOS App Store:

Once you have downloaded and installed the app, you may log in to your CELA account by typing the following in front of your six digit CELA ID Number:

CELA_

Follow that with your password in the password field and you should be able to try out this great new app.

Thx, Albert Ruel, GTT Coordinator
The Canadian Council of the Blind
Email: GTTWest@CCBNational.net
Mobile: 250-240-2343

For a Cool Blind Tech article on this app check this link:

Training Opportunity: Eyes-Free Academy Presents, “iPhone Eyes-Free – Mind’s Eye Navigation on the iPhone Touch-Screen” by iHabilitation Canada

Eyes-Free Academy Presents:
“iPhone Eyes-Free – Mind’s Eye Navigation on the iPhone Touch-Screen”

As you may already know, iHabilitation Canada has been busily learning about multimedia recording and online learning management systems. We’ve done this to discover how these technologies can be integrated to create inclusively-designed instruction in Eyes-Free iPhone operation for both teachers and learners.
You can imagine how happy we are to announce the launch of our Eyes-Free Academy, because it does just that! Our first course, “iPhone Eyes-Free – Mind’s Eye Navigation on the iPhone Touch-Screen”, is offered free of charge because we want to encourage feedback regarding future course content.
To find out more, please join our low traffic Email info list at the above URL. You’ll receive a booklet with a more detailed explanation of Eyes-Free Academy course content and teaching methodology.

Our approach promotes the idea that almost anyone can navigate the iPhone touch-screen via the Voiceover screen-reader, rather than looking at the phone.

This introductory iPhone Eyes-Free course, which is inclusively-designed, provides detailed audio/video real-time demonstrations along with PDF documentation to suit various accessibility needs. The course comprises six sections: introduction, lessons and summary.

We have also posted a promotional video on our YouTube channel that describes the course and the philosophy behind iHabilitation Canada. You can find the video at the above URL. The channel will also showcase future course material.

Thank you,
Tom Dekker VRT
Founder, iHabilitation Canada
778-265-2513 or 250-661-9799
Tom@iHabilitation.ca
http://www.iHabilitation.ca

Job Opportunities: Jymico is seeking braille transcribers, proofreaders and tactile graphic designers

My name is Anne-Julie Thibeault and I am the director of marketing at Jymico.

We are currently searching for experienced braille transcribers, proofreaders and tactile graphic designers to join our dedicated and passionate team.

If you are interested, please fill out the form at the end of this message. For more information about our business, please visit our website at jymico.com. Thank you in advance for your time. If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me by email or phone. Hoping to have generated your interest.

Best regards,

Anne-Julie Thibeault
Marketing director
ajthibeault@jymico.com

Visit our new website jymico.comJymico
1 877 272-4553 #34
4545, 1st Avenue
Quebec, Qc G1H 2S8

Tutorial Resource: How To Connect a Refreshable Braille Display to iDevices

Hello GTT members across Canada:

For those of you who are blind and may be thinking of connecting an electronic braille display to your iPhone or iPad the following are tips from one of our GTT Edmonton student members, Owais Patel.

Thanks to Owais for sharing his experience.

 

Hi Gerry.

Here are the important things that I would like you to share with all of our Gtt members regarding using a Braille Display with your iOS device. Finally I have completed them now. Thanks for sharing them for me.

 

Note: These instructions apply to the iPhone but for most of the part are same for all iOS devices and the following instructions apply to the Braille Sense U2, however make sure with the Tech Team of your Braille Display that these instructions also apply to you. Most likely they should be the same.

 

How To Connect a Braille Display to iDevices:

  1. Locate to Utilities and Terminal For Screen Reader on the Braille Sense and select Bluetooth Serial Port, press F1 and then F4 which will put you in a mode where all of your display will be blank.
    1. Now on the phone locate to Settings, General, Accessibility, VoiceOver and then Braille. Find the Heading labeled Choose A Braille Display and scroll down once. Here your Braille Display’s name should appear. Double-tap and you will be placed in the Text field of entering a 4 Digit Pin Code. If you want to remember it easily try to keep one number repeated 4 ts. Quickly
  2. do this and click on Pair Button. Now on your Braille display you will have a Pop-up saying Pin Code. Here enter the code which you entered on the phone quickly and press enter. You should be now connected.

 

Keystrokes To Use With The Braille Display:

  1. When you are connected to a Braille Display you don’t need to touch the screen of your phone and everything becomes even faster but everything you do also changes.
  2. In the situation of a Braille Sense your Home Button is the Function Key 2.
  3. To scroll up and down you may use the Scroll keys on the sides of the U2/.play. If these keys don’t appear there, use Space bar and Dot Dot 1 to go up or to the previous item and Space bar and Dot 4 to go Down or to the next item.
  4. Press Space bar and Dots 1 2 4 5 to toggle between the Braille codes in which the stuff from your iPhone is displayed on your Braille Display.
  5. Although this is different when you write because this code doesn’t apply to the Output of the phone onto your Braille Display.
  6. To manage this code press Space Bar and Dots 2 3 and 6. To swipe up poess space and dot 3 and to swipe down press space and Dot 6.
  7. To Delete something in a Text Field press Space and D.
  8. To write something from the Writing field of the Braille Sense into the real iPhone field press Space and E. For example when you trying something in search field and you you write “Weather Today”
  9. to paste this into the Search field press space and E. This can also be used to insert a blank line in a document. It works like the enter key on your Qwerty keyboard.
  10. To go to the very top of the screen press space and Dots 1, 2 and 3. To go to the very bottom of the screen press Space and dots 4, 5 and 6.
  11. To Double-Tap using the Braille Sense use the Cursor Keys.
  12. To open the help menu to see what each keystroke does press Space and K, or a 4 finger Double-Tap. When you’re here you can do any keystroke to see what each does for you. Don’t worry because Voiceover will speak each keystroke’s action or the the spoken words will pop up text on the display. Although the real keystroke in this section will perform its action.
  13. Once you would like to close this don’t press space bar and K, instead you will have to do the 4 Finger Double Tap on the iPhone screen.
  14. To activate Rotor options press Space bar and Dots 5:6 to go forwards and Space bar and dots 2 and 3 to go back. Then swipe up and down to select and deselect text.
  15. Press Space bar and S to see all of your bars Battery Remaining Etc.
  16. When your done with this do the keystroke to go to the top of the screen and this will take you back to the home screen or where you were before you activated this Status Bar Screen.
  17. To go out of a Window on your Phone or go back to something press space and letter B.

 

Voiceover Braille Display Short Forms:

When you just use Voiceover to use the phone you will not notice the short forms which Voiceover uses to label things in several places on the iPhone, because Voiceover just speaks the original phrase or words directly.

  • Firstly the short form used for Heading is Hd. The short form of Button is B.T.N. These are the main ones only. Hope they help.

 

Important Notices:

  1. There are several places on iOS devices where Pop-ups happen. As a result if your a slow reader you may not be able to read what was on your screen before the pop-up happened. A tip for this is to wait for the pop-up to disappear and then read without moving up or down what’s on the Braille Display. To refer back to the Pop-up scroll down-up and go back to where the pop-up appeared.
  2. You can adjust all the Braille Settings based on your opinion in the Settings and this will really help.
  3. Sometimes the doesn’t connect to the Braille Displays we use. It’s a great idea to reset both devices and then retry. If it still doesn’t work try turning your Bluetooth on your iPhone off and retry. Hopefully this will help.
  4. Sometimes when entering a password or a Username it may be a problem to enter it because of the Braille Code translation. However if this happens. Use your screen to type for this time only and you should be all right.
  5. It’s a great idea to turn the Speech Off when you’re using a Braille Display with your Ios device because the speech slows everything down. For example if you on an app title, Voiceover will still speak the title even though your at the next app on your Braille Display.
  6. Whenever you’re in any Text Field it is a great idea to do the keystroke Space bar and Dots 2, 3 and 6. It’s a great idea because it might mess up your writing in my experience.

 

Contact Info:

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you face any problems. I will try my very best to help. My email address is written below.

Email:

owaisipatel@gmail.com

Also using a Braille Display with all of the MacBooks is extremely accessible as well. To get all the keystrokes regarding the use of Braille Displays with the Mac please contact Kim the Gtt Coordinator in Ottawa.

Email:

gttprogram@gmail.com

 

Kind Regards,

Owais

 

 

 

 

GTT Victoria Summary Notes, How Do You Access The News, March 1, 2017

Get together with Technology (GTT) Victoria

A Chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind

Summary Notes
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
GVPL Main branch, Community Meeting Room

The meeting was called to order at 1:05 pm by chair Albert Ruel

Attendance: Kara, Bruce, Doug, Trever, Karen, Sky, Debra, Brent, Marion, Godwin, Barb S, Joan, Tom, Barbra A, Albert, Corry.

First Hour:
Albert welcomed everyone to the meeting, Nice to see three new faces out this meeting, a special welcome Debra, Goodwin and Barb S.

The meeting started with some discussion about an app that had been seen on the BBC news service similar to the BeMyEyes app. Various apps were discussed and the pros and cons of such apps. The liability involved in having someone identify potentially dangerous situations (like street crossing signals) was discussed. Albert mentioned that Kim had spoken about a new color detector app, being developed at Carlton, that might be available soon.

From there the discussion turned to some description about products that were available for loan from the library. Karen informed the group that tablets were available and that a 30 minute training session was also available to be booked. More training could be booked if the initial session did not suffice. Meeting participants had questions about what was on the tablets and the process involved in reading books on the loaned equipment.

Internet and email security were discussed and the importance of remembering your pass codes and access codes was communicated to all. Often, on sites like FaceBook and even on iDevices, access can not be obtained without this valuable information. Make a point of remembering your codes, Super important. There are smart phone and computer apps and programs available to help you remember like Password Vault and SplashID.

repurposing equipment was discussed. Bruce mentioned that iPhones were often available at Government Surplus. Deb expressed in interest in obtaining a used tablet and or phone. Albert will look into the matter. it was also noted that a original Victor Stream was required and requested by Barb A and Bruce was interested in a repurposed phone. Regarding the latter, Albert mentioned that the Lions of Victoria have a program that helps put an iPhone into the hands of blind and vision impaired users, More information at the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind.

Quick notes, SSD’s were discussed, is there a need to defrag, Sky will test…CELA is testing a new direct to player app, more details to come…CD with MP3 files are still available from the library…KNFB app, still one of the best, but also pricy, the app and what it does was discussed……The bookShare program was discussed.

remember the email address for this group is GTT.Victoria@Gmail.com

Second Hour:
After a break the main meeting topic was discussed, that being NEWS. Where do you get your news, and how has the process evolved over the years based on technology advancements. Facebook and Twitter and other social media outlets were identified as sources, with the cautionary note that all news is not true. Fake news and the attention it has garnered recently was talked about, and how you can best judge it accuracy. The library of congress and the inability of Canadians to access this extensive resource was discussed. Albert mentioned the Newspapers that were available via CELA. How to source news via a web search was discussed.

Before closing the question of when we should hold meeting was raised. Should we attempt an evening meeting? Should we meet more or less then once a month? The consensus was to continue to meet once a month in the daytime.

The meeting was adjourned at 2:50

Next meeting Wednesday April 5, 2017

Meeting notes submitted by Corry Stuive

GTT Edmonton Summary Notes, Google Classroom and Computer Training, February 13, 2017

Summary Notes
GTT Edmonton Meeting February 13, 2017

The most recent meeting of the Get Together with Technology (GTT) Edmonton Chapter was held February 13 at 7pm at Ascension Lutheran Church 8405 83 Street in Edmonton.
23 people attended.

February Topics – Google Classroom Demo and Education/Training

Google Classroom Demo
Owais, a junior high school student member of our chapter, demonstrated how he uses the Google Classroom app on his iPhone in conjunction with his BrailleSense. Google Classroom was designed together with teachers to help them save time, keep classes organized, and improve communication with students.
With this tool Owais can keep track of his assignments, post them for teacher review, his teacher can return with edits, and Owais can formally turn in the completed assignment. He can do all the work in braille both creating documents and reviewing them. Owais showed us the remarkable capability of young blind students who are both braille and technology literate.

JAWS Screen Readers and Students
After Owais finished his demo a discussion ensued whether students need to also learn Windows computers with screen readers such as JAWS or whether they can continue their education and employment using only braille notetakers such as the Braillesense or BrailleNote. The consensus from our blind team is that both are needed and students should aim to be familiar with Windows and Microsoft Office during high school and certainly before entering college/university. Also, Windows computers with Office are the most prevalent computers used in business and industry so mastering the Windows environment is essential for future employment.

Funding for JAWS
A question was posed about funding assistance for JAWS. Two possibilities:
1. CNIB. CNIB clients may qualify for the CNIB STEP program funding. If so, the STEP program would pay 75% of the JAWS purchase price which is currently $1185.
2. ASVI. the Alberta Society for the Visually Impaired (ASVI) Northern Alberta Chapter offers funding to provide assistive technology equipment and software for members ages 18 and under, if a qualified professional has recommended it, such as the student’s vision consultant. ASVI is only able to provide this funding through the generous donation of time and effort by its board, parents, and volunteers. Interested parents and individuals are asked to consider helping by volunteering their time by serving on the Executive, or helping at the ASVI fundraisers. More information about the application process can be found here:
http://www.asviedmonton.org/funding.html
P.S. ASVI is seeking volunteers for their upcoming casino fundraiser on March 16-17. Please email info@asviedmonton.org

Educational Materials for our Chapter
We thank the Edmonton Blind Curling Club who have generously provided us a grant that we may use to purchase educational materials and help with training. We will use the grant this year and next to purchase technology related tutorials and text books. Soon we will send a list of possible tutorials and text books to those listed on our email list. You may look through the email and respond to let us know which tutorials or text books might help you. Watch this space!

One-On-One Training
The donation from the Edmonton Blind Curling Club also allows us to provide another training session at the Norquest computer lab. This will happen on March 2. At the February 13 meeting, we registered 3 people for JAWS training and 2 for Zoomtext. We are delighted that the 3 JAWS registrants are all students!

Next Meeting (Monday March 13 at 7pm)
• Currently we have no volunteer demonstrations.
• We will focus on one-on-one training especially iPhone and DAISY players. If you have other training requests email your interests to us so we can try to accommodate you.
• As always, for help with technology bring your devices and/or questions to the meeting.

Meeting Location and Logistics
• Ascension Lutheran Church 8405 – 83 Street NW, Edmonton.
• We meet in the basement hall. There is elevator access.
• Enter the church from the back door. There is parking at the back and drop off space for taxis, DATS.
• Meetings are every second Monday of the month at 7pm.
• If you have someone helping you your assistant is welcome to remain for the meeting.

GTT Edmonton Team
• Carrie Anton is visually impaired and is the accessibility specialist for Athabasca University.
carrie.anton@hotmail.com
• Gerry Chevalier is blind. He is retired from HumanWare where he worked as the Product Manager for the Victor Reader line of talking book players.
GTT.Edmonton@gmail.com
• Heather MacDonald is a career and employment specialist with extensive experience helping blind and visually impaired people find employment.
• Russell Solowoniuk is blind and works with alternative formats and assistive technology at Grant MacEwan University.
rsolowoniuk@gmail.com
• Lorne Webber is blind and is the accessibility specialist for Norquest College.
lorne.webber@gmail.com

GTT Edmonton Overview
• GTT Edmonton is a chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
• GTT Edmonton promotes a self-help learning experience by holding monthly meetings to assist participants with assistive technology.
• Each meeting will present a feature technology topic and general question and answer about any other technology.
• Small groups or one on one assistance is possible at the meetings.
• Participants are encouraged to come to each meeting even if they are not interested in the feature topic because questions on any technology are welcome. The more participants the better able we will be equipped with the talent and experience to help each other.
• There are GTT groups in Ottawa, Toronto, Kingston, Northern Ontario, Pembroke, Halifax, Sydney, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Victoria, Nanaimo, Vancouver, and more to come.
• There is also a national GTT monthly toll free teleconference. You may subscribe to the National GTT blog to get email notices of teleconferences and notes from other GTT chapters. Visit:
http://www.gttprogram.wordpress.com/
There is a form at the bottom of that web page to enter your email.
[End of Document]

GTT National Conference Call Summary Notes, Web browsing with screen readers, January 11, 2017

GTT National Conference Call.

Sponsored by the Canadian Council of the Blind

January 11, 2017

Web browsing with screen readers.

Many people just use their arrow keys to browse the web. This can be good for exploring a page initially, but it is slow and there are many more efficient ways of browsing the web more quickly and easily.
The best web browsers for PC are: google chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or the last version of internet explorer. The Edge Browser is becoming more accessible with Narrator, and to some degree with NVDA.

There are some slight differences with key commands between NVDA, jaws, window eyes and system access which all work well for browsing the web. Please check your screen reader help section for these.

When you do a google search, be as specific as you can with your search terms. Example: look for mystery books by a certain author on amazon. The more specific you are, the easier you can get to the web site you need.

To go directly to the address field to type in the web site name or your search press Alt D. Alt is the key just to the left of your space bar. This works on all screen readers and in all of the different PC browsers.

You can move around on your web site by headings, lists, buttons and much more. These commands vary by screen reader so check your screen reader manual for the short cut keys.

NVDA and jaws have a great command called insert f7 The insert key is the big key on the bottom left of the number pad and f7 is in the top row of keys on your PC.

For NVDA this is called the elements list. It lists anything on the page that you can click on. The great thing about this is that you can press the first letter of the link you need to find and you can get to it more quickly.

For JAWS users there is also an insert f 6 command to list the headings on a page, email message or MS Word document.

For the mac computer, the accessible web browsers are safari and google chrome.

To get into the address bar/search field on the mac, type command l. Command is the key just to the left of the space bar where the ALT key is on the PC.

The mac has what is called a web rotor which is a little like the insert f 7.

To get to this, press VO command which is control and option keys plus u. You can right arrow then through the various options like links, headings, buttons, ETC and arrow down to go through each category.

The mac also has first letter navigation. This is also true on the PC. You can press h for headings, v for visited links, l for links ETC on the mac.

Some of the commands are different for different screen readers but they all have first letter navigation commands.

Remember that in addition to using the letter H to navigate Headers you can press the numbers 1-6 above your letters on the keyboard to go to heading level 1 2 3 ETC. This is the case for all major screen readers on the PC or mac.

The mac and the iPhone also have a very useful button which is in the top left hand corner of the screen for I devices and one of the first things you come across when a web page loads on the mac. It is called the reader button. Firefox also has a Reader function that is accessed by holding down Shift and Control while typing the letter R.

It is not always available but when it is, it is most useful. If you double tap that button, it jumps you right to the main content on your screen, (say the contents of an article for example).

Browsing the web on an I device can also be fast and easy.

If you use voiceover, go to settings, general, accessibility, voiceover, and then to rotor. Here you can check and uncheck what you want in your rotor which is like a menu of common settings you use. You can include many web browsing navigation elements such as: Headings, links, search fields, visited links, buttons, and much more.

When on a web page, you can turn your rotor with a gesture like a radio dial to move between these elements. You can also navigate your rotor by using the up and left arrow and up and right arrows together on your Bluetooth keyboard or space with dots 23 and space with dots 56 on your braille display.

Once you are on the element you want, swipe down with one finger to go to the next heading and up with one finger to go to the previous one. Up or down arrows on the Bluetooth keyboard do this as well. So do dots 3 with space bar or dot 6 with space bar on a braille display.

GTT Program Overview
• GTT was founded in Ottawa by Kim Kilpatrick and Ellen Goodman in 2011.
• Many GTT Groups are chapters of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
• GTT Groups/Chapters promote a self-help learning experience by holding monthly meetings to assist participants with assistive technology.
• Each meeting will present a feature technology topic and general question and answer about any other technology.
• Small groups or one on one assistance is possible at the meetings.
• Participants are encouraged to come to each meeting even if they are not interested in the feature topic because questions on any technology are welcome. The more participants the better able we will be equipped with the talent and experience to help each other.
• There are GTT groups in Ottawa, Toronto, Kingston, Northern Ontario, Pembroke, Halifax, Sydney, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Victoria, Nanaimo, Vancouver, and more to come.
• There is also a national GTT monthly toll free teleconference. You may subscribe to the National GTT blog to get email notices of teleconferences and notes from other GTT chapters. Visit:
http://www.GTTProgram.WordPress.com/
There is a “Follow” Link at the bottom of that web page to enter your email in order to register.

Respectfully submitted by Kim Kilpatrick and Albert Ruel

Newsletter: Braille Literacy Canada, January 2017 Newsletter

[Braille Literacy Canada logo]
Newsletter
January 2017 ● Issue #5

Notice to B LC Members: Save the Date

Our next annual General Meeting (AGM) will take place in Toronto on May 6th, 2017. We recognize that not all members will be able to attend in person, so we will offer some options for participating electronically. These will include appointing a proxy or submitting an electronic ballot. A notice with more details will be sent out to members in the next couple of months. We look forward to seeing you there!

New UEB Listserv

If you are learning, teaching or transcribing Unified English Braille (UEB) and are looking for a place to post questions, Braille Literacy Canada (BLC) invites you to join our UEB listserve. Subscribers can post to the list, and all queries will be answered by code and formatting experts. Information and announcements relevant to UEB will also be forwarded to this list.

To subscribe to the discussion list, visit https://lists.blc-lbc.ca/mailman/listinfo/ueb_lists.blc-lbc.ca

Focus Group Announcement

As many of you may be aware, the federal government is currently undertaking a consultation process to inform the development of new legislation aimed at improving accessibility and removing barriers to the participation of persons with disabilities in all aspects of Canadian society. Public consultation sessions have been held in major cities across the country, but individuals and organizations are also permitted to make written submissions to the process.

The scope of these consultations is wide. Feedback is being sought to help determine the goals of the legislation, the approach it will take to improving accessibility, how standards should be developed, how compliance and enforcement should be handled, and what the government can do to support organizations in becoming accessible. More information on the consultation process generally can be found at https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/disability/consultations/accessibility-legislation.html.
For more information on the scope and reach of the federal government’s regulatory power, please see:
https://slmc.uottawa.ca/?q=laws_canada_legal.

Braille Literacy Canada intends to submit a position paper to the government outlining the importance of federal organizations ensuring that information is accessible and available in braille. To facilitate this, we would like to hold a consultation session with our members to gather input on what factors should be considered in this submission. Questions to consider may include:

(1) What arguments (academic, theoretical, practical, or otherwise) would you use to justify the importance of having access to braille from federally-regulated organizations for Canadians who are blind or deaf-blind?
(2) Should braille materials be on hand, available upon request, or, within a “reasonable” timeframe? If the latter, what would seem to be a “reasonable”
timeframe?
(3) In the reverse direction, should Canadians who are blind or deaf-blind have the right to submit documentation in braille to federally-regulated bodies?
(4) To what degree, if at all, should the legislation specify the standards to which braille is to be produced? What ‘standards’ should it adopt, and how?
(5) Should we attempt to solidify, through legislation (or regulation), Braille Literacy Canada’s (internationally recognized) role as the preeminent “authority”
for braille standards in Canada? If so, how?

Anyone interested in contributing to this discussion is invited to join us by telephone for a conference call on January 28th, 2016 between 1 and 3pm Eastern (10-noon Pacific, 11am-1pm Mountain, 12-2pm Central, 2-4pm Atlantic) or, alternatively, to submit written comments and feedback to info@blc-lbc.ca
on or before January 28th, 2016.

If you would like to participate in the conference call, please e-mail secretary@blc-lbc.ca
to register. Information on how to join the call will be sent to you a few days before the event.

We look forward to your participation on January 28th! If you have any questions or require further information in the interim, please feel free to email info@blc-lbc.ca.

BLC Committees

As many of you know, the work of BLC is done by committees. Here is a list of our current committees and their responsibilities. New members are always welcome!

For more information please send an email to info@blc-lbc.ca.

The web committee

* Maintains web site and social media and updates content with current events, resources and other items of interest.
* Works with other committees to update content as appropriate.

The membership committee

* Collaborates with the BLC treasurer and the Corporate Secretary to manage membership data.
* Ensures that email reminders are sent to those members who have not renewed their membership.
* Proposes options for increasing membership.

The communications committee

* Proposes options for increasing communication with BLC members and the general public.
* Prepares and distributes the BLC newsletter.

The braille formats committee

* Determines other guidelines that should be reviewed by BLC for use in Canada. Members of this committee must have a thorough knowledge of braille and must be familiar with issues specific to formatting.

The teaching and learning committee

* Conducts research related to braille instruction of children and adults.
* Seeks funding sources to support this research. Committee members should be employed as an educator of visually impaired students or be studying in the field.

The nominations committee

* Seeks candidates to fill vacant positions on the Board of Directors.
* Presents the slate of nominations to BLC members at the Annual General Meeting.

The braille promotion committee

* Proposes and implements activities to promote braille in Canada. The brailler bounce initiative is a project of this committee.
* Plans teleconferences on various braille-related issues.

The French braille standards committee

* Proposes and implements research and/or other projects pertaining to French braille in Canada.

The bylaws committee

* Drafts text for changes to BLC bylaws as appropriate. Previous experience with bylaw revisions is an asset.

Braille Screen Input on iOS Devices
By Natalie Martiniello

For people who are blind or who have low vision, one could argue that the built-in accessibility of Apple’s iPhone and iPad ranks among the most significant developments for our community since the year 2000. Based on universal design, Apple products led the way by demonstrating that technology could and should be accessible to diverse users from the start. Rather than retrofitting, universal design from inception has not only levelled the playingfield for those of us who are blind, but has also benefited users with perfect sight. After all, doesn’t everyone – sighted or blind – use Siri nowadays? And this is the point. When you make things accessible from the start, everyone wins. And the trend is catching on. Though Apple paved the way, other companies are following in their footsteps – Google’s Android, being one.

As someone who is blind and who has also taught clients who are blind, I have seen multiple examples of how this innovative technology can increase independence and opportunities. I have about 7 pages of apps on my iPhone. The true wonder and joy of all of this, for those of us who are braille users, is that all of these apps that are accessible with VoiceOver (the built-in screenreader on Apple products) can be used with a braille display. Suddenly, we have so much more access to braille – for learning, practicing and using it in our everyday lives. With the launch of the Orbit Braille Reader (sold by CNIB in Canada), the first low-cost braille display, access to braille information in this way is about to increase for many more people. Despite what mainstream news at times inaccurately proclaims, technology hasn’t replaced braille – it’s solidified its place in a truly exciting digital age!

As a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist, I’ve harnessed the power of this technology with braille learners – many of whom are adults and seniors, when possible. It allows us to access far more material than ever before, and enables braille learners to practice braille in ways that are so meaningful to them – writing a facebook post, a tweet or an iMessage provides instant satisfaction to many, particularly for those who are losing their vision and who are eager to reconnect with the social world. These are just some creative ways one might use a braille display (connected to an I-device) during lessons.

I’d like to use the remainder of this post, however, to describe the use of the on-screen braille keyboard. Since iOS 8, braille users can activate an on-screen braille keyboard that they can use in place of the regular, on-screen QWERTY keyboard that usually appears for typing. Though many blind users, myself included, can and do use the regular on-screen QWERTY keyboard, it can be somewhat cumbersome and time-consuming to use, since the letters need to be located and selected one at a time. The on-screen braille keyboard, in contrast, allows you to form braille letters directly onto the screen, which greatly increases writing speed.

I use the on-screen braille keyboard exclusively for all my iPhone typing, and can type quicker than most of my sighted friends because of it. It’s also a great way for learners to practice braille. Using the on-screen braille keyboard requires them to think about how braille symbols are formed and what dots are included – It can be a great way to reinforce the learning of braille letters while accomplishing meaningful and relevant tasks on an I-device. Plus, the built-in screen reader on Apple products provides instant audio feedback, which is a great motivator and learning support for students!

To activate the on-screen braille keyboard:
1. Select the Settings Application from the Home Screen.
2. Press the “General “button, found within the Settings main menu.
3. Press the “Accessibility” options button.
4. Press the “VoiceOver” options button.
5. Press the “Rotor” options button.
6. Find the Braille Screen Input function.
7. If Voiceover doesn’t say, “Selected,” double-tap on braille-screen input to add it to your rotor.

Though it’s beyond the scope of this article to explain the Rotor and how it works, I recommend this website which provides a very helpful explanation: http://www.voiceover-easy.net/References/RotorFunctions.aspx

Once you’ve followed the above steps, you’ll also want to configure your braille-screen input to best meet your needs before using it for the first time. Visit this link to learn more about how to select uncontracted or contracted input, six or eight key entry, and the braille code you wish to use when typing. By default, the braille code that is used for Braille Screen Input is Unified English Braille:
http://www.voiceover-easy.net/AdvancedOptions/OtherInputMethods.aspx#section0300

Once you’ve added braille screen input to your rotor and configured the settings for the first time, the braille screen input will now be available to you whenever you’re within a text field and need to type. Simply perform the Rotor gesture to select braille screen input.

How to Type using On-Screen Braille Input: Once activated, there are two options for typing using braille screen input. Table-top mode (when your device is laying flat on any surface) allows you to use your index, middle and ring fingers for typing as if it were a Perkins brailler. Screen-away mode, which I prefer and find more reliable, is preferable for smaller devices (such as the iPhone). To use braille screen input in screen-away mode:

• Activate braille screen input in your rotor
• Hold your iPhone in landscape orientation (that is, with the screen facing away from you, and the home button to the right).
• Hold your iPhone using your thumbs on the top edge and your pinky fingers on the bottom edge of your device. Your Index, Middle, and Ring fingers should now form two vertical columns of three dots just like the dots in the braille cell.
• Imagine this braille cell in front of you before typing, with dots 1, 2 and 3 placed vertically on the left and dots 4, 5 and 6 placed vertically on the right. Press down the fingers that correspond to the dots of the symbol you’d like to form. For example, press down your left index finger (which should be located on the top left of your screen in landscape orientation) to form the letter “A”, and press your left index, right index and right middle fingers together to form the letter “D”.

Try doing the entire alphabet for practice!

Other useful gestures when using braille screen input in screen-away mode:
• Swipe with one finger towards the left to delete the previous letter
• Swipe with one finger towards the right to insert a “space”
• Swipe with two fingers towards the right to move to the next line (VoiceOver will say “new line”)
• Swipe with three fingers towards the left to switch to contracted mode (which allows you to type contractions).
Swipe with three fingers towards the right to move back to uncontracted mode.

Now, you can type in braille on your device wherever you are!

Braille: A Story of Personal Life-Long Empowerment
By Leo Bissonnette, Ph.D.

As we celebrate the contribution of Louis Braille and his impact on our individual lives today, this issue features articles that make a strong case for the value of braille. My story adds to this accumulated statement of empowerment and the need to keep braille relevant in the lives of the blind today.

Like so many others in the blind community, I have listened to audio books since I was able to operate the record player that used to store talking books back in my early childhood. Today I enjoy reading books on my iPhone, using my Victor Reader Stream, or sitting at the computer. As important as the digital age is to me, nothing has even come close to empowering me as a blind person the way braille has.

A Little About Me
I was born with low vision and started my education working in large print. Then my mother, who was quite the advocate in making sure that I received a good education and essential rehabilitation services, felt that braille should be a tool added to my toolbox. So I started learning braille in third grade while attending the Montreal Association School for the Blind. I quickly took to using braille right away, and have used it as my first tool, taken from my toolbox, on a daily basis ever since.
Back to the Present
These days, what with the portability and low cost of ebooks, it seems that braille is struggling to keep its place in the lives of the blind. The high cost of braille displays compounds the problem, making it easier to simply abandon braille, or perhaps relegate it to infrequent use. Does it really matter if Braille becomes a medium that exists only in the memories of older blind people? Is it time to move on to more modern and cost-effective ways of communicating the written word, or should we fight to bring braille back to the forefront of our collective consciousness? Why is braille still relevant today?

I believe braille is essential for good writing. I would not be the proficient speller I am today if I had not read hundreds of thousands of braille words over the course of my life. While any decent screen reader provides the ability to spell words and review lines of text character by character, it is virtually impossible to catch all formatting and spelling errors in a document with speech alone. Anyone who uses text-to-speech software at all knows all too well the frustration of deciphering b’s from d’s, and sorting out all of the words that sound alike but are spelled differently such as there and their.

When I really need to digest something I am reading, I will slow my speech rate down or transfer the content to an SD card for later reading on my braille display. I am constantly amazed at the number of errors I find in documents I am reading in braille that I did not catch with speech alone.

Would I want to go back to the days before I had my iPhone and portable book reader? No way. Am I as likely to use a slate and stylus today as I was 50 years ago—although I still carry one in my brief case just in case I need it? Probably not. Can I imagine what my life would be like if I never again read another line of text in braille? I don’t even want to dwell on the thought!

Exploring Braille Settings on iOS
by Kim Kilpatrick

This will be the first in a series of articles exploring the use of braille displays with iDevices.

In this article, I will briefly describe the braille settings and show you how to pair a refreshable braille display with an iDevice. Braille support for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and iPad Mini is built into the screen reader which comes with your iDevice. This screen reader is called VoiceOver. Most braille displays work well with VoiceOver. You must use Bluetooth to pair a braille display with your iDevice. Unlike other Bluetooth devices (keyboards, headphones, speakers) braille displays are not paired in the Bluetooth settings but are paired in the VoiceOver braille settings.

Braille Settings
In Settings on your iDevice go to General, then Accessibility, then VoiceOver. You can also ask Siri to open VoiceOver settings. Double tap on Braille.

The settings are as follows (double tap each setting to explore its options):
1. Braille Display Output (this is what you read on your display). You can choose from uncontracted 6-dot braille, uncontracted 8-dot braille and contracted braille. Double tap on the one you want.
2. Braille Display Input (what you use when brailling with your display). Again, you can choose from uncontracted 6-dot braille, uncontracted 8-dot braille and contracted braille.
3. Automatic Braille Translation: When this is turned on, it translates braille contractions as you type. When it is off, it waits until you press space to translate the braille.
4. Braille Screen Input: This is for typing braille on the screen of your iDevice. I will discuss this in a future article.
5. Status Cells: This will also be discussed in a later article.
6. Equations Use Nemeth Code: You can toggle this off or on depending on how you feel about Nemeth code.
7. Show on screen keyboard: I will discuss this in a future article.
8. Turn pages when panning: This is also a toggle and I suggest you leave it on as when reading a book it will just keep going to the next page.
9. Braille Translation: In English braille your options are: English (unified), English (US) and English (United Kingdom)
10. Alert display duration: This will be discussed in a future article.
11. Choose a braille display: Verify that Bluetooth is enabled on your iDevice.

Pairing Your Braille Display
Make sure that your braille display is in Bluetooth or pairing mode. How you achieve this varies depending on your display (consult your braille display manual). Then, find your braille display in the list below the heading titled Choose a braille display and double tap on it.

Some displays pair automatically while others require a PIN to be entered. Check your braille display manual for more information.

Once the display is paired, it should stay paired.

When turning off the braille display and/or iDevice, lock the device first, then turn off the display. When turning them back on, turn on the braille display first then unlock your device. They should pair again without you having to do anything in the braille settings.

If you need help using your braille display with your iPhone, or have questions or topics you wish to be covered, let us know.

BLC on Social Media

Braille Literacy Canada is now on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn! Find us there to receive news about BLC and braille, to stay informed, and to join a network of others devoted to braille just like you.

[Twitter]@brllitcan
[Facebook] Braille Literacy Canada/brailleliteracycanada.us10.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=83d7b705ce15164e7d276ebc9&id=5801fede7f&e=50d41d60d5>
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