iOS 7 Switch Access — First Impressions

To much fanfare, iOS7 has added switch settings to its many other accessibility features.  Recently I had a chance to play around with the switch settings in iOS 7. 

[to see the latest in accessories to help you with iPad switch users  — mounting, cases, storage, charging, and training — visit the Bridges’ iPad page]

In general, I found they are really good for accessing all the menus and desktop icons.  If a program already has scanning built in- it runs great. If the program does not have scanning built in, it will look for the hot spots and scan groups or single items, depending on the settings you choose.

One nice feature in the new iOS 7 is that there is an available on screen scanning menu. While using switch control, when a user selects an item they will encounter a pop-up menu that contains a variety of advanced functions. If a user selects Scroll, Gestures, Device, or Settings from the pop-up menu, they will be presented with a second menu of options that have more advanced actions and settings for Switch Control. Those popup menus have all the feature options that a touch user would have.

Image cover of iO7 switch control book
For a great resource download iOS 7 Switch Control The Missing User Guide by Ablenet

Some of the features you can customize for scanners are:

  • Auto Scanning
  • Auto Scanning Time
  • Pause on First Item
  • Loops
  • Auto Tap
  • Move Repeat
  • Hold Duration
  • Ignore Repeat
  • Group on
  • Group off

I have not played with all the features and I am sure there are some additional good ones. Overall it is pretty good. Sometimes when it is looking for hot spots to scan, I did not understand the logic of how it grouped items but I think that would just need some playing with to figure out.

Overall a nice addition to iOS 7. In my testing, I used an Applicator switch interface and the new Piko extra durable switches from Finland.  In previous iOS’s, switch interfaces piggy-backed on top of the Voice Over features designed for visually impaired users. With the new iOS 7 it looks like any Bluetooth switch interface for the iPad (including the coming soon Blue2™ switch shown in the video above) will be able to deliver a rich array of switch scanning features.

–Claire MacLaren

Alberta Sales Consultant, Accessibility Specialist, Bridges

clairem@bridges-canada.com

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