Saturday, March 15, 2014

Voice Dream Reader Updated to Version 3.0: Read PDFs in Original Layout and More

Voice Dream Reader is an app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch that supports people who prefer reading in different ways. Voice Dream can read documents from a number of sources with multiple high quality text-to-speech voices. Users can import PDFs, Word documents, text files, webpages, and even Bookshare books into the app. Once the text is loaded into the app you can listen to it using text-to-speech, highlight the text, search for a specific words or phrases, and get definitions for unknown words. Among many other uses, Voice Dream Reader is a terrific Bookshare book reader for students. Voice Dream also works very well with VoiceOver. Now, with newly released Voice Dream Reader version 3.0, new features have been added that makes the app even more useful.

Up until yesterday evening, Voice Dream only supported text. All images and formatting associated with a file were stripped away. With version 3.0 images and formatting within PDF files are retained. Now you can read a PDF in its original layout. Voice Dream still highlights each word as it is read aloud. It is easy to switch between layout view and text view depending on your preferences. Version 3.0 also includes more customization options. Users now have more control over the colors of the highlighting and spacing of the text. An improved web browser has been added that makes adding text from the web quicker and easier. New Ivona text-to-speech voices are also available for purchase in version 3.0.

With large PDF files page loading is slightly slow, but this problem only occur with very large files and does not effect text view performance.

In future updates image support maybe added for Bookshare books or other document types. I also hope iCloud sync will be added in a future update. At school I read my books on my iPhone and make new annotations, but when I get home and start reading on my iPad the annotations are stuck on the iPhone and I must search for the page that I left off on. iCloud sync would make this process much more seamless.

Voice Dream Reader is a must have app for iOS users with print disabilities or anyone who could benefit from reading with text-to-speech. Voice Dream Reader's well developed features make loading, reading, and annotating text easy. Knowing that the app has a developer that is open to feedback and actively developing new features is an added benefit. Voice Dream Reader costs $9.99 on the App Store. Click here to download the app. There is also a lite version of Voice Dream Reader that allows you to try it before you buy.

Click read more to view screenshots of Voice Dream Reader.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Apple Releases iOS 7.1 with Numerous Accessibility Tweaks

Today, Apple released iOS 7.1 with numerous accessibility improvements. While these features are not as exciting as the accessibility features added in major releases of iOS they still offer advantages for many users. Most of the improvements focus on making the new iOS interface easier to see for people with visual impairments. Turning on bold text now makes the keyboard, calculator, and in app icons bold in addition to text. A new option found under the accessibility menu allows users to turn on button shapes which makes it easier to distinguish text from buttons. In addition to limiting the parallax effect, reduce motion now limits multitasking animations and animations in the weather and messages apps. iOS 7.1 also allows users to darken colors used in apps to make them easier to view and increase the white point of the display to cut down on glare.

Button Shapes
iOS 7.1 also includes a number of VoiceOver bug fixes, but some are still present in iOS 7.1. In addition to accessibility improvements iOS 7.1 includes an important stability improvement that limits a crashing issue that was present in iOS 7. Among other improvements, Touch ID finger print scanning accuracy is also improved for iPhone 5s users.

Users can download iOS 7.1 by going to settings > general > software update.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Any Developer Can Now Integrate Fleksy's Accessible Keyboard Into Their iOS App

Fleksy is an alternative keyboard for mobile devices including smartphones, tablets, and even smart watches. Fleksy uses predictive software that will guess which word you meant to type even if you mistype every letter. As long as your close to the right letters Fleksy will be able to correctly guess which word you meant to type. This means you don't even have to look at the keyboard. If Fleksy does make a mistake you can easily swipe through alternative suggestions.

Currently, Apple does not officially support third party keyboards to replace the default keyboard on iOS, but developers can get around this limitation by building an alternative keyboard into their app. Today, Fleksy made it easy for developers to built the Fleksy keyboard into their app. The Fleksy keyboard is now available for any iOS developer who wants to include it in their app. This announcement is very exciting because if developers get on board it will give iOS users the choice of which keyboard to use.

Having Fleksy integrated in apps is also a positive for blind and visually users. Fleksy works well with VoiceOver and because Fleksy is so good at predicting which word you are trying to type being able to see the keyboard is not as important. The Fleksy keyboard is much quicker and easier to type on then the default iOS keyboard especially for VoiceOver users.

Unlike Android were you can download Fleksy and use it will all of you favorite apps, each iOS developer will have to build in support for the keyboard. Hopefully, now that Fleksy is available for all iOS developer Fleksy will become ubiquitous on iOS. If you would like to see Fleksy integrated into one of your favorite apps you could contact the developer and ask for Fleksy integration.

To try out Fleksy download the app for iOS or Android. Fleksy is currently available in select apps such as Launch Center Pro. Click read more below to view images and videos of Fleksy.