It took us a while to figure out how to configure it. The default accessibility settings assume no vision, so each letter is spoken before it can be selected and entered. Accessibility mode also changes gesture behavior to a less natural mode with a steeper learning curve.
We got the best results with the following setup:
- From the accessibility menu, configure the screen "home button" to enable VoiceOver on 3 consecutive pushes. (Her arthritis and neuropathy made this a bit tricky, but counting "1, 2, 3" as she pressed did the trick. Once she had the rhythm she could do it reliably.) This lets us turn it on and off as needed, and stay with the standard gestures much of the time.
- Enable three finger tap to zoom -- and three fingers to move the zoom image. This just magnifies pixels so it's of limited use but it can come in handy. It's normally not compatible with VoiceOver, but if you keep VoiceOver off normally, and enable it just when needed, this can work. From Safari you can get much nicer results from finger zooming web pages
- Disable the keyboard Voice assist.
- Slow the VoiceOver rate way down
She had less success with the Safari and Mail.app, but we didn't spend enough time practicing them. Because of the limited zooming of Mail.app and the finger zoom in Safari I wonder if she’ll do better using Gmail.
The iBook experiment was encouraging. She's a sucker for Apple look and feel so she was quite fond of the iPad.
I'm not sure it makes sense to buy her one. For one thing I'm not sure how I can get content on her iPad from my home. If Apple does a bit more work, next year's iPad would be a much better option (though in her age and health, a year is a very long time). If I do go ahead I'll configure it at my home then transfer the paired iTunes Library to her Mac Mini.
- Copilot vs. LogMeIn for supporting your parent's Mac
- OS X and Mac Mini tutorial and configuration guide
- Adaptive iPod for visually impaired person with limited manipulative ability
- iPhone apps on an iPad have advantages over fully native apps
- Darn. I forgot my AMEX card with its 1 year warrantee extension.
- There are no ear buds in the box.
- The charger cable is hard to insert initially. I expect it will be easier with practice. I’ll modify the standard connector (tape, etc) so it’s easier for her to grip and insert.
Update 6/14/10: The Kindle is a dismal failure.
Update 6/17/10: Accessibility gestures are documented in the secret User Guide.
Update 8/18/10: Grandma's iPad - A user guide and review