Installing SpeakOn and getting started >


Getting started with SpeakOn using the TouchPad

This page gives you very basic instructions to get started with SpeakOn using the TouchPad. If you are new to SpeakOn, this page assumes that you read the 'Getting started with SpeakOn using the standard keyboard' page in this section and you understood and practised the basic concepts of working with SpeakOn; this information is therefore not repeated here.

Page index:

1. Introduction and important settings

2. on-screen KeyGrid

3. Swipe gestures

4. Tap gestures

5. Basic operations, finding and playing media

1. Introduction and important settings

A TouchPad (sometimes called a TrackPad) is usually integrated into a laptop or sometimes with an external keyboard. Although operating SpeakOn with a TouchPad works well, operating SpeakOn using either the Standard keyboard or the NumPad would probably be faster. However, operating SpeakOn with the TouchPad can be still useful especially if you might want to evaluate interacting with SpeakOn with touch before investing in a tablet or a laptop with a TouchScreen.

Touch gestures are predefined motions used to interact with touch devices such as a TouchPad.
With a TouchPad, all SpeakOn's common operations can be performed using one finger with a combination of swipe and Tap gestures.
More specifically, there are nine keys used in TouchPad interaction. These keys are drawn on the computer screen and are invoked using the TouchPad with a combination of Key swipe gesture and Tap gestures. Features which are not available using these keys can be performed using Action swipe gestures.

Compared with the Standard keyboard, the operation of the Up, Down, Left, Right, Select, Menu and Focus keys as drawn on the computer screen is exactly the same as their equivalents on the Standard keyboard.
Using function keys' operations, applying modifiers such as Ctrl or Shift, and Home or End navigation is done differently as explained further down the page.
Using the TouchPad you can perform virtually all operations possible with the Standard keyboard but you cannot enter text; text entry is not required for common operations.

Compared with the NumPad, the keys' names and their relative positions drawn on the computer screen and invoked using the TouchPad are the same as the keys (1) through to (9) on the Numpad. The operation of the Cancel key and the long key press action on the NumPad is performed on the TouchPad using gestures.

SpeakOn is self-voicing and when operated with the TouchPad handles its own mouse interactions.
To allow SpeakOn to operate correctly, you need to either set your screen reader to sleep mode if supported or shut down your screen reader altogether. For example with NVDA, when the focus is on SpeakOn, press Desktop: [Shift + NVDA + s] or laptop: [Shift + NVDA + z] to set NVDA to sleep mode; this mode lasts until SpeakOn is shut down and needs to be applied again when SpeakOn is restarted. This is done automatically if you install the SpeakOn MediaSuite NVDA add-on which you can download from:
here

Some screen readers such as JAWS can be configured so that they are set to be in sleep mode automatically when the focus is on self-voicing applications such as SpeakOn. There is more information about how to do this with popular screen readers in the Tutorial section of this manual:
here

By default, touch support is disabled in SpeakOn. To enable it, use the menu in the Manager:
Global settings > Touch Settings

Check the 'TouchScreen or TouchPad interaction enabled' check box.
Ignore other settings in the task.
Select OK from the menu to confirm your setting; SpeakOn will shutdown; start it again.

2. on-screen KeyGrid

A small 3 by 3 keyboard known as a KeyGrid is always drawn on the screen. Each key is labelled as follows, starting from the top:

Function Up Menu
Left Select Right
Modifier Down Focus

There are two groups of keys used by SpeakOn: Main and Context keys. Main keys perform the same actions anywhere in SpeakOn and the Context keys are used to navigate and operate individual controls and menus.

The Main keys are: Function, Menu, Focus.

Context keys include the four arrow keys which conveniently form the imaginary sides of a square; the Up key, the Down key, the Left key and the Right key. The Select key is in the centre of this imaginary square. The Home, End, Cancel and Escape key actions are performed using gestures - see further below.

The modifiers that can be set are None (No modifier), Shift, Ctrl and Shift + Ctrl

One of these modifiers is set first using the Modifier key followed by the key itself.

A function group contains one or more related functions. The function groups that can be set are None (No function group), Info, Clock, Speech, Audio, Find and Custom.

Each of these function groups is set first using the Function key followed by one of the context keys to perform the action required.

The actions of the most common keys are described further below; you interact with these keys using gestures.

3. Swipe gestures

Swipe gesture comprises swiping the finger in one straight line or more without lifting it until the end of the gesture. The swiping action must be fairly swift.

Each gesture is given a name which relates to its functionality and its touch sequence is enclosed in curly brackets {}.

Swipe gestures are divided into two groups: Key swipe gestures and Action swipe gestures.

3.1 Key swipe gestures

It is assumed that a TouchScreen is not available and therefore Key swipe gestures on the TouchPad are used to invoke a key on the on-screen KeyGrid.

The following Key swipe gestures are available:

Up key {swipe up}
Down key {swipe down}
Left key {swipe left}
Right key {swipe right}
Select key {swipe up > down}
Function key {swipe up > left}
Menu key {swipe up > right}
Modifier key {swipe down > left}
Focus key {swipe down > right}
Tip - All Key swipe gestures point to the location of the key on the on-screen KeyGrid and follow some of the lines of the upper case letter I.

After a key is invoked it becomes the active key; see the Tap Gesture section further below for active key use.

3.2 Action swipe gestures

Action swipe gestures provide the functionality of missing keys and a quick way to perform common operations that can usually be done using a sequence of keys and announcements.

Cancel {swipe right > left} - Stops speaking or cancels the internet connection.

Escape {swipe left > right} - Aborts or closes tasks, resets the Modifier key to none, removes the active key; see Tap gestures further below.

'Function Reset' {swipe left > up} - Resets the Function key to None, makes the Select key active.

Home {swipe left > down > Right} - Home action for relevant controls.
Tip - gesture traces the shape of a blunt arrow pointing left.

End {swipe right > down > Left} - End action for relevant controls.
Tip - gesture traces the shape of a blunt arrow pointing right.

'Where am I?' {swipe down > right > up} - With each successive gesture, cycles between the announcement of the current item, control and task in focus.
Tip - gesture traces the shape of a blunt arrow pointing down.

Content {swipe up > right > down} - Repeat last message content and spell it if no longer than 20 characters. This content usually includes a Control or media information.
Tip - gesture traces the shape of a blunt arrow pointing up.

Favourites {swipe up > down > up} - Opens a media task if necessary and moves the focus to the favourites directory in the library.

Help {swipe left > down} - Brings up the 'Help Context Menu'.

Time {swipe left > down > left} - Announces the time.

Timer {swipe down > up} - Sleep timer setting and information

Battery {swipe down > left > down} - AC Power and battery charge information

'End Task' {swipe right > up} - Closes a media task.

'Shutdown SpeakOn' {swipe right > down} - Shuts down SpeakOn MediaSuite

4. Tap gestures

With Tap gesture, the user touches the TouchPad with a finger and then lifts it without sliding. Tap gesture anywhere on the TouchPad invokes the active key. If there is no active key, the tap is ignored, making the TouchPad insensitive to touch until a key is invoked.

Only single tap is supported as single tap operation is much faster than double tap.

Note - your tap experience with your TouchPad might vary. Depending on your type of TouchPad and sometimes the TouchPad settings of your computer, lighter or harder touch might be required. Also although SpeakOn is programmed to accept a single tap, your TouchPad might require a double tap to achieve the same. Furthermore the author found that on his laptop sometimes a single tap is sufficient and sometimes a double touch is required to achieve the same.

5. Basic operations, finding and playing media

In this short introduction, you will learn how to perform some basic operations as well as how to find and listen to podcasts using the TouchPad. These instructions assume that you followed the same example in the 'Getting started with SpeakOn using the Standard keyboard' page in this section of the manual. As you should already be familiar with the SpeakOn concepts introduced, the following will just briefly guide you to achieve the same goals using the TouchPad.

As described above, the keys used in TouchPad interaction are drawn on the computer screen and are invoked using the TouchPad with one finger with a combination of swipe and Tap gestures. The operation of most of these keys using Key swipe gestures is explained below. Operations performed using action swipe gestures are also described.

Using gesture involves a swiping action; all gestures in SpeakOn are made of one or more straight lines. These lines must be swiped without lifting the finger as a sequence of discrete vertical and / or horizontal lines; diagonal or lines of other shapes are not recognized and would cause errors.
As mentioned above, a gesture is specified by its name followed by its touch sequence enclosed in curly brackets.

For example to invoke the Up key{swipe up}; the Up key becomes the active key. From now on to invoke the Up key again you need simply to tap once anywhere on the TouchPad.

Note - your tap experience with your TouchPad might vary. Depending on your type of TouchPad and sometimes the TouchPad settings of your computer, lighter or harder touch might be required. Also although SpeakOn is programmed to accept a single tap, your TouchPad might require a double tap to achieve the same. Furthermore the author found that on his laptop sometimes a single tap is sufficient and sometimes a double touch is required to achieve the same.

Returning to the example above, if you want to invoke the Down key, {swipe down}; the Down key becomes the active key. To invoke the Down key again, just tap once anywhere on the TouchPad.

For brevity in this tutorial, any Key swipe gesture movement to invoke each key required will be described only once. Thereafter the phrase 'Invoke the such and such key' will be used assuming that the user knows the gesture to use. Similarly, any action swipe gesture movement will be described only once.

As you become familiar with SpeakOn, you will know many of these keys and their associated operations by heart but you can always remind yourself of the actions available and invoke the actions directly by using the 'Main keys' sub-menu and the 'Keys available for the current control' sub-menu. These and other help features are available from the Help context menu which acts as a central point for all help functionality.

To get to the Help context menu, use the gesture {swipe left > down}.

You can scroll the list of the Help context menu by invoking the Up and Down keys.

The first item in the Help context menu is the 'Turn Input Help On'. When the Input Help mode is 'On' you can explore the actions of any Key swipe gesture. Simply perform any gesture and its name and action are announced.

Similarly if you perform an Action swipe gesture, its name and action is announced.

To turn the Input Help mode 'Off', use the Escape gesture {swipe left > right}.

If you forget where you are in SpeakOn, choose the fourth menu item in the list, 'Where am I?', which you can select by using the Select Key swipe gesture {swipe up > down}. You will be told the name of the current task and control. If you select this menu item now you will find that you are in the Manager main task, Available Media list control. You can also access this 'Where am I?' feature with the 'Where am I?' Action swipe gesture {swipe down > right > up}. With each successive gesture, it cycles between the announcement of the current item, control and task in focus. The various help features available in the Help context menu are explained in detail in the Tutorial section.

To change the speech volume and rate do the following:

Use the Function Key swipe gesture - up > left once; you are placed in the Info function group. Then tap a few times until you get to the speech function group.
Invoke the Up and Down keys to change the speech volume higher or lower respectively.
Use the Right gesture {swipe right} to change the speech rate higher.
Use the Left gesture {swipe left} to change the speech rate lower.

Use the Function Key swipe gesture - up > left once; you are placed in the Info function group. Then tap a few times until you get to the audio function group.
Invoke the Up and Down keys to change the audio volume higher or lower respectively.
Invoke the Right and Left keys to change the audio speed higher or lower respectively.

To resume normal operation you need to select the None function group. The easiest way to do this is to use the 'Function Reset' Action swipe gesture - left > up which will take you directly to the None function group.

After starting SpeakOn, you are placed in the Manager task and the focus is on the 'Available Media list' control. For the example here, first you need to start the Podcast task. Invoke the Up or Down keys until the Podcast media is chosen; then invoke the Select key to start and switch to the Podcast task. The task will announce itself and after trying to access previously used media, will confirm that it is loaded with the message 'Ready'.

Usually every media task has two controls; the Player control enables you to play and navigate media and the Library control enables you to find media on the internet or on your computer.

When you start the Podcast task, you are always placed in the Player control which is the first control. Immediately after installation, the Player has nothing to play so you must first find some media to play. To do this, use the Focus Key swipe gesture - down > right to move the focus to the Library control. As an example, you will now find and play a BBC Radio 1 podcast of a show.

Make sure you are in the Library tree control of the Podcast task by using the 'Where am I?’ Action swipe gesture - down > right > up. The first gesture used will tell you the item in focus. The second gesture used will tell you in addition the control in focus which should be the Library tree control. The third gesture used will tell you in addition the task in focus which should be the Podcast task.

Use the Left Key swipe gesture followed by a few taps (remember that the active key is still Left) to make sure you are in level 0 (the Media Directories level) of the tree. You are placed in the Podcast directory.

Use the Right Key swipe gesture and you are placed in the 'All Feeds' directory. This directory enables you to find thousands of podcast feeds on the internet. Tap once (remember that the active key is still Right) and you are placed in the 'BBC' directory. Tap again and you are placed in the 'BBC station list' directory. Another tap and you are in the 'Radio 1' directory which contains all the feeds offered by BBC 'Radio 1'. Tap once more and you are placed at the first media item which at the time of writing this tutorial is a feed of a program called 'Scott Mills Daily'. You can listen to this feed or find another one by invoking the Down and Up keys.

To start streaming a podcast, invoke the Select key. The focus moves automatically to the Player control. The first episode (podcast audio file) in the feed starts to play. To stop the file playing, invoke the Select key again.

The feed is presented to the Player as a list of one or more episodes which are MP3 streamed files. Although the BBC feed contains only one episode, most other feeds contain more than one episode and you can navigate between these (if they exist) by invoking the Up and Down keys.

Using the TouchPad you don't need to use modifiers such as Shift and Ctrl often, but the following is such an example.
Sometimes you might want to restart to play from the beginning of the current media (in our case a Podcast episode). To do this use the Modifier Key swipe gesture - down > left to set the modifier to Shift. Then invoke the Select key; the podcast episode should restart to play from the beginning.

To select another feed, invoke the Focus key to move the focus to the Library tree control. Navigate between feeds and choose another one.

You can always move the focus between the Player and Library controls by invoking the Focus key. Note that when you return to the Player control, you will continue from where you left off.

Occasionally you may come across one of the following problems:

As stated above, the feed files normally contain one or more episodes. Sometimes however, a provider may choose to leave the feed empty meaning that no episodes are available - SpeakOn will inform you about this problem which you can do nothing about - choose another feed.

The quality of these podcasts varies enormously; not all feeds are active or formed properly (there are many amateurs who create their own podcasts), and in this case, after invoking the Select key you will hear (after 20 seconds or so) that the feed or server cannot be found. If you find that for some reason nothing happens for a while, it is possible that there is some other problem and you can use the Cancel Action swipe gesture {swipe right > left} to cancel the operation which may take up to 20 seconds to take effect.

Please note that sometimes the connection with the server can be slow and this can result in intermittent sound. There is usually little you can do about it, so please choose another feed or try the same feed later.

The sequence of finding and playing media is the same as described above no matter what type of media it is. Navigating media in the Player is not covered in this section and depends on the media played. You can read more about it in the Tutorial section of this manual.

To end the Podcast task, use the Menu Key swipe gesture - up > right. You are placed in the ‘End task’ menu item and to apply it invoke the Select key.

After you end the Podcast task, you are switched back to the Manager task. To shut down SpeakOn invoke the Menu key. You are placed in the 'Shut down SpeakOn’ menu item and to apply it invoke the Select key. Alternatively you can do the same by using the 'Shutdown SpeakOn' Action swipe gesture - right > down.

This is a very simplified guide. Only the simplest operations have been described. However some keys have multiple actions and to get the most from SpeakOn and understand its operation, you should read the Tutorial section and other relevant parts of this manual.
A complete reference which includes everything you need to know about TouchPad use including comparison of user interaction with the Standard keyboard and the NumPad is provided
here


[ Next - Getting started with SpeakOn using the TouchScreen ]

[ Previous - Getting started with SpeakOn using the Numerical keypad ]

[ Up - Installing SpeakOn and getting started - Section ]

[ Up 2 - SpeakOn MediaSuite Manual and Tutorial - Main Index ]