[Athen] Google eBooks and VoiceOver on iPad

Pratik Patel pratikp1 at gmail.com
Tue Dec 7 03:38:25 PST 2010


I have played with both the web-based reader and the iPhone app. There are
some things that need to be resolved with the web-based reader like
improperly labeled buttons or missing labels. I am able to read the text by
using Firefox 3.6x JAWS and NVDA. It does not work with Internet Explorer
8. I have not yet tried System Access or Window-Eyes. I am also told that
it works with Safari and Voiceover on the Mac. I will try that later in the
day. I have more hope for SA. Unlike their other products, Google is
planning to make improvements re accessibility.

The iPhone/iPad app has some interesting oddities when using it with
Voiceover. One good thing is that font size and type can be changed. I
believe day-time and night-time modes will be able to provide sufficient
contrast options. Right now the major limitation is that Voiceover users
cannot change pages independently. Even though it is sort of doable by
using the slider, the slider jumps too much for it to make a significant
difference. It might be more controllable by using the iPad since there is
more surface to play with. The standard way of sliding one's finger across
paragraphs of text does not read any text. The two-finger down gesture does
read text from top of the screen to the bottom, but it does not turn pages
automatically like iBooks does. There are several improperly labeled
buttons in this app as well. These can be relatively easy to figure out
with their image names though.

Public domain books can be converted to text from the online book store.
There is a mobile version of the store that can be viewed by using the
browser. This, I believe is usable by using Safari Mobile. I'll have to
check this.

I and several other people have been in touch with the person working on
accessibility to this product via Twitter. She says that fixes to the
online store and reader are already in the system and should be released
soon. The iPhone/iPad app work will take a bit because of Apple's
restrictions about third-party libraries. I'd love to hear more about the
Android app and how accessible that is or is not.



-----Original Message-----
From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org [mailto:athen-bounces at athenpro.org] On
Behalf Of Shelley Haven
Sent: Monday, December 06, 2010 11:43 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network
Subject: [Athen] Google eBooks and VoiceOver on iPad

As some of you know, Google unveiled their eBooks platform and eBookstore
today. More info here:

Google eBooks can be read on Android devices (obviously), iOS devices, the
Web, and both Sony and Nook e-readers. You can download an app for reading
Google eBooks on iPads, etc. here:

I downloaded a sample eBook to my iPad and was pleasantly surprised to find
that it works with VoiceOver (perhaps not that surprisingly since it uses
the ePub format, like iBooks). Also, it surrounds the text being read
(sentence, paragraph, etc.) with a rounded rectangle. VoiceOver gestures
don't seem to work quite like they do in iBooks, though -- still trying to
figure them out. But the capability is there.

Text in the Web reader does not appear to work with text-to-speech.

Just thought you'd like to know...

- Shelley

Shelley Haven ATP, RET
Assistive Technology Consultant

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