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User Guide - revised February 20, 2013 for version 1.2

Getting Started - read this first

Welcome to BrailleTouch, an app that lets you type in braille on your touchscreen. BrailleTouch uses a unique split keyboard design that is based on the layout of the braille cell and the dimensions of the iPhone screen. You type using the same six fingers as on a Perkins Brailler. But with BrailleTouch, you align your fingers vertically as opposed to horizontally as you would on the traditional straight line braille keyboard. To type with BrailleTouch, you need to hold your phone in a special way. This User Guide assumes that you have VoiceOver turned on.

Let's get familiar with the special way to hold the phone. For best results, we recommend using a case in order to grip the phone more comfortably. Headphones may also be helpful to avoid covering the speaker next to the Home button with your hand. Please try different ways of gripping the phone in this special way until you find what is most comfortable for you.

Place the phone in landscape orientation, with the long side going from left to right. Hold the phone with both hands from the left and right sides respectively. Now turn the phone around so the screen is facing away from you. The standard orientation is with the Home button in your right hand and the volume buttons on the top edge near your thumbs. Practice holding the phone over a table or over your lap if sitting until you are comfortable.

Now adjust your hands so you can lift the first three fingers of each hand off the screen and move them freely. These are the fingers you will use to type with BrailleTouch. Some people support the phone from the sides by pressing in with the palms of their hands. Some people support the phone with their thumbs on top edge where the volume buttons are and their little fingers on the bottom edge. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to hold the phone. Please experiment to find what grip works best for you and allows you to type with maximum ease and comfort.

Please note that VoiceOver will announce "Home button on the left" when the screen is facing away from you, even though the Home button is in your right hand. VoiceOver announces the orientation from the perspective of where the screen is facing. Imagine another person facing toward you. The Home button would be on your right, but on the other person's left.

This User Guide assumes that you lock your phone in portrait. If you do not lock your phone in portrait, you can use BrailleTouch in either landscape orientation, and the app will automatically flip the braille keyboard screen depending on how you hold the phone.

Once you are comfortable holding your iPhone in the special way, and you can freely lift the first three fingers of each hand off the screen, you are ready to move on to "Typing with BrailleTouch" in the next section.

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Typing with BrailleTouch

To type with BrailleTouch, you need to hold the phone in a special way to use the split braille keyboard. This is described above under the "Getting Started" heading.

Before you begin typing, there are two things you need to know. First, when you go to the braille keyboard, you need to tap once with one finger to activate the keyboard. (This is also true if you switch back to the BrailleTouch keyboard from the Home screen or another iPhone app, or flip the phone's orientation.) Second, to go to the menu, you flick left with two fingers. Most people use the first two fingers of their left hand.

Let's explore the split braille keyboard in BrailleTouch. The left side of the screen is dots 1, 2, and 3 arranged vertically. You can tap dot 1 with your left index finger and BrailleTouch will speak the letter "A". You can type dot 3 with your left ring finger and BrailleTouch will speak "apostrophe". You can tap dots 1, 2, and 3 with the same fingers of your left hand as you would use on a Perkins Brailler.

The right side of the screen is dots 4, 5, and 6 arranged vertically. You can tap dot 4 with your right index finger and BrailleTouch will speak the "at-sign". You can tap dot 6 with your right ring finger and BrailleTouch will speak "capital". You can tap dots 4, 5, and 6 with the same fingers of your right hand as you would use on a Perkins Brailler.

After you have found the four corners of the touchscreen and are comfortable tapping dots 1, 3, 4, and 6 individually, you are ready to start brailling on your touchscreen. Try practicing the alphabet slowly at first. Hint: BrailleTouch reads the braille characters when you lift your fingers off the screen, not when you first touch the screen. You can put your fingers on the screen and move them around until you find the positions you want. Then lift your fingers off the screen quickly to hear what character BrailleTouch saw you type. If the braille dots feel reversed to you, there is a setting to "Flip Dots 1&3, 4&6" that some people prefer.

To hear the text you typed, go to the BrailleTouch menu. To go to the BrailleTouch menu, put two fingers on the screen and flick them to the left. Most people use the first two fingers of their left hand, like flicking the letter B off the left side of the screen. To get back to the keyboard, click on "Resume Typing" from the menu. Hint: The Resume Typing button is always located at the bottom of the screen.

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Having Trouble finding Certain Letters or Characters?

Some people have reported having trouble typing certain letters or characters with BrailleTouch. This is most often corrected by slightly adjusting your hand position. You can listen to the speech feedback from BrailleTouch in order to understand which character it thought you typed. This will help you understand where your fingers are located on the touchscreen braille keyboard.

For example, let's assume you type the letter I, but BrailleTouch says "colon". The letter I is dots 2 and 4, your left hand middle finger and your right hand index finger. Colon is dots 2 and 5, or the middle fingers on your left and right hands. This means that your right hand is aligned slightly too low, so that BrailleTouch thinks your right index finger is dot 5 instead of dot 4. You can adjust your right hand position slightly so it is closer to the top edge of the phone where the volume buttons are located. Try adjusting your hand position and typing problematic characters slowly until you find where the dots are located.

Please remember that BrailleTouch reads each character when you lift your fingers off the screen, not when you first touch the screen. This means that you can place your fingers slowly on the screen and move them around until you find the locations you want. Then lift all your fingers quickly off the screen to type the character. If you are having trouble with certain letters or characters, this may help you find where they are located on the screen.

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Special Characters

You can use the six dots on the braille keyboard to type most braille characters in Grade 1 uncontracted braille, according to the American standards from the BANA 2007 guidelines. We have defined special gestures for characters like space, return, and delete. To type a space, flick to the right with one finger. Most people use the index finger on their right hand. To backspace, flick to the left with one finger. Most people use the index finger on their left hand. To type return, flick to the right with two fingers. Most people use the first two fingers on their right hand. To go to the menu, flick to the left with two fingers. Most people use the first two fingers on their left hand.

Numbers and capital letters work according to the standard braille encodings. To type a number, first tap the number sign (dots 3 4 5 6). To type a capital letter, first tap dot 6. For all caps, tap dot 6 twice. To exit number mode or all caps mode, type a space (flick to the right) or type the letter sign (dots 5 6).

The at sign is important for email addresses and tweets. To type the at sign, tap dot 4. The hash sign is important for Twitter. To type the hash sign, tap dots 4 5 6 and then tap dots 1 4 5 6.

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Control Characters, Punctuation, and Symbols

MENU: two-finger left-flick.

SPACE: one-finger right-flick.

DELETE: one-finger left-flick.

RETURN: two-finger right-flick.

CAPITAL SIGN: dot 6.

ALL CAPITALS: dot 6, then dot 6.

NUMBER SIGN: dots 3 4 5 6.

LETTER SIGN: dots 5 6.

AT-SIGN: dot 4.

HASH-SIGN: dots 4 5 6, then dots 1 4 5 6.

PERIOD: dots 2 5 6.

COMMA: dot 2.

EXCLAMATION MARK: dots 2 3 5.

QUESTION MARK: dots 2 3 6, except after a space.

APOSTROPHE: dot 3.

HYPHEN: dots 3 6.

DOUBLE QUOTATION MARK: dots 3 5 6.

OPENING DOUBLE QUOTATION MARK: dots 2 3 6 when after a space.

SEMICOLON: dots 2 3.

PARENTHESES: dots 2 3 5 6, alternates between left and right parenthesis.

COLON: dots 2 5.

SLASH: dots 3 4.

STAR: dots 3 5, then dots 3 5.

AMPERSAND: dots 1 2 3 4 6.

DECIMAL POINT: dots 4 6.

EQUALS SIGN: three-finger right-flick. This gesture represents dots 1 2 3 4 5 6, and will be the f-o-r sign when contracted braille is supported in a future update.

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Settings

To change the BrailleTouch settings, press the Home button and then open the iPhone Settings app. You will find BrailleTouch near the bottom of the screen. Here is a list of the settings you can change.

Speech Feedback. You can choose to hear each letter you type, each word you type, or both. Hint: Word level feedback is only available when VoiceOver is on. This is the most popular settings option.

Email & Text Message Orientation Many people prefer to use Portrait orientation for most tasks on their iPhone. The default setting for this option is to "Force Portrait" for the email and text message screens. You can also choose to "Force Landscape" for the email and message screens, or let your iPhone rotate according the "Automatic" settings choice. Hint: If you choose "Force Landscape", you can keep holding your iPhone in the special way with the screen facing away from you when sending emails and text messages. You can navigate by flicking left and right and then double tap to select.

Flip Dots 1&3, 4&6 If the layout of the braille keyboard feels reversed, you may want to try the Flip Dots setting. Some people have described this as like braille writing with a Stainsby. This setting will change the keyboard layout so that dot 1 is your left ring finger, dot 3 is your left index finger, dot 4 is your right ring finger, and dot 6 is your right index finger.

BrailleTouch Email Signature. BrailleTouch automatically inserts "Typed with BrailleTouch" at the end of each email you send from the braille keyboard. If you do not want this, you can turn off BrailleTouch Email Signature in the settings.

Show Welcome Screen. If you want to see the quick start guide every time you start the BrailleTouch app, you can turn on the Show Welcome Screen setting.

Low Vision If you have low vision, there are two settings options you may find useful.

White on Black View If you set your iPhone to display in high contrast, you may also want to turn on the White on Black View setting in BrailleTouch which shows a high contrast visual braille keyboard.

Fast Speech Rate If you use BrailleTouch without VoiceOver, you can increase the speed of the speech feedback by turning on the Fast Speech Rate setting. (If you use VoiceOver, you can change the speed in the normal way through the iPhone Accessibility settings.)

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Word-Level Speech Feedback

By default, BrailleTouch speaks each character after you type it. You can choose to hear characters, words, or both while you are typing. Press the Home button and open the Settings app. Scroll down and open the BrailleTouch settings. Here you will find a "Speech Feedback" option that lets you choose how the BrailleTouch keyboard speaks to you. If you have enabled Word-Level Feedback, BrailleTouch will speak the previous word you typed after you enter a space on the keyboard. Note: Word level feedback is only available when VoiceOver is turned on.

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Upgrade to Full Version

After you are comfortable typing with the free trial of BrailleTouch, the real power of BrailleTouch is in the full version, available as an In App Purchase from the BrailleTouch menu. With the upgrade, you can send text messages, tweets, and emails from the braille keyboard. You can also copy text from the braille keyboard and paste it into any other app on your iPhone, such as a FaceBook update, web search, or navigation destination. To purchase an upgrade, select the Upgrade button from the Menu.

If you want to use BrailleTouch on your second iPhone or iPod touch and have already purchased the upgrade, you can choose "Restore Purchased Version" from the Upgrade screen. You can use the full version of BrailleTouch on all your iOS devices that use the same Apple ID.

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Text Messages

After you have purchased the upgrade, you will see a new option in the BrailleTouch menu to "Send Text Message". This option is only available after you have entered some text on the braille keyboard. If you do not see this menu option, it means you need to set up your iPhone to enable text messaging. Please follow Apple's directions and make sure you can send text messages from your iPhone without using BrailleTouch.

To send a text message from BrailleTouch, type your message on the braille keyboard. Then bring up the menu with a two-finger left-flick. VoiceOver will then say "Alert", followed by the text you typed. Flick left until you find Send Text Message in the menu, and choose this action. This will bring up the standard iPhone Text Message screen. Now flip your phone back to the normal way of holding it, with the screen facing you in Portrait orientation. Navigate to "Add Contact from Address Book" and choose the person you want to send the text message to. Then navigate to Send. After you send the message, you will return to the braille keyboard. You will hear audio feedback to confirm that your text message was sent.

When you hear the text you typed from the BrailleTouch menu, you can choose Resume Typing if you want to make changes. This will bring up the keyboard and you can backspace from the end of your text. If you get to the Text Message screen and want to make a change, choose the Cancel button to return to the keyboard where you can change your text.

Hint: You can send your text message directly while holding your iPhone in the special way with the screen facing away from you. Go to the BrailleTouch settings and choose "Force Landscape" under "Email & Text Message Orientation". You can flick left and right to navigate on the text message screen and double tap to select. With this option, you do not have to flip your iPhone around to complete your text message.

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Twitter

After you have purchased the upgrade, you will see a new option in the BrailleTouch menu to "Send Tweet". This option is only available after you have entered some text on the braille keyboard. If you do not see this menu option, it means you need to set up your iPhone to enable Twitter. You will need to set up a Twitter account and download the official Twitter app before you can use BrailleTouch to send tweets directly.

To send a tweet from BrailleTouch, type your message on the braille keyboard. Then bring up the menu with a two-finger left-flick. VoiceOver will then say "Alert", followed by the text you typed. Flick left until you find Send Tweet in the menu, and choose this action. This will bring up the standard iPhone Twitter screen. Now flip your phone back to the normal way of holding it, with the screen facing you in Landscape orientation with the home button on the left. Navigate to Send. After you send the tweet, you will return to the braille keyboard. You will hear audio feedback to confirm that your tweet was sent.

When you hear the text you typed from the BrailleTouch menu, you can choose Resume Typing if you want to make changes. This will bring up the keyboard and you can backspace from the end of your text. If you get to the Twitter screen and want to make a change, choose the Cancel button to return to the keyboard where you can change your text.

Hint: You can send your tweet directly while holding your iPhone in the special way with the screen facing away from you. You can flick left and right to navigate on the Twitter screen and double tap to select. You do not have to flip your iPhone around to send your tweet.

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Email

After you have purchased the upgrade, you will see new options in the BrailleTouch menu to "Send Email" and to "Set Email Subject". These options are only available after you have entered some text on the braille keyboard. If you do not see these menu options, it means you need to set up email on your iPhone. Please follow Apple's directions and make sure you can send emails from your iPhone without using BrailleTouch. Hint: If you want to reply to an email, we suggest typing your reply with BrailleTouch and then using the Copy function. You can then paste your reply into the email app in the message you are answering.

To send an email from BrailleTouch, type your message on the braille keyboard. Then bring up the menu with a two-finger left-flick. VoiceOver will then say "Alert", followed by the text you typed. Flick left until you find Send Email in the menu, and choose this action. This will bring up the standard iPhone Email screen. Now flip your phone back to the normal way of holding it, with the screen facing you in Portrait orientation. Navigate to "Add Contact from Address Book" and choose the person you want to send the email to. Then navigate to Send. After you send the email, you will return to the braille keyboard. You will hear audio feedback to confirm that your email was sent.

If you want to include a subject in your email, type the subject on the braille keyboard first. From the BrailleTouch menu, choose Set Email Subject. Then type your email on the braille keyboard, and choose Send Email from the menu. To include a subject in an email message, you must type the subject and choose Set Email Subject immediately before you type the body of your email and send it. BrailleTouch will not remember the email subject you set after you choose another action, such as sending a text message.

When you hear the text you typed from the BrailleTouch menu, you can choose Resume Typing if you want to make changes. This will bring up the keyboard and you can backspace from the end of your text. If you get to the Email screen and want to make a change, choose the Cancel button to return to the keyboard where you can change your text.

Hint: You can send your email directly while holding your iPhone in the special way with the screen facing away from you. Go to the BrailleTouch settings and choose "Force Landscape" under "Email & Text Message Orientation". You can flick left and right to navigate on the email screen and double tap to select. With this option, you do not have to flip your iPhone around to complete your email.

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Copy and Paste

With the upgrade, you can copy text from BrailleTouch and paste it into any other app on your iPhone. You can use the copy and paste features to type using braille for web searches, Facebook status updates, and navigation apps, among many examples.

After you have purchased the upgrade, you will see new options in the BrailleTouch menu to "Copy to Clipboard" and to "Paste from Clipboard". Copy to Clipboard is only available after you have entered some text on the braille keyboard. Paste from Clipboard is only available if you have copied text to the iPhone clipboard from any app.

After you type text on the braille keyboard, you can go to the menu and choose Copy to Clipboard. This will place the text on the iPhone clipboard, clear the BrailleTouch text, and return you to the braille keyboard. You can then switch to another app on your iPhone and paste the text. First navigate to the text field where you would normally type with the VoiceOver split tap keyboard. Use the Rotor to switch to Edit mode. Then flick down to choose the Paste option, and double tap to paste your text. You can try this out with the built in iPhone Notes app. Please refer to Apple's directions for more information on using the Rotor and the Copy and Paste functions with VoiceOver.

You can also paste text from the iPhone Clipboard into BrailleTouch. Go to the menu and choose Paste from Clipboard. This will add the text to the end of any text you have already typed. Hint: If you copy from BrailleTouch, the keyboard text will be cleared. If you want to get it back, just choose Paste from the menu. You can still also paste the text into other apps.

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For Low Vision and Sighted Users

You may notice that the BrailleTouch keyboard screen displays six blue dots. You do not have to hit these dots exactly. BrailleTouch is very forgiving about where you touch the screen when you are typing.

If you are a person with low vision and you have "White on Black" turned on in your iPhone's Accessibility settings, you may want to go to the BrailleTouch settings and turn on our "White on Black View" setting as well. When VoiceOver is turned off, BrailleTouch offers you two speeds of voice feedback. You can turn on the "Fast Speech Rate" switch in the BrailleTouch settings, under the Low Vision heading.

Apple's "Zoom" accessibility setting is not compatible with our BrailleTouch keyboard because it moves part of the keyboard off of the screen area. For best results, do not use BrailleTouch with Zoom turned on.

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