For those of you with working eyeballs, this post may be a bit boring for you, but if you are someone who uses Voice Over on your phone, this post may be interesting to you; unless you are a Tech genius...then this post will be equally as boring.
As I mentioned before, probably a million times, I am one of the least technologically advanced person in the world. Most everything I know is self taught an although this is probably a slower process, I think it means that the information that I do figure out sticks better than if I had someone show or teach me. That said, sometimes I wish I could find tutorials or "how to" articles that were aimed at the average tech person like me. When I decided that I wanted to use my phone's map functions, I spent literally hours scouring the internet for material that would help me, but all I could find were websites designed to tell non-Voice Over users how to use the map and GPS functions )which is not the same) or tell Tech savvy people who use Voice Over how to program stuff. I'm neither of these and I refuse to think that I'm the only blind or visually impaired person in the world who doesn't fit into these categories.
So, in light of this, and because someone in the comments pointed out to me that I should write this, I'm going to try to the best of my ability to explain how a non-tech user works the map with Voice Over.
I've decided to break these posts into separate posts otherwise it would be so long that people would stop reading. Consequently, I'm going to address the "tracking" feature of the phone first; since that was the feature I was having the hardest time finding information for.
I will first start out by saying that I love and hate this feature. Basically, the feature is great and does its job which I love, but I couldn't figure out a way to shut it off once I arrived at my destination. But, let me start from the beginning and I'll get back to this.
From what I can figure, the tracking feature does exactly that, tracks where you are. It seems to be pretty accurate as well. It kept telling me I would arrive at my destination in 200 feet when I was already standing in my home, but all GPS systems have a small discrepancy when it comes to being spot on. Apparently, it's a security thing.
The nice thing is that tracking is not a difficult feature to find either. It is on the first screen you come to when you open up the map. It is a button that you will run into if you move through the entire screen. However, do not turn it on unless you really really want it or need it or have someone with working eyeballs around to shut it off because once it's on it's difficult to shut it off. I won't say impossible because I'm sure some tech genius could figure it out, but I even shut the phone down and when I turned it back on the tracking was still running. The problem with this is that once it's running it's impossible to get the phone, when you are in the maps, to do anything else. You can message, answer the phone, make a call, but if you go back into the maps screen you are stuck in this never ending list of streets and places around you. Great if you are trying to see what's around you, but not so great when you need the map to go back to its starting screen so you can put in a new address. Also, this revolving screen of streets/places is really vague. I think it's an interactive map that is probably great for sighted people, but it is a pain for us blind folk. I had to walk around my condo for two hours with the my phone announcing that I would arrive in 400 feet until someone could shut tracking off for me. It eats up your battery and it's kind of annoying.
However, if you are out walking and you think you may be lost, go to Maps and on the first screen where you can enter an address and the "directions" button is, there will be a button that says "tracking" when you move over it. It will also announce if the tracking is on or off. Switch it on, probably by just double tapping, and you will be relieved when the phone tells you what street you are standing on. You may have to hit "directions" once tracking is switched on for the map to tell you where you are. I can't remember what I did-I think that is what I did-but I am not going to risk turning the tracking on right now because it, as I've been saying, won't shut off. I could see this being a good tool to get to know an area you are unfamiliar with. You could walk around with tracking set to "on" and every time you turned on to a new street the phone would tell you what the street was called. It also announces what address you are standing near to. That said, remember that the GPS is slightly off so if it tells you you are standing at 200 Blah Blah street and that is where you want to go, don't be surprised if you go in and it's not 200 Blah Blah street. You may have to go a few doors down. You can also turn on the phone's voice navigation to verbally announce directions as you move about. You can do that by the phone's
1. settings (Not the map's settings. Go to your phone's settings).
3. and scroll until you hear "navigation's voice volume." (On my phone model I just had to flick to the right twice).
Under the heading "navigation's voice volume" you will have four options.
1. no voice
2. low volume
3. normal volume
4. loud volume.
These are technically buttons, but the phone probably won't tell you that. Mine didn't. If you double tap the option you want, "normal volume" for example, that will be selected. Your phone should announce the next time you move over the option that it is selected. This is especially important if you want to make sure your navigation voice is on. If the "no voice" option is elected, you obviously will not have the navigation voice turned on. This is still a viable option as Voice Over will still talk to you. At least, mine did.
The navigation voice acted more as alerts, kind of the way a GPS system does when driving, whereas you can use Voice Over to navigate the map's options as well as direction steps. I honestly used the Voice Over more than the navigation voice since I had to double check directions a few times. Not to mention, I could feel my phone vibrate when the navigation voice made an announcement, but I often couldn't hear it if I was on a busier and hence louder street.
So, there you have it. My not so brief description of my experience with the tracking feature on the Imaps on my phone as well as the navigation voice. I'm not sure that my explanation was very clear or succinct, but hopefully someone finds some value in it.