Braille Screen Input questions:

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Braille on Apple Products

I wonder how you would put in an address, such as email or website using Braille Screen input? How does one enter the "at" and the "dot" symbols? I tried using the dot 4 and dots 4-6 respectively, but those seem to not enter anything. Also, I notice that some contractions, such as the full cell for "for", and the dot 6 in front of Y or N for their various signs are not recognized. Also, one cannot use propper braille spacing, such as for and the together in contracted braille. I do appreciate the information that has been given on this topic so far, and would love to hear any comments on these questions as well. Thank you.

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Submitted by Maria Kristic on Friday, March 13, 2015

RE the "for" contraction, the issue is that the touchscreen does not recognize a six-finger tap, so what you must do is put five fingers on the screen, release one finger while holding down the rest, then tap with the remaining finger. For example, I hold down dots 1-2-3-4-5, then release dot 3 and replace it with dot 6 so that now dots 1-2-4-5-6 are being held, then I release all fingers. If you flick right to space, you should hear that the word "for" has been entered.

The other contractions you mentioned are not working because they have been eliminated or altered in Unified English Braille to eliminate some of the ambiguities in the code and to more closely align Braille with print conventions. Either use UEB conventions or change Braille Input Table in Settings > General > Accessibility > VoiceOver > Braille > Braille Translation setting.

Hope it helps!

Submitted by alex wallis on Friday, March 13, 2015

IOS supports proper UK Braille, as well as UEB, one thing I have noticed with proper English braille is that apple have got the symbol for quotes totally wrong they have it down as a dot5 which I simply don't get as far as I know this convention hasn't changed in true English braille.
one bug that really annoys me and I wonder if anyone has a solution to this, is if I am typing a web address and insert a period the number 4 is automatically inserted after the period totally making a mess of the web address. so for example, if I wanted to type www.google.co.uk I would actually get www.4google.co.uk do others experience this issue?

I clicked on the link to the .pdf document you gave, but when I get there, nothing is reading. I'm not sure what's wrong, whether it's my brouser or what. This is extremely frustrating, changing the braille contractions on us, and no way for us to learn what the new ones are. arghghghg.

I'm not sure what you meant by "print conventions." How can that have anything to do with braille? AAnd, what braille translation setting would I sellect in the accesibility in order to get contractions I am familiar with? Thanks.

Submitted by alex wallis on Friday, March 13, 2015

Hello, regarding changing Braille settings,
this is done through settings, general, accessibility, VoiceOver and then Braille. Inside Braille a lot of the options have to do with Braille displays,
however the first option you want is called Braille screen input, and it will say something like braille screen input, contracted or Braille screen input, 6 dot.this allows you to select 6 dot or contracted Braille as the default input method when you change to Braille screen input,
however please note that a 3 finger swipe to the left or right when in braille screen input will let you quickly flick between 6 dot and contracted Braille.
Now, outside of the Braille screen input menu the option to select the Braille code you want to use can be found still inside the Braille options, it is called Braille translation, and it will say Braille translation followed by whatever the code is you currently have selected.
If you double tap on Braille translation you are given the options English unified, this is the system being introduced in the UK in a few months, the next option you have is English US, and the final option is English united kingdom.
I personally prefer to use 6 dot over contracted braille as I have found I make more mistakes when using contracted because characters are not announced as you type so its quite easy to think you are pressing a particular combination of dots but be slightly out, and you only find this out when you swipe to the right to do a space. But characters are announced as you type when using 6 dot. I hope you find this helpful, and any questions come back.

It seems that when I use the English U S table, which I am used to, some contractions work that do not in the U E B table. For example, if I am using U E B, I can push dot 4, then a, for the AT sign, but in U S braille, the dot 4 says "at" until you push the letter for the website, then it makes that letter an accented and is no longer the AT sign. But, when using the dollar sign with numbers, I can't make that work with U E B, but it works fine with the U S braille table. This is really frustrating. I wish they could fix it so that all contractions worked one way or the other, and let us know how to make them come out right.
Also, when I tried to type this coment on my Iphone, I couldn't get it to insert text using teh braille screen input or dictations. It only works if you type it using the onscreen keyboard.
This is really frustrating.
And also, the dots 4-6 in the u s table, instead of being the period, are teh underscore, and also the dots 4-5-6, which is correct. I'm not sure what we can do to make it all work. It would probably be easier if I had an accessible U E B table, but the link I have does not read any text for me, and for some reason, I cannot access PD F files, so I need to find a plain text file that will let me see how you are suuposed to use things.
It seems that with this U E B, all they're doing is confusing things, not making it more consistent.

Submitted by Maria Kristic on Friday, March 13, 2015

What I mean by aligning Braille to print conventions is, for instance, eliminating instances where Braille words are written together but spaced apart in print. For instance, in the convention being phased out now, the word "to" would not be spaced apart from the word it followed, so "to see" would be written as dots 2-3-5 followed by the word "see". That means writing "tosee" with no space between the words whereas in print, it would be written as "to see" with a space between the words. I know the BANA was concerned that they were seeing kids who would be writing, to follow the example, "tosee" when typing documents to be shared with others rather than including the space because they would be thinking of the Braille conventions; that, of course, would not look good for these folks in terms of sending out a good impression, and the group felt it was unnecessary for Braille learners to need to learn two conventions, so this was one of the reasons for BANA adopting UEB in US. The other aspect is lessening ambiguities with the changing styles in which print is being written. As a simple example, take the word "LiveNation" with the L and N capitalized. With current rules, and the dot 6 n contraction for ation, there would be ambiguity whether the Braille representation should be Liveationation or LiveNation, hence the dot 6 n contraction was eliminated. This example might have been easy for you to figure out from context but not so easy for a Braille translation program to sort out; the rationale is that, with increasingly automated Braille production + the use of Braille displays; automated translation needed to be more seamless. The same type of thing can be said for parentheses; not only is the current convention of dots 2-3-5-6 representing both opening and closing at odds with the fact that there are two different punctuation marks in print, but it could cause ambiguity as to whether the representation should be interpreted as gg or as parenthesis in the middle of a word, hence the new parentheses punctuation marks are available in UEB. And then, there was just the matter of adding symbols that are available in print but couldn't be Brailled without switching codes, thereby causing automatic translation difficulties, such as + and • (and also, RE the bullet, the fact that it is represented the same as an asterisk in current US Grade 2 means one would not actually know which character was supposed to be represented by print, causing translation issues). What it comes down to is that the current Braille code introduced problems on multiple fronts regarding the transition from Braille to print which needed to be addressed, and UEB has tried to address the issues. I think some ambiguities still remain. For example, yesterday I saw a company name called D!g where the i was stylized as an exclamation point; with the ff contraction and the exclamation point unfortunately still existing as the same dot combination, I had to pause my reading and turn off Braille translation on my Braille display to see what the actual word was supposed to be. UEB at least greatly minimizes such issues when compared to the EBAE that is currently in use but is being phased out.

For more on this topic and a guide to new punctuation, check out the BANA page called "ABCs of UEB":

http://www.brailleauthority.org/ueb/abcs/abcs-ueb.html

The BANA has other UEB resources available also.

Hope this helps you to understand the need for the change to UEB and to get started with it!

Submitted by alex wallis on Friday, March 13, 2015

Hi, at the moment Braille screen input doesn't seem to work at all in safari when you want to type text into a form on a webpage, this has been an issue since the introduction of the feature, you can type text into the safari address field but not into actual forms on webpages.

Submitted by Maria Kristic on Friday, March 13, 2015

The dollar sign in UEB is dot 4 followed by dots 2-3-4.

There is currently an issue where you cannot type on Web pages using Braille Screen Input. Outside of edit fields, typing Braille on pages acts like QuickNav in that, for example, typing h takes you to next heading. The issue is that feature is not being disabled currently in edit fields to allow you to enter text. Hopefully, Apple will address this soon...

Submitted by Maria Kristic on Friday, March 13, 2015

Apologies, I mistyped. I meant to say that, in braille screen input, typing h and then flicking up or down with one finger would take you between headings on the page in my example. I left out the part about flicking by accident.

I guess what doesn't make sense to me is that, as children, we never had a problem learning the difference between "tosee" and "to see". The translation program problems make more sense than the other reasons, because it would seem we have to cater to a nonintelligent generation of learners, which I would hope would not be the case. If we were smart enough to be taught and learn correctly, then they should be too. I guess I have a problem with someone changing the braille I knew, because now, I can't use braille effectively, no matter what table I choose.
Sorry for the venting, but this is extremely frustrating.

Thank you very much for this. I have ordered the hard copy, so hopefully it will not take them forever to get it to me, and, hopefully, the new code is not so confusing that it makes things seem like learning braille all over again.

Submitted by Maria Kristic on Saturday, March 21, 2015

I don't know if this will allow you to input in Czech, but it's worth a try... Add Czech as a VoiceOver language, switch to it, then activate Braille Input, and try inputting to see if the Czech table is active... To do it, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > VoiceOver > Speech > Add Language > select Czech from languages. Then switch rotor to Language, flick up/down until you select Czech, then switch rotor to Braille Input. Try Brailling to see if the table has changed to Czech. The other thing you could try is adding Czech as a regular keyboard, switching to it, activating Braille Input, and try inputting Braille to see what happens... To do that, go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards > Add Keyboard > select Czech. Then, in input area, activate Next Keyboard button repeatedly until you toggle to Czech, then switch to Braille Input using the rotor, and try Brailling to see what happens. Like I said, I don't know if Czech input is supported with the mode, but it's worth a try...