Monday, 22 June 2009

More on Fring for iphone with VoiceOver

Ok, it seems I am yet again taking back wot I said before - Fring ( does accept voice calls on the iphone 3gs, with VoiceOver active. The Fring app itself seems mainly accessible, except it does not speak the status of your buddies, so you have to guess if they're on line or not. I gather the online status is shown by a green icon as opposed to a grey one for offline. The accessibility is good because Fring has a Skype add-on, and you can make calls to Skypers straight from the Fring app without having to have your Skype buddy call you first (as documented below in my murmurings about Skype).
At the bottom of the Fring screen you get a buddy list pane icon, a history pane button, the dialler pane button, the goto pane button, and a more pane button.
Fring starts up with the pane you had in the session before - so on first use it will be the buddy pane (as I recall). 
The more pane is where you actually add buddies, and add ons for Fring such as Skype, to enable you to make Skype calls - result -, or if you like, to add AIM or ICQ plugins, and a few others. If you've not set Fring up before this is where you'll want to go first, to add plugins for the services you need. Once you add in, say, the Skype plugin and set it up with your username and password for Skype, Fring automatically imports your Skype contacts. Ditto with any other plugins you add in.

The buddy pane (first on the left at the bottom) is where you find your buddies, and  activating a buddy by clicking their name reveals (from top left travelling right) a back button, their name and user id, then two buttons. The first on the left is the "chat" button (VO just says "button"). The second on the right (both about in the dead middle of the screen) is the "call" button (again VO just says "button"). Sometimes I have found that you have to flick back and forth between these to get VO to say "button" for some reason, sometimes it merely clicks.
Activating the call button - well, calls the contact - if the contact is on a service that support voice calls through Fring. Skype does. I haven't tried the others because I only have Skype contacts. 
Flicking around the screen that appears when in a call gets you the contact name, call in progress, the time of the call in minutes and seconds, and the final button at the end of the right flick is the end call button, which sometimes reveals itself in VO as "end call" button, or sometimes just "button". It's directly above the tactile home screen button anyhow.
Activating the chat button chats the contact - no surprises there. You get a back button to return to the previous pane, the contact's name and the date and time of the chat, and then the messages in the chat (if there's any, if it's a new chat you get "empty list".) Flick along to the right to get a text field (approx half way down the screen), and after double clicking to activate, type your chat message on the keyboard which pops up (bottom half of screen, where the keyboard usually is on the 3gs).
 There's a clear text button to the right of the text field (if you mess up typing your message or decide not to send it afterall I assume), and then the send button. Guess what that one does ? Heh.
You'll get a tone on the receipt of any chat messages from your contact, but the text they send is not read out automatically. You have to either flick left of the text field to read the latest chat message, or head for the top third to top half of the screen to find it by finger, where it will be displayed ina timeline of the chat along with the previous messages in conversation form.  

The history pane shows your history of chats and calls. It reads ok.

The dialler pane in Fring isn't accessible at all, so if you were hoping to dial cell contacts from it you're out of luck. This is what the dialler pane is for apparently.

The goto pane reveals your current chats or calls, if you want to switch between I imagine.

That's about it I think.

Sometimes, as in a few iphone 3gs apps I've tried, VO will read content on Fring panes that you might have used previously. From what I can gather, it acts as if it's reading a pane which is underneath the pane you're using as opposed to the one you're actually using. Odd, but I suspect there are a few bugs that Apple need to iron out in the next os update. Coming out of the current app and then back in seems to sort it out.

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