Saturday, 29 August 2009

VoiceOver in OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard

Just installed 10.6 today, after nearly mugging the postman for my copy which arrived this morning. I recovered about nine gigs of disk space, and my macbook pro (2006 model) is much more spritely.

One of the new features I have been playing with is the ability to label items that are not labelled in applications, or indeed relabel items that already are. Not being able to find any evidence of how to do this - most of the reviews I've seen so far from so-called accessibility experts have basically just rehashed what Apple say on their website, with very little evidence that they've used 10.6 at all - plus the fact that there is no VO 3.0 manual available (that I can find) yet, I had to delve into the VO help (VO+H) to find out how to do this.

Basically, find an item that you want to label or relabel. Press VO and / (foward slash). A dialogue box will appear asking you to enter a label for the current item. Enter one and navigate down to "ok". This works on dock icons too, but it seems system icons in the menu bar for example can't be relabelled. You'll hear the "not available" ding in this case.
This also works for some items on webpages (but not all, seems trial and error right now but there's probably a rule to it) - for example now my online banking customer number input field invites me to "input number here to see how much money you've squandered this month..."

I'm sure I'll get tired of relabelling buttons with witty (to me anyway) ditties, but for now is it not only useful but can add a touch of personality to your mac - for those of us who are still children at heart anyway.