A comparison of speech output of VoiceOver, TalkBack and Narrator

22. January 2014

The following table shows the output of the built-in screen readers VoiceOver (iPad mini, iOS 7.0.3), TalkBack (Google Nexus 7, Android 4.4.2) and Narrator ( Thinkpad Helix, Windows 8.1) when focussing different elements in the respective standard calendars. We used the standard verbosity settings (hints on in VoiceOver and Narrator).

This is a part of our comparative test of tablets for blind users. The rest of results will follow shortly.

Summary of results

VoiceOver (iOS) has the most complete hints for interaction. All elements can  be reached either by touch-explore or swiping.

TalkBack (Android) omits some roles (no announcing buttons) and default values of interactive elements. Also, some elements can only be made to speak via touch-explore, not swiping. Some elements cannot be focused at all (e.g., days in the month view) but may nevertheless be active if you knew where to double-tap. Some output makes little sense  (for example, the output for events in the week view, compare last row).

Narrator (Windows 8) also often offers hints for interaction. Unfortunately, it is not as easy as with the iPad or the Nexus tablet to swap languages in Windows 8, so we have for now reproduced the German output for Narrator. (If anyone can provide the English Narrator equivalent, we will be happy to replace the text.)





Create new event

"Add – button"

"New event"

"Neu - Menüelement – Doppeltippen um aktivieren"

Input event name

"Text input - Edit - title"

"Edit box – event name"

"Betreff – bearbeitet"

Selection all-day

"All-day - switch button – off – double-tap to toggle setting"

"All day event - tickbox - not ticked"

"Dauer - ganztägig bearbeitbar Kombinationsfeld – Doppeltippen um erweitern - ausgeblendet"

Event date

"Starts 23 dot zero one dot 2014 - eight - double-tap to edit"

"Start date button – double tap to select" [no value and often read without instruction]

"Start - acht - bearbeitbar Kombinationsfeld – doppeltippen, um erweitern - ausgeblendet"

New event – Date selection

"Heute [read: hewt] – picker item – adjustable – swipe up or down with one finger to adjust the value"

"Alert - Wednesday the fifteenth of January 2014"

"Dialogfeld Datum auswählen – Fokus auf Mittwoch sechzehnter Januar 2014"

Close pop-up by touching outside of it

"Dismiss pop-up – double-tap to dismiss pop-up window"

N.A. – [pop-ups are modal]

"Schließen – Menüelement – doppeltippen um aktivieren"

Output of day (in month view)

"Mittwoch, fifteenth Januar"[German labels spoken in English]

[Focussing individual days in Month View not possible]

"Mittwoch, fünfzehnter Januar 2014 - Schaltfläche - doppeltippen um aktivieren"

Output date and time (week view)

"Mittwoch fifteen Januar - Mittwoch fifteen Januar" [German labels spoken in English]

Fokussing via swiping not possible: touch explore output dependent on change of row or column:  "nine - new event" [nine refers to the time] or "Thursday - new event"

"Mittwoch, fünfzehnter Januar 2014 -Schaltfläche - doppeltippen um aktivieren"

Output Event (week view)

"<Given event name> - from - eight - to - nine - button - double-tap and hold, then move ore use handles in rotor to adjust start and end times"

Fokussing through swiping niot possible, touch explore output is "Wednesday nine - <given event name> the fifteenth of January nine hundred hours to ten hundred hours"

"9 Uhr bis zehn Uhr dreißig - <Vergebener Eventname> - Erikas Kalender – erika@beispiel.de – frei Schaltfläche – doppeltippen um aktivieren"