VO Lab App: Learning VO Gestures

Featured Image: 
VO Lab logo displayed on an iPad.

Sonokids has just released an exciting new iOS app called VO Lab.  This app is designed for 14+ to learn basic VoiceOver gestures.  The app is interactive and engaging for all ages!  Follow the strange professor in his chemistry laboratory as you prepare an experiment with fictional chemicals for an unknown outcome . . .

VO Lab incorporates intriguing sounds throughout the games as students move through four-multi-level stages.  

VoiceOver Gestures Learned

  • Finger drag
  • Single finger double tap
  • Single finger flick left
  • Single finger flick right
  • Three finger flick left
  • Three finger flick right

For descriptions of the gestures, teacher hints, and additional instructions, go to the Sonokids website.

This app is fully accessible with VoiceOver; however, the app is designed for users who do not yet know VoiceOver. The app verbalizes all directions and is self-voicing.  It is recommended to turn off VoiceOver while using the app.  The app is also designed for students who have low vision with clear, high contrast images.

As a Teacher of the Visually Impaired, I am pleased to see how this app encourages students to listen. Students must listen to the full set of instructions before the app will move forward to the next activity.  This app has visuals that will appeal to students with low vision as well as intriguing sounds that are motivating for everyone.  Do you have a low vision student who is resistant to learning a screen reader?  This is the perfect app to introduce these students to basic VoiceOver gestures!  Since the app is designed to be played without turning VoiceOver on and the story plot is so engaging, students are not even aware that they are learning VoiceOver gestures!

Do you have a young student (preschool/early elementary student) learning VoiceOver?  Be sure to see the posts about Ballyland Magic app review and Ballyland Rotor app review.

Collage of VO Lab


Posted by ErickaApr 27, 2017

This looks like a wonderful tool to get students on the right track for learning VO gestures! I can't wait to try it out! Very creative idea.

Posted by Paula B.May 13, 2017

Hi. so, i'm aware that this ap is for student's, teens to be exact; but would someone like me gain any advantage in using it? I'm in my mid 40's and have had varying degrees of vision loss. currently i am totally and permanently blind. I've used technology but mostly keyboard driven and i have to confess that this whole finger gesturing and i-phone usage has driven me bonkers. i've had an i-phone for two years now, but have never really used it other than for the knfb reader ap and maybe two phone calls. texting...no way. so, i still feel like a serious newbie on this thing. will this ap help or is it too limited for an adult? Any thoughts?

Posted by Diane BraunerMay 14, 2017

Absolutely!  This app will help anyone - any age - learn and practice the basic VoiceOver commands. The story plot is geared to motivate teens and is fun for anyone.

If you are interested in sending text messages, you might want to consider using dictation instead of typing out each letter.  Dictation makes texting so much easier!  Here is a post about how to use dictation.

Another way to quickly create and send text messages is to use Siri.  Simply press and hold the Home button until Siri is activated.  Then say, "Send a text message to Diane saying, (insert message).  You can ask Siri to read a text message, open a specific app, and tons more.  Here is a post post about various Siri commands.

If you want to learn more about using your iPhone or iPad with VoiceOver, here is a helpful post, Getting Started with VoiceOver on the iPad.  This post includes a few video tutorials and also links to the iPad Accessibility Features for hte Blind and Low Vision curriculum.

Good luck and have fun exploring your iPhone!

Posted by Diane BraunerMay 17, 2017

Has anyone tried it?  Seems a little pricey for learning six gestures. - B


Posted by Diane BraunerMay 17, 2017

Some students quickly catch on to how to create good VoiceOver gestures and what those gestures mean. However, there are some students (and adults!) who initially struggle with physically making the gestures. I often see a diagonal swipe instead of a true right swipe, double taps that are two slow, etc. and the iPad does not interpret the gesture the way the student thinks. For these students who struggle, practicing these gestures through a game and developing good muscle memory is critical! This game does an excellent job with this!

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