Wacky Text Field Lessons: Understanding Quick Nav Commands

Students who are completing online assignments often have to navigate to and then input text into a text field. Does your student know the screen commands necessary to navigate to and input text into a text field? A kids' definition of  "text field" is a box where you input text.

Quick Nav

If your student is learning to edit using an iPad with VoiceOver paired with a Bluetooth keyboard, he/she has to first understand Quick Nav. There are two sets of keyboard commands when using a screen reader: navigating commands and editing commands. "Nav" stands for "navigation"; when navigating or moving around the screen, Quick Nav is turned on. When typing or editing in a text field, Quick Nav is turned off. Typically, when the cursor enters a text field, Quick Nav is automatically turned off.

Example: When typing in an editable text field (Quick Nav is off), the right arrow command will move character-by-character. When in an editable text field and Quick Nav is on, pressing the right arrow will jump the VoiceOver cursor focus outside of the text field.

If the student is in a word-type document (such as Google Docs, Word or Pages) the entire content area is one big text field. Quick Nav is automatically turned off and using the arrow keys and other commands will keep the focus inside the document content. When Quick Nav is turned on, the left arrow key will move the focus outside of the document to the tool bar at the top of the page.

Many online educational resources include a combination of static text (text that can not be edited) and text fields (for students to input text). The static text might be the directions or the question. The text field is where the student types in his/her answer. The student has to be able to quickly and efficiently navigate between the two. This is where understanding Quick Nav is critical! Quick Nav must be turned on in order to navigate out of the text field.

Note: VoiceOver used to announce "Quick Nav on" or "Quick Nav off" when you press the left+right arrows. However, in recent versions of iOS, an ascending tone is heard for Quick Nav on and a descending tone is heard for Quick Nav off.

Are you confused? No worries! The best way to understand this (and to explain it to your student!) is to complete an activity that provides lots of practice to build that muscle memory!

Wacky Web Tales Activity

This activity is intended to be done using an iPad running VoiceOver with a Bluetooth keyboard. It can also be done on other devices with other screen readers.

  • In your web browser, search for the Wacky Web Tales website
  • With rotor set to Headings, navigate to Wacky Web Tales
    • Rotor: up+right arrows stopping on Headings
    • Down arrow stopping on Wacky Web Tales - Educational Place
    • Select: up+down arrows
  • Navigate to the desired story link (move by headings to Dobie's Tales, then navigate using the right arrow) and select

When the fill in the blanks page opens, the VoiceOver focus should be on the first text field. Listen carefully for the the type of word (question) that you will answer by typing in the text field. Example: The Beach tale will begin by asking for a "city or town". VoiceOver will announce, "city or town. text field, is editing. character mode. insertion point at start." As with any text field, you cannot input text until you press up+down arrows (or double tap to open).

  • When the cursor is in the text field, press up+down arrows to activate the text field
  • Type in your answer
  • Navigate to the next text field
    • Turn Quick Nav on (left+right arrows; should hear an ascending tone)
    • Right arrow moves to the next text field
  • Activate the text field (up+down arrows)
  • Type in your answer
  • Navigate to the next text field
    • Turn Quick Nav on (left+right arrows; should hear an ascending tone)
    • Right arrow moves to the next text field

Repeat to fill in all the blanks. Activate See your Wacky Web Tale button to create your story.

The video below demonstrates how to create a Wacky Web Tale.

Tab Key

Want an easier way to navigate the text fields? Try using the Tab button!

When in a Wacky Web Tale form, activate the text field, type in your answer. Now, simply press the Tab key to jump to the next text field. Activate the text field, type in your answer, press Tab key. Rinse and repeat until the form is completed!

Expanded Activities

If there is a lot of static text on a form, you can choose to navigate directly to the text field or navigate from text field to text field using the Text Field option in the rotor.

Note: "Text Field" has to be a selected rotor option in Settings to appear. To select your rotor options, go to Settings > Accessibility > VoiceOver > Rotor and select Text Field.

Dictation is another way to input text into a text field. First consider what your goal is for this activity. If the goal includes practicing keyboarding skills (or braille skills if using a braille display), then do not use dictation. If the goal is to quickly complete this activity, dictation may be the best option. When in the text field, press up+down arrows to activate the text field. Two-finger double tap to start or stop dictation. (To my knowledge, there is not a designated Bluetooth keyboard command for dictation.)

Note: Dictation must be enabled in Settings. To enable dictation, go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Enable Dictation (toggle on)