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Jonathan Mosen: I’m Jonathan Mosen. This is Mosen At Large, the show that’s got the blind community talking. On the show this week, if you could only choose one video streaming media service, which one would it be? A comprehensive review and demonstration of Spring, a Twitter app for iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Recording: Mosen At Large Podcast.

Jonathan: Thank you for joining me for Episode 175. Wow. First and foremost, let me thank everybody who participated in any way at all in the We’re With U benefit concert for Ukraine. With the latest numbers and money continues to come in, we are at $92,000 raised for blind people who remain in Ukraine or who have become refugees.

All of that money is going to go to the World Blind Union’s Ukrainian Unity Fund. They will be working with organizations in Ukraine and those helping Ukrainians to make sure that that money makes an appreciable difference. What a phenomenal contribution that listeners and especially the musicians who contributed their considerable talent have made.

Quite a few listeners said they wanted to hear more of it, but they couldn’t because of the time it was on or because other things were going on. Other people have found out about We’re With U subsequently because of all of the social media traffic that had generated and wanted to hear it. Because of all of this, we’ve made the We’re With U concert available in its entirety on-demand on the Mushroom FM website.

If you would like to hear it, you go to the URL that was and still is actually the hashtag. If you’d like to use the Twitter hashtag, You’ll find an accessible player there where you can listen on-demand,

I just heard as I put this podcast together from NFB President Mark Riccobono. NFB were a tremendous help with the infrastructure and a whole range of support. He’s saying he’s continuing to raise funds for the We’re With U project. We’re confident we can get to $100,000. It is not too late to make your contribution.

If you missed the concert, but you hear it on demand and you feel moved to make a contribution to this really important cause, please go ahead and do so is where you go. You have two options for donating. If you’re in the United States, you can donate through NFB’s infrastructure. No matter where you are in the world, you can donate directly to World Blind Union’s infrastructure. They both end up in the same place.

One potential advantage for you of donating through the World Blind Union’s infrastructure is that you can use PayPal. One of our listeners pointed out during the event that there are people out there who’ve got money lurking about on a PayPal account. If that’s you, and you would like to send it our way, then I know that blind Ukrainians would really appreciate that. is where you go to make a donation. That continues to be the case and every bit helps.

On Friday morning here in New Zealand, I had a chat with Brett Lewis. He invited me into his Twitter Space. We talked about the We’re With U project and a few other things along the way. We heard from one or two people who participated in We’re With U as well. There is an archive of that Twitter Space available. If you missed it and should you want to hear it, I’ve tweeted a link on the Mosen At Large Twitter account. If you check that Twitter account, maybe you’re following it already, you will see that I’ve tweeted Brett’s link to a recording of the Twitter Space. It was a lot of fun participating in that with Brett.

From the where in the world is Jonathan Mosen file, I’ve got a couple of things to tell you about that I’ll be participating in next week. Sadly, I can’t make it all the way to the Perkins School for the Blind campus. It’s a lovely campus. I have actually been there once or twice so much space and grass and state-of-the-art buildings and all those good things, but I am joining them virtually as part of their Career Launch Webinar program.

I’ll be talking with Brian Switzer about some of the things that I have done in my life, including broadcasting my current role as a chief executive and really making your own opportunity which I think is a really important topic.

There’ll be plenty of opportunity for listener questions as well and the conversation will go where it goes. This is on the 27th of April at [1:00] PM Eastern time. I’m sure that if you search for Perkins Career Launch you will find it. I will also put a link to the event in the show notes should you wish to register, [1:00] PM Eastern on the 27th of April.

Then I am also part of the VLANJ Tech Talks. Now VLANJ stands for Vision Loss Alliance of New Jersey. They’ve got a really cool series of Tech Talks that they’ve been doing for quite some time now. I’ve done one of these before on iOS voice control, and they very kindly asked me back to do another one.

This time I’m going to be talking about Voice Dream Reader and a little bit about Voice Dream Scanner. If you would like to register for this, I will also put a link to this in the show notes. It is happening at [7:00] PM at US Eastern time on this Thursday, the 28th of April. Looking forward to talking once again with the Vision Loss Alliance of New Jersey and talking about the marvelous app that is Voice Dream Reader.

Recording: Mosen At Large Podcast

Jonathan: It wasn’t that long ago that we all went hunting for audio-described content and now our cups runneth over with choice which is a great problem to have. These streaming services are becoming a bit more expensive with inflation starting to bite. I see some people are voting with their feet and Netflix has had a bit of a poor result that has sent some of the shareholders panicking.

What is the best streaming service? The answer that you might give could be different from the average for various reasons. Disney+ is the genre leader according to the Fandom’s second annual State of Streaming report, which delved into how much consumers feel is a fair price to pay for streamers. You may say I’m a streamer, but I’m not the only one.

Here are the average monthly amounts that people said they want to pay for video-on-demand services. All figures are in United States dollars. Let’s start with Netflix. People wanted to pay $10.60, HBO Max $9.30, Disney+ $9.20, Hulu $8.60. Some of these aren’t available where I am and may not be available with some of our other listeners there as well. Amazon Prime Video at $8.60, Apple TV+ down at $6.90. People, I guess consider that because there are fewer choices on Apple TV+, maybe it’s worth not quite as much to pay for.

Paramount+ $6.80 and Peacock, that’s another one we don’t have, $5.50. 61% of those surveyed believe their streaming subscriptions are too expensive. Respondents value the average streamer at $7.46 per month. 62% said genre is the key differentiator between streaming platforms with Disney+ the genre leader to date.

I think my favorite is Apple TV+. I like that because the audio description is excellent, but Also, they do take the time to make their streams available when they’re audio describing in Dolby Atmos. I feel like I’m really getting the full experience when I watch Apple TV+. What do you think? What’s your favorite streaming service and why? Let me know. 864-60Mosen is my number. In the United States, 864-606-6736, on the email.

Rebecca Skipper is in touch on this and other things. You may remember that a couple of weeks ago I mentioned in the Bonnie Bulletin that the DoorDash service was coming to New Zealand. I was curious about which service people prefer. Our cup runneth over with options now. DoorDash isn’t quite up and running here yet fully. You can now register here in New Zealand. You can order things for pickup but not yet for delivery. I think they need to hire a few more drivers before they fully go live.

I have heard of people complaining about the accessibility of DoorDash. I was curious about what food delivery service people prefer. It may depend on what you have access to where you are, the kind of food you like. I have to say that we’ve had a bit of a run with Menulog lately. [knocks] Knocking on the wood. This is very accessible actually. There isn’t a single accessibility issue with Menulog. They have opened way up again, so we’ve got a lot of food options on Menulog.

Uber Eats for me, is back to some high degree of accessibility again after having not been accessible for a while. I was talking to someone else in New Zealand a week or so ago who was not having that smooth an experience with Uber Eats. This is the fascinating thing that Uber can roll out different versions of the user experience to people even if the version number of the app is the same. Extraordinary.

Rebecca Skipper is writing in on a couple of things. We’ll get back to the streaming services in a bit. She says, “I prefer Uber Eats over DoorDash due to the accessibility complaints reported by many iOS users. However, DoorDash works for some Android users and in the web browser.” Now that’s a good hint there, Rebecca. I’ll try it on the web browser if I run into issues on iOS. She says, “I have experienced problems selecting restaurants in the app, but can reorder meals I’ve purchased before.”

Yes, I have this problem, Rebecca, with Hell Pizza which is a New Zealand pizza chain. They also do salads and other non-pizza things which are much more suitable for my ketogenic lifestyle. I was trying to order a salad and customize the ingredients using the Hell App or website because you can do this on Uber Eats, but they charge you more on Uber Eats, and the selection isn’t quite as wide. Gee, it was difficult. It was frustrating, so I just went hungry at the end. [chuckles] “On the subject of streaming media services,” Rebecca says, “currently, I subscribe to Paramount+, Amazon Prime and Apple TV+. If I had to choose only one streaming service, it’d be Paramount Plus, since I am a Star Trek fan.” Live long and prosper, Rebecca.

“Netflix,” she says, “should learn that it is difficult to remove features once they are available.” It seems as though networks are trying to create their own streaming services and cancel licenses with third-party providers like Netflix and Amazon Prime though you can purchase channel subscriptions in Amazon Prime. Paramount+ and Amazon Prime have audio-described content, though I had to use explore by touch in Paramount+, after starting a show. This isn’t an easy process.”

Thanks, Rebecca and yes, I do see that CNN has pulled the CNN+ service less than a month after they launched it. That’s a bit of a shocker, isn’t it? That did not last long at all. I know there’s been a bit of a change of Management at the helm of CNN of late. Perhaps the new people just aren’t as committed to it as the former president and chief executive of CNN, but very surprising to see them pull CNN+ so quickly.

I know Take-up was very small though. They only had a few 100,000 customers. Christopher Wright has some comments on episode 172 of the podcast. He says, “Hi, Jonathan. The best antivirus is a dying art called common sense. Keep your software and operating systems up to date. Only download files and programs from trusted places and do your best not to fall for social engineering and other scams. If something is too good to be true, it most likely is.

I like Windows Defender. The interface is mostly if not fully accessible with NVDA, and the only time it gets in my way is when I run programs created with the BGT game engine. Fortunately, I only have a small collection of games written in the system, and it’s very easy to create an excluded folder using Windows Defender to get around these false positives.

Microsoft silently updates the definitions more than once a day from what I can tell. I figure Microsoft knows more about how Windows works, than anyone else. It should be quite good. There’s no need for antivirus software on iOS or Android. The same rules apply. Those systems should be more secure by design. Most people download apps from Google Play or the App Store. I would hope companies the size of Apple and Google would be able to make those safe.

I’ve heard of some malware getting into the PlayStore but this seems really rare. Androids’ modular nature also means many more components can be updated independent from the core system. Though I’d also suggest keeping up to date with the system and associated monthly security patches, if at all possible. Android fragmentation is due to the carriers and manufacturers. If updates are important to you get a pixel and when Google decides to stop supporting it in the name of money, either buy another one or figure out how to install custom ROMs.

My original pixel from 2016 is running Android 11. Thanks to the community. Isn’t it amusing how all these go green people toss that logic out the window in the name of increasing profit? I thought Apple and Android manufacturers were the biggest offenders but it appears Microsoft is more than willing to do the same in 2025. The only VPN provider I know of that has an accessible app on Windows is tunnel bear.

I host my own VPN for those not aware that stands for Virtual Private Network on a VPS which stands for Virtual Private Server using PIVPN. It seems like the open VPN protocol is fully accessible. If your VPN provider supports open VPN profiles, use that instead of the proprietary software. It works really well on Windows and iOS. Blindness is universally feared. It also doesn’t appear to qualify as something to be respected and celebrated in the Diversity Initiative, which is really sad.

I’ve heard some people would rather get cancer and die than become blind, which makes absolutely no sense to me. Then again, I’ve been blind my entire life, but I’d like to think it would be better to still be alive and deal with the information barrier than dead. All we can do is continue to educate people and encourage open communication. Those who won’t listen and or don’t care should be ignored, while those who do and can understand to a degree should be celebrated. I’ve said this before, and I’ll undoubtedly say it again but now and going into the future is the best time to be blind or otherwise disabled.”

You are absolutely right, Christopher. There are surveys out there that indicate that people do fear blindness, more than cancer and AIDS. What do we do about that? I think we just have to keep working to ensure that disabled people of all kinds are in what I call those influential change positions, in leadership of organizations, in politics, in the media, around the board table, all those influential positions, so that blindness and disability generally is not so misunderstood or feared.

While I take your point about common sense being necessary on the internet, I think the trouble is that some of these scams and viruses are getting increasingly sophisticated. We have to be careful, I think, not to indulge in victim-blaming here. These viruses, these scams are caused by people who intend to do harm. Obviously, just as you have to be streetwise when you’re walking around, and you avoid certain places, you’ve got to be streetwise on the internet as well.

Cyber education is really important but so too is law enforcement in this area. Because if you’ve got somebody who is not that tech-savvy, they admit that they’re not tech-savvy, they’re just trying to get along. Maybe they’re doing something like using the same password across multiple websites. Now, that’s the worst thing you could possibly do but unfortunately, some people still do it. They don’t want to use a password manager and create a unique strong password for every website, which is one of the best things you can do for cybersecurity.

Hindsight’s a wonderful thing. It’s the only sight that many of us listening to this show actually have. When something happens, and someone receives an email, I’ve heard about this happening a lot. Someone receives an email, and it says, “I’ve hacked into your account, I know your password is–” and they spill the password back to you. They say, “And I’ve got into your computer, and I’ve got secret files or whatever.”

Now, you may well know that you don’t indulge in that sort of thing and there are no secret files. If you don’t know how that’s happened, if you don’t realize that somebody has got a data leak, and got your email and password from a website that has been compromised and because you use that same password on multiple sites, they’re sending this to you and freaking you out, it can be a really scary thing.

Or you can get a call out of the blue on the phone, just taking it out of the cybersecurity area for a minute, from somebody who sounds quite authentic, and claims to be from your bank’s call center or something and wants some information from you. It’s a really scary world out there or that classic one that has been going on for years where somebody claims to be from Microsoft and says that your computer’s got a virus and they’re going to help you troubleshoot it. They essentially make you give them remote access to your system and they put all sorts of nasties in there.

Look, there are so many ways to get pinged and sure, people should be savvy, but sometimes these things don’t come naturally. Technology is not intuitive for everybody. I like to hope that one of the functions of this podcast fulfills is helping to make sense of some technology and helping people to become more tech-savvy. I think the two things that people can do to strengthen their cybersecurity considerably first, get a password manager, like one password or whatever you prefer and stop using the same password on multiple sites already. Do not do that. If you’ve got the same password on more than one site, because it’s easy for you to remember, that is such a big security risk.

The second thing is to turn on two-factor authentication, wherever it’s available, so that when you log in with your password, you receive a message preferably with an authenticator app, like Microsoft authenticator or Google Authenticator. A text message can be scammed and siphoned off, but it’s better than nothing. Turn on that two-factor authentication and use a password manager.

Of course, make sure that whatever security system you’re using is kept up to date. Christopher, you’re right there. Windows Defender is updated really regularly. I must say it has served me well for many years now. Antivirus experts gave it a bit of a bad rap when it first started, but most don’t anymore.

Announcer: What’s on your mind? Send an email with a recording of your voice or just write it down. Jonathan@mushroom That’s, or phone our listener line. The number in the United States is 864-60Mosen. That’s 864-606-6736.

Jonathan: An email from Eden. She says, “Hi, Jonathan. Great show as always, and I always the diversity of your show. Sometimes you even make things interesting I would not normally care about. First, Braille, with an uppercase B, bugs, at least the newest ones seem to be fixed. No more panning or freezing issues. I do still find it necessary to write emails in the notes app as mail and Braille is still a pile of you know what.” Oh, soup. Still a pile of soup I think is what Eden is saying.

“Yes, it is good to see some real Braille improvements. It took awhile to filter through to me because when IOS 15.4.1 came out, it was not pushed to developers. It didn’t go through a developer cycle at all, and we didn’t get 15.4.1 those of us who are around the developer cycle, so we had to wait a few days until iOS 15.5 came out. Now I am enjoying easy panning again in Braille, which certainly makes producing this podcast quite a bit easier.” “Well,” she says, “I’m going to take the plunge. I’ve noticed I have a knack for finding really good songs, at least to me and some other people, and I thought I’d love to share. My taste is incredibly eclectic, so I thought I’d call it Eden’s Eclectic. I was going to say “hour”, but I think I do too. How do I first learn how to broadcast properly? Then where do I find a station that I can play copyrighted music on? I understand a bit about sound editors, but nothing about things like Station Playlist, and how people work with a radio station online. Especially, if run by someone else.”

Well, Eden, I can help you there. Brian Hartgen and I produced a tutorial called “Broadcast It”, which is a guide to station playlist. It was recorded a few years ago, but all of the concepts are still sound, and Brian has done a few supplementary pieces to broadcast it over the years. You can find it by going to,, and you can go into the Mosen consulting store area and Broadcast It is still available.

You have two options. You can purchase it for $60. It’s quite a lengthy audio tutorial, and it will tell you everything you need to know. You can also pay an extra $15 and get the JAWS scripts for Station Playlist with the tutorial. Brian does amazing work on these. Keeps them up-to-date whenever there are changes, responds to requests for some pretty cool enhancements, and it makes a world of difference having those JAWS scripts for a Station Playlist creator, and studio, and streamer, and the remote voice tracking tool because that’s the other thing that you need to think about. Station Playlist studio also has a really good remote voice tracking facility, and it’s what most of the broadcasters on Mushroom FM now use. The idea is that you just record your voice breaks if you’re choosing material that is already in the system. Otherwise, you can also upload your tracks, and it’s much quicker than broadcasting live. Now, obviously, if you’re broadcasting live, you have the opportunity to respond in real-time to social media and email, and that’s an advantage. For many of us doing the voice tracking is really efficient, and allows us to do what we do. Most radio these days actually is voice tracked, so you’ve got that choice.

In terms of who to broadcast with, I think there are lot of radio stations in the blindness space looking for broadcasters. Mushroom FM’s schedule is completely full because we’ve been around awhile and we’re popular people appreciate the standards that we maintain, but we can always potentially make a bit of room somehow I guess for the right person. I think the key thing would be to just find a station that you’d like to listen to, and then see if they’ve got some room to take you on.

If you are wanting to be sure that the legalities are right, then you should check with whoever runs the radio station about whether they are properly licensed or not. Mushroom FM is very fortunate to be based in New Zealand. We’ve been licensed here of course because of where we’re based, and it’s much easier than some other jurisdictions which have much tougher requirements in terms of vlogging, what you can play when, and all kinds of things like that. We’re much more chill here in New Zealand as long as you pay an annual license fee.

Eden says next, “I’ve started my own tarot card reading and coaching business. I have a website, but it’s not finished. Right now, I have my Enlightened with Eden page on Facebook. I was trying Clubhouse for live things, but not many came. I would like to do a Facebook Live, but beyond short segments, I just don’t want to be on camera. I have some severe fidgeting, not so much from blindness, but because of medications long ago that left unfortunate side effects. I’d rather not detract from what I’m doing, but at the same time, I don’t want to show a blank screen or point the camera at the wall.

I’ve heard people say they stream with OBS, but I need instruction for both of these things I mentioned I do. If any listener reaches out to offer help, feel free to send them my name and email, or if they send something, of course, you can just play it. I think I’ll need hand-holding. Oh, another cool Braille note, I’ve decided to learn grade 3 Braille for note-taking and shorthand. ACB is presenting a wonderful, I think, five or six months of training in it. They are on week 10, but I’ve managed to catch up. Now, I’ll just have to remember not to write in grade 3 Braille to other people. I hope you have a wonderful week. Keep up the great work.” Thank you, Eden.

I’ve heard of OBS, but I haven’t used it. When we were doing Mosen At Large Live, and I was streaming to YouTube and Facebook, all of the podcasters that I know of who take their podcasting seriously were using a thing called StreamYard. It is a website at, and it’s super accessible. It is so easy to connect your YouTube page, your Facebook page, your Twitter altogether and stream to all those places at once from this one website. I can’t recommend it highly enough. It is true that OBS is free. My understanding of it is that it is a reasonably high geek factor, but I’ve not played with it myself because all the professional podcasters I talked to recommended StreamYard, and it is so, so good. If you want to, you can check out

Anil says, “Hi, Jonathan. I have been using Voice Dream Reader since 2019. It is a great product. However, one thing which is bothering me while reading the tables and documents, it does not read like a table, which can be done using JAWS’ Table Layer, Open Book, K-1000, or on Android Kibo which is an app from Trestle Labs. This has table reading features although I’m not sure how well it works. I emailed Voice Dream about this, and I’m expecting a promising outcome.”

Anil wrote back to say that Voice Dream said they would pass this on to the developer, which is a pretty noncommittal and usual response. Thanks Anil. It’s a good point. I use Voice Dream Reader a lot, but to be honest most of the time, I use it for reading fiction, or biographies, that sort of thing. Not material where I have to go through tables, but it is a very valid point. It would be good and would increase its utility if you could engage effectively with tables.

Here’s an email from Kelly Muggridge and she says, “Hi, Jonathan. Thank you for your wonderful podcast. It is the only podcast that keeps the blind community together.” Well, thank you so much. “First of all, the gadget I use for labeling is the PenFriend Audio Labeller, which I have bought from RNIB, Royal National Institute of Blind People. Secondly, a lady whose name I’ve forgotten wanted to know where she could get information about Louis Braille, and who wrote books about him.

Well, I am reading a book called Triumph Over Darkness: The Life of Louis Braille,” What a hideous name. Sorry, [laughs] it is though, “by Lennard Bickel. You might get it from audible books, but RNIB definitely has it available on their talking book service. As a Braille reader, to me learning about his life is both special and important. Without him, we wouldn’t be able to read. The next thing I will be looking at is the life of Helen Keller. I think that it is important. Take care and keep going with the podcast. Before I go, let’s go down memory lane and look at the technology we love and hate.

I hated the Mountbatten Brailler. It was deafening, and I had to wear earmuffs. My favorite which I don’t have anymore, and is now discontinued since 1996 is the Opticon. It was a way of learning what print looks like, and it taught me how to write my signature. That’s all for now. All the best from Kelly in Loxwood in England.”

People remember the Opticon fondly, don’t they? People still have Opticons. I know there are people who carefully guard their Opticons, who buy-ups their Opticons just in case their Opticon breaks. It is one of those pieces of technology that has never been completely replaced. I was never a particularly good Opticon user. I didn’t take to it as a child, but many people have and still use it today to get things done efficiently.

Afik: Hello, Jonathan. My name is Afik from Israel. I just want to say thank you for your amazing podcast and saying thank you about your recommendation for Reaping the Benefits with Brian Hartgen that I’m listening to it now. Here in Israel, we are experiencing a lot of terrorist attacked. We have 13 people murdered by terrorist just in the three recent weeks. Yes, we are having a strange time, and strange things happening here, but we are okay and terror will not win. By the way, want to say that I’m working with Lenovo ThinkPad T14 and the function is not the function and I don’t know how to change it. If you have any idea it’ll be nice.

Jonathan: Yes. It’s easy to do, Afik, if you’ve got sighted assistance because unfortunately, the BIOS of these machines is not accessible. Lenovo’s control and function keys are reversed from most manufacturers. The dilemma they’ve got now though is that so many Lenovo users are repeat users. They keep coming back and they buy ThinkPad’s because they’re so good that if they changed it now it would upset all of their core customers. The compromise they’ve reached is that if you go into the BIOS, and go into keyboard settings, you can reverse the control and function keys so they will be like you are used to.


Recording: Mosen At Large Podcast.

Jonathan: I’m going to give you a comprehensive overview demonstration and review of the Spring Twitter app. It’s available for iOS, macOS, and iPadOS. I’m going to begin by giving you a bit of context around this app. If that’s of no interest to you if you know all about Twitter and some of the history and what Twitter does and you just want to get onto the good stuff and have a demo of the app you can skip to the next chapter of this podcast if you’re listening on a podcast client that supports the podcast chapter feature. Indeed because of the length of this review, it is heavily segmented by chapters so that you can skip around the parts of the review that interest you.

I’ve been using Twitter on and off since late 2006. I joined it, thought it was a bit mundane, deleted my account, but I came back in 2007 to stay. Twitter is my preferred social network although it has considerably fewer users than Facebook. Like all social media networks Twitter has evolved, but at its heart is still the short message originally 140 characters so they could be accommodated in a text message. Now, 280 characters, and these are called tweets.

Sure you can attach audio, video, and images, which may be described, but are usually not. Most people don’t bother. The good old text-based tweet is still at the heart of Twitter. I like to use Twitter in a very specific way. If the time ever came where I couldn’t use Twitter in this way I’d consider giving up Twitter altogether and moving to one of the lesser-known clones.

I follow around 1,000 people on Twitter, but because I have plenty to do I can’t keep up with every tweet posted by every follower. That’s why I make extensive use of one of Twitter’s hidden gems called Twitter Lists. Twitter Lists can be public or they can be private. There are plenty of lists that you can subscribe to that others have put together.

For example, there are numerous Twitter lists out there comprising journalists who were tweeting about the invasion of Ukraine where you can read firsthand accounts. You can also create your own list and if you want those lists can be private. I have a private list called priority tweets where I only include tweets from people that I never want to miss a tweet from. It only has a few people on it and it keeps my regular Twitter use manageable. For me, the beauty of Twitter is the ability to be able to watch life unfold in chronological order.

When I open my Twitter client I want to be able to return to the last tweet I read either on my main timeline, or my own private priority tweets list and read from oldest to newest in order.

The official Twitter experience has taken a different approach over time. Like Facebook Twitter has invested in developing an algorithm, which by default shows you tweets it thinks you would most like to read. Those who want your attention a commodity that fetches a high price in social media circles can bypass the algorithm by paying for placements in your timeline whether you followed the tweeter or not.

Twitter goes through phases of making it harder and then easier again to view your timeline in chronological order. While the official Twitter app produced by Twitter itself has made impressive strides in recent years in terms of accessibility, it is not well suited to that experience of being able to locate your last read tweet on a timeline or on a list, and then start reading in chronological order. To me, if you read Twitter in reverse chronological order, that is to say, newest to oldest, you’re not getting the best out of Twitter and it’s more disjointed and convoluted.

That brings me to another of the things I’ve liked about Twitter over the years. There’s been a rich ecosystem of third-party apps which Twitter has supported with an application programming interface or API for short giving third-party apps official access to various parts of Twitter. Over the years, we’ve seen many blindness-related Twitter apps on windows in particular, and many mainstream apps for smartphones come and go.

In this regard, I see similarities between the Twitter app space and the podcasting app space. If you are an iPhone user you have an official podcast app on your phone from Apple and many people won’t stray from that. They don’t feel the need. The podcast app has some proprietary features and it’s accessible, but it’s pretty rudimentary and you’re not going to be happy with it if you’re a serious podcast consumer. The official Twitter app fills that space.

If you want more power and customization you’ll want a better Twitter app. If you are on Facebook you might describe the relationship between third-party Twitter apps and the powers that be it Twitter as it’s complicated. As pressure increased on Twitter to derive more revenue from its customers and make the business profitable, so the screws got put on the APIs that allow third-party Twitter apps to thrive and do what they do.

By 2018 I had already been using a third-party app for iOS developed by The Iconfactory called Twitterrific for several years. Twitter decimated those apps back in 2018 by eliminating functionality that could often be used for premium versions of third-party products. Push notifications were no longer viable. Real-time streaming of tweets was taken away. The message from Twitter to third-party apps was abundantly clear, third party twitter support is not for general consumer use. General consumers should be using the official Twitter app.

If you’re interested in the history of this and the outpouring of concern that accompanied these decisions Twitter made you can check out episode 98 of my podcast, The Blind Side, from 2018. Since then I’ve continued to use Twitterrific. For the use case that I outlined, it met most of my needs. I also installed and kept the official Twitter app around on my iPhone for push notifications, and more recently for Spaces which is a great feature.

I’m pleased to say though that in recent times there has been a bit of détente between the developer community and Twitter with some new features being made available. It feels though like it may be a case of once bitten twice shy or perhaps several times bitten for The Iconfactory. Twitterrific is still a great app, but it seems it is being maintained but not significantly improved.

I rate Twitterrific in the same category as I place my favorite podcast app, Castro. I count them both as essential and outstanding, and it would take something very special for me to switch. I love to dabble. I love to tinker. I love to play. Technology isn’t a religion. I like finding out what developers are doing and determining if something might meet my needs better.

I’ve been looking at a range of third-party Twitter clients as they develop including Tweetbot which is an excellent app with some ongoing accessibility problems, unfortunately. It’s for this reason that for some time I’ve been paying attention to a third-party Twitter client called Spring. I’ve been on the verge of recommending this app for a while now and recording this review but I felt that Spring wasn’t quite ready for prime time yet. That changed with the release of Version 3.0. Now no app is perfect and in this review, I’ll point out what I consider to be some of its weaknesses. I’ve been using Spring full-time for some days now following the release of Version 3.0 and so far I’m not inclined to switch back.

As we proceed through this review I may make some comparisons with Twitterrific that’s in no way to denigrate that app which still remains superb. I do so because for me, Twitterrific has been the gold standard when it comes to Twitter for well over half a decade. For me, any challenger needs to raise that very high bar. If you’ve not used Twitter before or you’re a fairly casual user of it, you might not feel that you need to purchase a third-party app when the free one that you can just grab from the App Store is perfectly accessible. I get that completely. For many people, the official Twitter app will do just fine. Let’s not forget, it does have some features that third-party apps still can’t offer you such as spaces. I would recommend that you always keep the official Twitter app on your device in addition to any third-party app that you might choose to use.

There are two versions of Spring available, and it seems like with each major release, the gap between the two is increasing. Spring mini is available for iPhone only. Whereas the app that is simply called Spring is a universal purchase, which, when you’ve made that purchase, will work on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Sadly, no Apple Watch support at this stage. I do note, though, that the developer of Spring has done some other apps for watchOS. It would be nice to think that Spring might come to the watch at some point.

You can run Spring on an iPad in compatibility mode and that might be sufficient for many blind people, but it doesn’t offer iPad-specific features like being able to launch multiple windows. The full Spring app supports push notifications, Spring mini does not. Now, at this stage, I’m not convinced that push notifications are good enough to seal the deal, and I’ll come back to that later.

Spring mini costs $3 and Spring costs $9.99. In recent times, I’ve curtailed my Apple use quite a bit because of ongoing accessibility issues. I no longer own an iPad and I don’t use our M1 Mac very much. I am told by people who do make use of iPad and Mac that the retention of the reading position across devices is flawless. When you’ve finished reading on your iPhone, for example, if you run Spring on your Mac, you’ll be placed at the last tweet you read on the phone. That’s a big deal for those who like to read Twitter in chronological order.

I think it’s likely that the gap between Spring mini and Spring will continue to grow. I’m very happy to support the developer with a purchase of Spring because he’s been responding positively and rapidly to accessibility feedback. Twitter’s become a bit of a utility for me of late, but the Spring app has got me excited about Twitter again. The first time you run Spring you’ll need to tell Twitter that you’re happy for Spring to access your account through the Twitter API. If you’ve used a third-party app before, this will be a familiar process for you, although there are a couple of methods that might be deployed.

In the case of Spring, you’ll log into Twitter via Twitter’s website and authorize the app, there’s no pin to enter or anything like that. You will then be returned to Twitter. If you work with more than one Twitter account, then you will need to do this for every Twitter account that you use. If you like to customize, if you like to tweak, you are going to love Spring because there are so many ways to make this app behave the way that you want it to.

I have customized my Spring app a lot. When we go in here and I do a demo for you, bear in mind that I have taken advantage already of quite a lot of these features. During this demo, I’ll show you how to customize it the way that you want to. I have Spring on my coveted page one of apps. It’s right there when I need it and I will locate it on the screen.

VoiceOver: Spring.

Jonathan: Double tap.

VoiceOver: Spring, Jonathan Mosen button. Actions available.

Jonathan: The first thing to note about Spring is that the developer has made extensive use of VoiceOver’s actions rotor. It may appear in places that you might not expect. It can be handy to flick up and down to see if there are any options available or wait for that hint to tell you that actions are available. For example, focus has been placed right now at the top of the screen and I’m on the button which if I double tap it will allow me to change accounts. You also heard Spring say that actions are available. That’s because if I flick down–

VoiceOver: Mosen At Large Podcast @MosenAtLarge.

Jonathan: All I need to do is flip down and double tap the account that I want and I’ve switched right there. There’s no need to go into any special screen to change accounts. If you double tap and activate, which is the default action, then you will be taken into a screen containing all your accounts and a settings button. This is a very quick and handy way to switch accounts when you need to do that.

In my preamble to this demonstration, I mentioned that I have a list called Priority Tweets and that has the first place on the long list of tabs at the bottom of my Spring app. Now that I’ve opened the app, I am placed right in that list. If I tap in the center of the screen–

VoiceOver: Steve Biddle. QT, “Hardly ideal timing.” One like, 48 minutes ago. Twitter for Android. Quote tweet, AUSVotes [unintelligible [00:45:20] Breaking; Opposition Leader @AlboMP has COVID, taking him off the campaign trail for the next seven days. #auspol #ausvotes picked off[unintelligible [00:45:34]. One image, three replies, 8 likes, 14 retweets, 55 minutes ago, Twitter web app. Actions available.

Jonathan: That was actually a good sample tweet as it happens because there’s a lot going on with it. Let’s take it apart. The first thing we heard was the name of the person sending the tweet. You can configure how that is spoken, and I’ll come back to that when we take a look at Spring’s extensive settings. We have the name of the tweeter, who in this case is Steve Biddle. Then it said QT. That tells me that he is about to quote a tweet, but before he does the quoting, he’s going to make his own comment. We heard when that was sent and the client with which it was sent. Then we got the quoted tweet. There’s also an image there as well.

Spring not only tells you how many times the tweet has been liked and how many times it has been retweeted, it also tells you how many, if any, replies there are. That’s a real timesaver because sometimes on other Twitter clients, you might double tap the tweet to see if there are any replies because VoiceOver isn’t telling you either way, whether replies exist or whether they don’t. In the case of Spring, you do specifically hear when replies are available.

We can also flick down, because as VoiceOver said, actions are available. I have extensively customized the actions and the order that they appear. All of that is possible with Spring. When I flick down, the first action that I’ve got is–

VoiceOver: Reply.

Jonathan: Because that’s the most common thing that I might want to do, is reply to that tweet. I want to, when I’m using the touchscreen, make that as easy as possible. There is extensive keyboard support for Spring as well, and we’ll come to that in just a moment. Next.

VoiceOver: Like.

Jonathan: I might want to like the tweet, and then–

VoiceOver: View links.

Jonathan: View links. When I double tap here, I can look at any links that are associated with this tweet. If I flick down–

VoiceOver: Open Media.

Jonathan: There’s the Open Media option. I’ve put all of the actions pertaining to the tweet in question first before we go on to other things. The Open Media action is an interesting one. If there is only a link in the tweet, it will open the link, but if there is an image, or a video, or audio, some media that is playable or viewable or listenable, then this action will cause the media to be open.

For example, where there’s an image attached to the tweet, and assuming it hasn’t been described, this option will open the image. Then you can perform a double tap and hold on the image and send it to an app like Seeing AI or Envision or what other several other blindness apps that there are that will describe images from Twitter for you. Now if I flick down–

VoiceOver: Retweet.

Jonathan: We have the retweet option. This uses the more modern Twitter convention of retweeting, where when you choose this option, it’ll ask if you want to add a quote or not. When I first got Spring, I thought, “Wow, that’s pretty unfortunate. There’s no quote tweet option.” This is the convention that Twitter now seems to be going with, and Spring is going with that convention as well.

VoiceOver: Translate.

Jonathan: I’ve got the Translate option here, which has been very handy for tweets about the war in Ukraine, for example.

VoiceOver: Mute user.

Jonathan: There is excellent support for mutes and other filters. We’ll come back to filters in a little bit so we can mute this user.

VoiceOver: View retweets.

Jonathan: View retweets of this tweet so we can find out who retweeted it.

VoiceOver: Report for spam. Customize actions.

Jonathan: If I double tap this option, I’ll be jumped straight into the part of Spring’s settings where I can customize these actions. We will take a look at that a bit later.

VoiceOver: Open in Browser.

Jonathan: We can open the tweet in the browser that will take you to the Twitter website.

VoiceOver: More.

Jonathan: We can go into more.

VoiceOver: Activate default.

Jonathan: If I double tap that, which is actually the default action as you hear, then we’ll go into a viewer where we can take a look at replies and other information about the tweet. Note, your list of actions and their order is going to look very different from this. That’s a testament to how customizable this is. We are going to spend a lot of time on customization and settings in a little bit. If I flick to the left, which will take me out through the timeline in chronological order–

VoiceOver: Jessica Elgot. “No10 hoping to drain the importance from today’s debate by sending Junior Minister Michael Ellis against Keir Starmer. MPs on three line whip to vote for government’s amendment to delay any potential inquiry till a post-Sue Gray report. Kick-off at 11.30.” 11 replies, 26 likes, 21 retweets, 50 minutes ago, Twitter for iPhone. Actions available.

Jonathan: Right at the end there we hear the client that the tweet was sent with. I like the way that Spring is voicing this. Instead of saying retweeted one time like 26 times or whatever, it says one retweet, 26 likes. That’s more efficient and I’m always looking for those sorts of efficiencies. I should say that when I came in here, I was placed exactly where I left. It is very good at remembering your place, and that is important to me. What I’m going to do now, rather than bore you with my entire priority tweets list is perform a four-finger single tap towards the top of the screen to take me to the top of the screen.

VoiceOver: Jonathan Mosen button.

Jonathan: We’re back at that top button at the top of the screen, which lets you choose your account. Now I’m going to flick to the right.

VoiceOver: Priority tweets heading.

Jonathan: This tells me what tab I’m in and in this case, its priority tweets. I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Compose tweet button.

Jonathan: This is the compose tweet button, but there is an easier way to start composing tweets, and that is that you can use the magic tap gesture. You can perform a two-finger double tap and that will immediately place you in the edit field. If I do that now–

VoiceOver: Text field is editing. Insertion point at start.

Jonathan: I’m ready to type or dictate my tweet. I’ll perform a two-fingers Scrub gesture.

VoiceOver: Jessica Elgot.

Jonathan: See, it put me right back on that last tweet that I read. Phenomenal. I’ll go back to the top of the screen.

VoiceOver: Jonathan Mosen.

Jonathan: Flick right.

VoiceOver: Priority composed tweet button.

Jonathan: Pass the composed tweet button.

VoiceOver: Actions, no filters button.

Jonathan: We’ve got an actions button. You will find this on many screens in Spring and it is context-sensitive. The actions that are available, if you double tap this button, will vary depending on what tab you’re in. I’ll double tap it now.

VoiceOver: Filter button.

Jonathan: The first option is filter. I’ll double tap that because you’ll see there’s a lot of power here.

VoiceOver: Close button.

Jonathan: I’ll flick to the right.

VoiceOver: Filter heading.

Jonathan: You’ll notice this a lot in Spring, that things are very logically organized by headings. If you have a gesture like I do, I have the two-finger flick to the right to go to the next heading and the two-finger flick to the left to go to the previous heading, it’s very easy to zap around this app when you’re configuring it. You can also use the rotor if you have headings on your rotor as well. I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Categories heading. Selected original, 156, button, selected threads, 21, button, selected replies, 6, button, selected retweets, 27, button, selected quote tweets, 8, button.

Jonathan: How and why would you use this? If you are in a hurry and you just want to take a look at original text tweets from people who are on your Twitter timeline, then you can deselect all these other things. You can deselect the retweets of other people, you can deselect any images that are probably not going to be accessible unless you are following a whole lot of saints. You can customize the Twitter timeline, whatever that timeline is, to be exactly as you want it to be. That can be very handy when you’re in a bit of a hurry. For example, I can double tap on this.

VoiceOver: Selected links categories heading.

Jonathan: Now, it did jump focus away. This is a wee bit of a bug, I think. When I double tapped quote tweets to unselect them, the focus has moved somewhere weird. I’ll navigate my heading.

VoiceOver: Contents heading. Quote tweets, zero, button.

Jonathan: I flicked back and now you hear that quote tweets is unselected and the number is set to zero. Everything else is still selected. You can customize precisely what you view on any Twitter timeline, including any lists. At the bottom of the screen–

VoiceOver: Reset button.

Jonathan: There is a reset button which will turn all of these filters off with one double tap. That’s very handy. Let’s have a look at what else we can do in the screen.

VoiceOver: Contents heading, selected text only, 43, button, selected images, 29, button, selected animated images, zero, button, selected videos, 9, button, selected links, 77, button, selected poll, zero, button, reset button.

Jonathan: Then there’s the reset button. This is another way to filter your content this time based on the type of tweet, and those are filters. To avoid getting unexpected results, I’m going to make sure-

VoiceOver: Reset button.

Jonathan: -that I double tap the reset button.

VoiceOver: Dismiss pop-up window.

Jonathan: Then focus is rightly placed on the dismiss pop-up window. I’ll double tap that.

VoiceOver: Jonathan Mosen.

Jonathan: Now I’ve been popped out of the screen, so I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Priority tweets, compose tweet actions, no filters button.

Jonathan: double tap.

VoiceOver: Filter button.

Jonathan: We’ve had a look at the filter option. Let’s flick right.

VoiceOver: Find button.

Jonathan: You can find a particular tweet on this timeline in this tab, if you will, very handy feature.

VoiceOver: View list members button.

Jonathan: Remember that this menu is contextual, and because we are coming in looking at a list, then we can view the list members here. If I flick right–

VoiceOver: Edit button.

Jonathan: We can edit the Twitter list-

VoiceOver: Delete button.

Jonathan: -and we can delete it altogether.

VoiceOver: Copy link button.

Jonathan: We can copy a link. This is particularly useful if this is a public list and you want to share that public list. You could, for example, copy this link to the clipboard and then send a tweet out saying, “I’ve made this cool public list about whatever it is. You should follow it because–” and then people can choose the link and follow your list.

VoiceOver: Share link button, dismiss context menu button.

Jonathan: That is the context menu that is shown to you when you are on a list. The context menu will be different depending on the kind of tab from which it’s invoked. I’m going to double tap this.

VoiceOver: Jonathan Mosen button.

Jonathan: We’re back in the main screen of Spring. Now, let’s go to the bottom of the screen. That was at the very top. Let’s have a look what’s going on at the very bottom. We’ve got a long TabStrip here. It can be as long as you need it to be.

VoiceOver: Selected priority tweets tab, 1 of 11.

Jonathan: It’s a bit extreme, I realized, but I’ve got 11 items on this TabStrip and I like it that way. The first item on this TabStrip is the priority tweets list, which is where I spend most of my time in Twitter. You can double tap and hold or if you prefer triple tap on this and you will get a context menu for each tab item.

VoiceOver: Edit tab button.

Jonathan: If we edit the tab, you can change its name and its icon and make some tweaks there. If I wanted to change it from priority tweets to priority, I could do that. I could rename the tab. I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Customized tab bar button.

Jonathan: This will take you into Spring’s settings where you can customize the tab bar. I’ll cover that when we take a look at settings in a moment.

VoiceOver: Dismiss context menu button.

Jonathan: I’ll double tap.

VoiceOver: Jonathan Mosen button.

Jonathan: Let’s go back to the bottom of the screen.

VoiceOver: Selected priority tweets tab, 1 of 11.

Jonathan: I’ll show you what I have on my tab list in the order that I have them. I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Home new content available tab, 2 of 11.

Jonathan: This is my main Twitter timeline, and it tells me that new content is available. It renders it in nice chronological order.

VoiceOver: Notifications tab, 3 of 11.

Jonathan: Next, I’ve got the notifications tab. This is very similar to the notifications tab that you see in the official Twitter app. It is more than just a tab containing your mentions, it’s got all sorts of things in here. Let’s show you this, I’ll double tap.

VoiceOver: Selected notifications tab, 3 of 11.

Jonathan: I’ll go to the top of the screen-

VoiceOver: Jonathan Mosen button.

Jonathan: -and flick right.

VoiceOver: Notifications heading, compose tweet button, actions no filters button. The one and only Spring app replying to Jonathan Mosen. “Hi, Jonathan. I’ll send a list to you via direct message.”

Jonathan: That is a mention and it’s from the developer of the Spring app. He sent me some information that has helped me with this review. If I flick to the right.

VoiceOver: Queen and the one and only Spring app liked your tweet. Hmm, I’ve been-

Jonathan: Here we have a couple of people who have liked the tweets that I sent about Spring.

VoiceOver: [unintelligible [00:58:44] can stay home in their pajamas all day and four others liked your tweet.

Jonathan: And on it goes. It’s very similar to that official Twitter app experience. I think that’s a really nice touch that they have managed to create that user experience in a third-party app. Back at the bottom of the screen with the TabStrip.

VoiceOver: Priority tweets tab, home new content available tab, selected notifications tab, 3 of 11.

Jonathan: VoiceOver’s now clearly speaking that the notifications tab is selected. I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Messages tab, 4 of 11.

Jonathan: This is the direct messages tab. This was an area where Spring was a little bit problematic in the past. If you tried Spring and you were a bit put off by the direct messages experience, it is much improved in this version at the time of recording.

VoiceOver: Search tab, 5 of 11.

Jonathan: I want to spend some time on the search experience because you hear this a lot. It still confuses a lot of people who are not Twitter ninjas when people say, “Track this hashtag.” We do it a lot on Mushroom FM. We’ve had a Mushroom FM hashtag for a very long time now and we asked people to use it so that listeners can communicate with other listeners on Twitter even if they’re not following each other. Some people are confused by this. How do you do it? It is really easy to set this up using Spring. I’ll double tap the search tab.

VoiceOver: Selected search tab, 5 of 11.

Jonathan: I’ll go to the top of the screen.

VoiceOver: Jonathan Mosen search heading.

Jonathan: Just briefly flick right.

VoiceOver: Search tweets or users search field.

Jonathan: I’m going to double tap that edit field and type in a search string in just a moment, but before I do that, I’ll flick to the right.

VoiceOver: Worldwide trending button heading.

Jonathan: Now there’s a button here and currently it says, “Worldwide trending.” If I double tap this button–

VoiceOver: Will close button.

Jonathan: We’ve got a little menu. I’ll flick to the right.

VoiceOver: Select a place heading, selected worldwide. Algeria, Argentina, Australia.

Jonathan: They’re all in alphabetical order, so if I perform a three-finger flick up to scroll through the screen a bit more quickly–

VoiceOver: Row 16 to 35 of– Indonesia button, Kenya.

Jonathan: I’m almost there.

VoiceOver: Qatar, Russia.

Jonathan: Oh, I’ve gone past.

VoiceOver: Norway, Nigeria, New Zealand button.

Jonathan: I’ll double tap because I’m in New Zealand.

VoiceOver: New Zealand.

Jonathan: That’s chosen my country. If I flick to the right–

VoiceOver: Auckland.

Jonathan: Auckland is the only place that Twitter thinks is worthy of a trending thing, so I’ll double tap.

VoiceOver: Jonathan Mosen button.

Jonathan: Now I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Composed, search tweet, Auckland trending button, Labor Day button, Japan [unintelligible [01:01:26] button, #moonknight, 234-

Jonathan: I know exactly why a lot of these things are trending. That’s a way of finding out what people are talking about on Twitter. This illustrates another important reason to use hashtags where it makes sense to do so, because if there is a topic that’s of interest to you and that topic is being consistently grouped around a hashtag, then you can search on that hashtag and participate in the conversation, even when you’re not following the participants of that conversation. That really puts the social in social media. Proper use of hashtags on Twitter is really important for getting the most use out of it. I’m going to go back to the top of the screen with a four-finger single tap.

VoiceOver: Jonathan Mosen button.

Jonathan: Flick to the right.

VoiceOver: Search heading, compose tweet button, search tweets or users search field.

Jonathan: I’m going to double tap to open the search field.

VoiceOver: Search field is editing, search tweets or users. Insertion point at start.

Jonathan: Now I’m going to type the hashtag that we were using for the We’re With You benefit concert for Ukraine. That’s the number sign and then blind with you, I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Clear text button, cancel button, tweets with #blindwithyou button, users with #blindwithyou button.

Jonathan: I have two choices, I have a tweets or users with that hashtag. It’s unlikely we’ll have any users with it, and so I’ll flick left.

VoiceOver: Tweets with #blindwithyou button.

Jonathan: double tap.

VoiceOver: Tweets with #blind– Search back button.

Jonathan: Now I’ll flick to the right.

VoiceOver: Hashtag, compose tweet actions no– Retweeted Mosen At Large Podcast. QT #[unintelligible [01:03:10] looking forward to chatting with Brett and with you too if you’d like to be a part of the space. Share your favorite #blind with new memories among other things.

Jonathan: There we are. We’ve got the #blindwithyou that has come up here and I can peruse those tweets. Now, here’s where it gets really cool. I’ll flick to the left.

VoiceOver: Actions, no filters button.

Jonathan: Double tap.

VoiceOver: Filter button.

Jonathan: Now we’re in this actions context menu, which as I said, will vary depending on where you’re invoking it from. We have explored the filters before, I’m going to flick to the right.

VoiceOver: Find button, open in Browser button, copy link button, share link button, save search record button.

Jonathan: You can save the search, but if I keep flicking to the right–

VoiceOver: Pin to tab bar button.

Jonathan: That is what’s really cool. You’ve got an extensive tab bar at the bottom of the screen. Unlike some Twitter apps, you’re not limited by a very small selection of tabs. If you want to track a hashtag and bring that hashtag up regularly, it is no problem to just perform the search, go into this menu and choose pin to tab bar. Let’s see what happens if we double tap this option.

VoiceOver: Text field is editing #blindwithyou. Insertion point at end.

Jonathan: The first thing we’re being asked to do is to confirm the name that will appear on the tab bar. I actually think that #blindwithyou in this case is an appropriate thing to call it, so I’ll leave it at that and flick to the right.

VoiceOver: Clear text button. Tab position, last button.

Jonathan: Where on the tab do you want this to appear? It’s set to last by default, but if I double tap–

VoiceOver: First button, selected last button, custom button, dismiss context menu button.

Jonathan: If we chose custom, we can reorder all of the tabs and get things the way we want, but I’m happy for this to go last.

VoiceOver: Custom– Selected last button.

Jonathan: That’s fine I’ll double tap.

VoiceOver: Dismiss content icon.

Jonathan: I’m now back on the previous screen, and if I go to the top of that–

VoiceOver: Cancel button.

Jonathan: There’s a cancel button.

VoiceOver: New tab heading, save button.

Jonathan: Then there’s a save button. I’m not going to activate that at the moment, but if I were to do that, it would save this and it would put it on the tab bar. That’s how you can make it very easy in Spring to keep track of a Twitter hashtag and participate in the conversation. I will go to the top of the screen.

VoiceOver: Cancel button.

Jonathan: Double tap cancel.

VoiceOver: Retweeted Mosen At Large Podcast.

Jonathan: Now I’m back where I was before, on the first tweet in this tab, where we’re searching for blind with you. Let’s go back to the bottom of the screen and look at the tab strip again.

VoiceOver: Priority tweets tab, one [unintelligible [01:06:00] new content available tab, notifications tab, messages tab, selected search tab, lists tab, 6 of 11.

Jonathan: I won’t spend too much time on this. We’ve talked about Twitter lists throughout the course of this demonstration. If I go in here, I will see all the Twitter lists that I’ve either created or that I’ve subscribed to, I can also create a new list in here if I want to and I can edit or delete the lists that I own.

VoiceOver: Profile tab, 7 of 11.

Jonathan: The profile features in Spring are very cool indeed. Social networking, it’s all about the social, and so it’s important that you understand who’s following you, who you’re following, whether there is a mutual relationship that exists, and if there isn’t, whether there should be, and sometimes you just get overwhelmed. You need to do a cull of the people that you’re following on Twitter. You can do all of that with great ease using Spring. I’m going to double tap the Profile button.

VoiceOver: Jonathan Mosen @JonathanMosen, proud husband and dad, CEO of Workbridge Incorporated hosted the Mosen At Large Podcast, member of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Opinions here are mine. Wellington, New Zealand, joined October 2nd, 2007, 34, 176 tweets, 1,003 following, 5,097 followers. Actions available.

Jonathan: It’s a tribute to the care that the developer has taken with accessibility that focus is placed somewhere sensible. When you go into the Profile tab, focus is placed on your profile. Here’s the trick, you heard right at the end there that actions are available, and that’s important in this context because if I flick down–


Jonathan: There’s my website. If I flick down again.

VoiceOver: 1,003 following.

Jonathan: Again.

VoiceOver: 5,097 followers.

Jonathan: Again.

VoiceOver: Drag one, drag two.

Jonathan: I don’t know what they do. I’ve tried double tapping on those and I’m not clear what’s happening. We’re not sure whether they have some error or whether they do something useful that I don’t yet understand.

VoiceOver: Activate default.

Jonathan: Now we’re back to the top. Let’s say that I want to take a look at who’s following me because I’ve got quite a lot of followers recently and they may be people that I missed who I want to follow. I’ll flick down.

VoiceOver: Mosen 1,003, 5,097 followers.

Jonathan: If I double tap, I’ll get my list of followers.

VoiceOver: Loading.

Jonathan: I did have to pause the recording there because it did take quite a long time to load, but that’s not unreasonable because there are over 5,000 followers there. I’ll go to the top.

VoiceOver: Jonathan Mosen.

Jonathan: Flick right.

VoiceOver: Followers edit button.

Jonathan: There’s an edit button and that is important, and we’ll come back to that in a moment.

VoiceOver: Laurel Wheeler 516 followers, joined March 15th, 2003, 442 tweets. Grad student at the University of Helsinki. #Caines fan, #BlindHockey player, guide dog handler Actions available.

Jonathan: I really like the fact that you get the whole profile there just by scrolling through your list of followers. That’s super impressive. The one thing I would like a lot is if I were told whether I am also following that person, because what I really want to check here is, is there somebody here that I’m not following that I really would like to follow? The only way I can check this, as far as I can tell, is to double tap Laurel’s name.

VoiceOver: Laurel Wheeler @FinnishSunshine follows you. Grad student at the-

Jonathan: See, it does say follows you when we go into the screen, and that’s really nice, but I think I have to then flick left.

VoiceOver: Actions, no filters.

Jonathan: Go into the Actions menu.

VoiceOver: Filter button, find button, unfollow button.

Jonathan: There’s the unfollow button. It would be a follow button if I weren’t already following Laurel. If there are a way to just establish that neutral relationship and whether it exists or not when you’re reviewing your followers list, that would be a lovely touch. I’m pretty sure that the API could provide for that. I’m going to back out of several screens.

VoiceOver: Laurel. Jonathan Mosen. Jonathan Mosen. Retweet Mushroom, Jonathan Mosen. @JonathanMosen.

Jonathan: This is my profile.

VoiceOver: Mosen. 1,004 following.

Jonathan: I’m going to go into my followers list in this case.

VoiceOver: Loading. Patty Chang.

Jonathan: These are the people that I follow, and if I flick left–

VoiceOver: The one and only Spring app. Laurel Wheeler. Edit button.

Jonathan: I’ll double tap the Edit button.

VoiceOver: Done.

Jonathan: What we have now is a very handy user interface. Let’s say that I wanted to add a whole bunch of people to a list that I am creating. To do that, I can flick to the right.

VoiceOver: Toolbar. Unfollow dimmed button. Add to lists dimmed button. Laurel Wheeler.

Jonathan: What we heard there is that there’s a toolbar with two items, unfollow and add to list. When I double tap the names of multiple people, I can take either of those actions.

VoiceOver: Selected, Laura Wheeler, the one and only Spring app. Selected, the one and only Spring– Patty Chang. Selected, Patty Chang.

Jonathan: I now have three people selected, and if I flick left–

VoiceOver: Selected, the one and only Spring app, Selected.

Jonathan: Spring is very clearly telling me that these items are selected now. If I flick left–

VoiceOver: Toolbar. Add to lists button.

Jonathan: I can double tap.

VoiceOver: Cancel button. Lists heading, save dimmed button. Tech button, news, private list button, priority tweets, private list button. Create List button.

Jonathan: I’ve got a few lists here and I can add people to those lists. For example, if there were new people that I’m following and I want to add some of them to my priority tweets list, this is an easy way to do that en masse and I can also create a brand new list from scratch. This is an extremely elegant user interface. I don’t know whether the new APIs permit this or not, but it would be great to have a list of people that I am following that are not following me and also a list of people who are following me that I’m not following. That would be a wonderful touch. Those are some of the things that you can do on your profile screen. Next to the Profile tab on my tab bar I’ve got–

VoiceOver: Likes tab, 8 of 11.

Jonathan: This is pretty straightforward. This is just a list of the tweets that I have liked.

VoiceOver: Drafts tab, 9 of 11.

Jonathan: Similarly, the drafts feature of Twitter is pretty consistently available.

VoiceOver: Settings tab, 10 of 11.

Jonathan: We’re going to spend quite a bit of time in the settings part of the app shortly, and then–

VoiceOver: tab, 11 of 11.

Jonathan: This is a hashtag I use a lot. I have it at the end of my TabStrip so it’s easy to get to. I can just double tap and review the . Let’s take a look now at the keyboard shortcuts in Spring. There are a lot of them. They make a lot of sense. They’re logically laid out and they’re easy to use. As you customize your TabStrip and you become familiar with the order that you have specified that you like, you can press command followed by a number on the number row to get to the tab in question. If your priority tweets list, like mine, is the first item on your TabStrip, we can press Command one.

VoiveOver: Newshub politics. “We will take a disciplined approach,” National’s Nicola Willis slates government spending as inflation hits 30 year high. Nationals finance spokesperson Nicola Willis slates government spending as inflation hits 30-year high. Vertical Line Newshub. Newshub company, NZ, one retweet, 32 minutes ago, DLVR.

Jonathan: I let that one play because that shows you another feature of Spring, which is that it will go out onto the web and retrieve the title and a little bit of the article for you when a URL is referenced and where it can find something like that. As well as the tweet, you get a little bit of a preview that VoiceOver does speak off the web page and what you will get if you go to that link.

This is a very useful feature, because increasingly, a lot of media outlets indulge in clickbait, where they give you quite a nebulous, often sensational wee bit of a headline, trying to get you to click on that link and it takes time out of your schedule. If Spring can give us a wee bit of a preview so we know exactly what we’re getting if we choose that link, then it’s a real-time saver. That’s Command one, taking me to the first tab on this long list of tabs. Obviously, it’s going to work for the first 10 tabs. Messages was the fourth in the series of tabs. If I press Command four–

VoiceOver: Jonathan Mosen button.

Jonathan: And flick right just to confirm.

VoiceOver: Actions available. Messages heading.

Jonathan: We’re on the messages tab. I think what would be a nice touch is if VoiceOver were to speak the name of the tab you’re in when you press the key. It doesn’t do that at the moment. I’m going to press Command one again to go back into my priority tweets.

VoiceOver: Newshub politics.

Jonathan: I’ll silence the speech there. You can press Command N to compose a new tweet, but other than that, a lot of the commands in Spring don’t require any modifier, which is nice. If you want to reply to a tweet, press the letter R. To retweet, press T, to like, press L. Some sensible mnemonics here. Translate is G. You can add bookmarks by pressing B and view links by pressing Command L. You can view the author by pressing U.

If you want to view the quoted tweet, let’s say that you might want to retweet a tweet that’s been quoted, but you only want to retweet the actual original tweet and not the quote, you want to view the quoted tweet, you can just press the letter Q to do that. To view media, press the letter M for Mike. If you want to mute somebody, you can push Shift, Command and M. To select text, you can press S. To open in the browser, press Shift, Command, and O for open. To copy text, press C, and to share a link, press Command, S. A good comprehensive suite of keyboard commands available in Spring.

Spring also offers an iOS share extension. For me at the moment, this is one of its weakest points for two reasons. If you follow @MosenAtLarge, the Twitter account for this podcast, you will know that as part of the service, one of the things I like to do is find tech-related news stories for the most part, sometimes blindness-related, but usually just tech-related, and I tweet them from Lire , which is my RSS client of choice.

This works really well in Twitterrific. I can just choose Share and then Twitterrific from the share sheet and send the tweet. I’m popped back into Lire and I can continue on my merry way until I want to share the next tweet. It’s not that easy in Spring. If you choose to share with Spring, the first thing is that there does appear to be some sort of bug at the moment, where the title of the article is inserted twice. When you’ve only got 280 characters to play with, that’s a bit unfortunate. I’m sure that can be tidied up.

Additionally, the other thing that happens is that once you’ve sent your tweet, you’re not put back into the place that you shared from, you are put back into Spring. You can get back into your app by double tapping at the very top of the status bar, where it says, “Return to the app’s name,” but Twitterrific doesn’t necessitate you doing that and I don’t believe the Twitter client does either. I’m not sure what it is about the share extension in Spring that makes this a different and less satisfactory experience.

Another area where Spring could be improved, in my view, is its support for multiple accounts. For example, the priority tweets list that I spend a long time in is specific to my Jonathan Mosen account, but when I switch to my Mosen At Large account, the tabs don’t change. You can’t customize your tabs, in other words, on an account by account basis. My priority tweets tab is still tab number one in Mosen At Large even though the list doesn’t exist on that account, and when I double tap it, Spring tells me that it can’t find the list, which is not surprising because the list doesn’t belong to that account.

The ability to customize the experience based on every account that you have is, I think, an essential feature for Spring in the very near future. Another feature I’d like to see in Spring that was never in Twitterrific but is in another third party app called Tweetings is the ability to compose what they call a tweet storm. You would type in an edit field as much as you wanted and then the tweet storm technology would intelligently break the tweets up.

For example, at the end of a sentence, if the next sentence wasn’t going to fit in the current tweet, it would start a new tweet, and Tweetings does all of that automatically and it sends a series of tweets. You don’t have to worry about starting a new tweet when you’re on a major long tweet thread.

If Spring could manage that in a reliable, intelligent way, that will be good because there are times where I do feel I need to send a long thread like that, and I actually at the moment use a third party web-based service to get that done. Now, let’s have a look at just how customizable Spring is. We’ll go to the settings tab. I’ll go to the bottom of the screen.

VoiceOver: tab, 11 of 11.

Jonathan: Flick left.

VoiceOver: Settings tab, 10 of 11.

Jonathan: This is the wonderful settings tab where there’s plenty going on. I’ll double tap.

VoiceOver: Selected, settings tab, 10 of 11.

Jonathan: I’ll go to the top of the screen.

VoiceOver: Jonathan Mosen button, settings heading, compose tweet button, general button.

Jonathan: Even in the settings tab, the compose tweet button is always available. Whenever you feel the urge to tweet, as long as you’re in Spring, you’re never far away from the compose button. I’ll double tap the general button first and flick right.

VoiceOver: General button, general button.

Jonathan: We’ve got a bit of a focus issue there, I’ll try going to the top of the screen.

VoiceOver: Settings.

Jonathan: I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: General heading, text size heading, 30% adjustable.

Jonathan: If you have low vision, you may be interested in adjusting the text size. It’s not something that appears to affect VoiceOver users, although I will say that one thing I’ve been trying to see if I can fix and I would be interested in hearing from any Braille-using Spring users who have fixed this is that using Braille with Spring is not quite as pleasant as using some other Twitter apps.

The reason for that is that you have the name of the person sending the tweet all on its own Braille line and then you have to scroll to get to the next line to read the body of the tweet. I haven’t been able to fix this and I feel like I should be able to. I’m not sure what it is about the layout of the tweets, and I’ve tried various alternative layouts and playing with different settings but I can’t get those to change.

VoiceOver: You can also adjust text size in the settings app.

Jonathan: I’m continuing to flick right.

VoiceOver: Fonts heading. Headings SanFrancisco semi bold button.

Jonathan: Now we can adjust the fonts for various parts of the app, you could explore that if you would like to. I’m going to navigate to the next heading.

VoiceOver: Text spacing heading.

Jonathan: I thought that this might influence the Braille issue but I haven’t been able to find a way of doing that. I’ll move forward past the text facing.

VoiceOver: User display name heading.

Jonathan: This is something that you may want to change depending on your preference.

VoiceOver: Selected name.

Jonathan: I just have the name displayed but if you want-

VoiceOver: @username.

Jonathan: -you can have the @username instead or you can have both.

VoiceOver: Name and @username.

Jonathan: I’ll continue to flick to the right.

VoiceOver: Badges heading.

Jonathan: We’ve got some info on badges here.

VoiceOver: Verified switch button off.

Jonathan: If you turn this on, then you will hear every time you are reading a tweet from someone who is verified. It gets pretty monotonous pretty quickly in my opinion. Even if you have this badge switched off, if you double-tap the tweet and interrogate it a bit, you will always be able to tell whether somebody’s verified or not if that’s important to you.

VoiceOver: Protected switch button off.

Jonathan: Similarly, if you want to find out if someone’s tweets are protected, you can turn this badge on and you will hear it when you’re reading tweets. You will also get that information when you double-tap and go inside the tweet. While we are talking about eliminating unnecessary verbiage, one feature that Twitterrific has for VoiceOver users which Spring does not yet have is the ability to silence emojis when they are in a Twitter name.

VoiceOver will turn off emojis altogether for you if you want that but you may want emojis in most cases. When they’re in a tweet, for example, they can actually convey useful information but when they are in a Twitter handle when you hear it the first couple of times, it might be okay. If they are tweeting frequently and you’re getting this long string of emojis before you hear the body of every tweet they send, it gets old very quickly. That filter to stop the speaking of emojis would be very much appreciated as well.

VoiceOver: Profile photo shape heading.

Jonathan: This has to do with the profile photo shape so I’m going to skip this one.

VoiceOver: Profile photo position heading.

Jonathan: There’s the photo position so I’ll skip to the next heading.

VoiceOver: Time format heading.

Jonathan: This is a pretty standard feature in Twitter clients, how do you want the time to be displayed? By default, you’ve got.

VoiceOver: Selected relative.

Jonathan: Relative, in other words, it will say that the tweet was sent 30 minutes ago or an hour ago, or-

VoiceOver: Absolute.

Jonathan: -absolute. It will tell you the exact time that the tweets were sent, which does create more verbiage.

VoiceOver: None.

Jonathan: If you really want to minimize verbiage, you can turn the time off altogether.

VoiceOver: Thumbnails heading.

Jonathan: This is thumbnails. I’ve got them switched off thinking that it might just speed performance up a bit.

VoiceOver: Tweet display style heading.

Jonathan: Tweet display style, as far as I can tell, has no effect on VoiceOver.

VoiceOver: Display heading reading progress switch button on. New tweet notifications switch button on. Tweet source labels switch button on.

Jonathan: This is the one that tells you what client something was tweeted from. I like knowing this. It’s also quite interesting when you say, see someone from Samsung tweeting about their latest and greatest new product from an iPhone. Believe me, that has happened.

VoiceOver: Show threads on timeline, switch button off.

Jonathan: I seem to remember that switching this to off had a very positive effect because if you don’t switch this off, sometimes you get replies and other things intermingled with the timeline and it got a bit confusing.

VoiceOver: Show quote tweets on tweet details switch button on. Differentiate quote tweets switch button on. Apply different background color for quote tweets on timeline, which context menu switch button on. If turned on, whenever you open a context menu by tap and hold on to something, download, and show related content. For example, when you open a menu for webpage link, download and display web page content, when you open a menu for tweet, download, and display replies.

Jonathan: We haven’t explored this at any great length but yes, there is a context menu available by double-tapping and holding on things and it can be useful to explore what is available there.

VoiceOver: Priority tweets new content available.

Jonathan: Now, I’m at my tab strip so I have gone through all of the items in general. I’m going to perform a two-finger scrub gesture to get back to the previous screen on my settings tab.

VoiceOver: General button.

Jonathan: Nice focus was placed right back where it should have been on general so I’ll flick to the right.

VoiceOver: Tweet actions button.

Jonathan: This is an important one. This lets you customize the way that your actions rotor is going to work when you’re viewing your tweets. I’m going to double tap and will show you how to work with this interface. I’ll flick right. We got no speech there but I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Tweet actions button.

Jonathan: We’ve got this focus issue. I’m sure this can be easily fixed in a future update but right now, I’ll scroll to the top.

VoiceOver: Settings back button.

Jonathan: Flick right.

VoiceOver: Tweet actions heading, drag actions into the order you prefer. Heading reply switch button on.

Jonathan: If you’ve got a good memory and you remember when I showed you the order that I have these actions appearing when I’m looking at tweets, you’ll remember that reply was first so it’s at the top of the screen. There are two things that we have control over here. First is whether the action even appears at all. I’m not sure why you would want to turn reply off but I guess you might want to. Can you actually do that?

VoiceOver: Off.

Jonathan: Yes, indeed you can.

VoiceOver: On.

Jonathan: Just by double-tapping. Then, when we flick to the right.

VoiceOver: Reorder reply button draggable. Actions available.

Jonathan: These days in iOS, there are two ways of interacting with this sort of a button where it says draggable like that. You can use the actions rotor.

VoiceOver: Activate, deep move down.

Jonathan: If you choose move down, it will go down one step in the list and there’s no move up because it’s already at the top of the list. If we were dealing with another item, there would also be a move up as well as a move down button or, you can do what iOS veterans do and you can double-tap and hold and drag it around the screen which can be a bit more efficient when you’re dragging at some distance.

VoiceOver: Like switch button on, reorder like button, view links switch button on. Reorder view links button, open media switch button on. Reorder open media button retweet switch button on. Reorder retweet button, draggable.

Jonathan: Actually, I’m having second thoughts about this. I think that retweet should be above the view links option so I’m going to do that. What I’ll do is just flick down-

VoiceOver: Move up.

Jonathan: -and double-tap on move up.

VoiceOver: Moved above open media.

Jonathan: Actually, I think it needs to go up one more because then you have your main actions all grouped together.

VoiceOver: Open media, switch reorder open, open reorder retweet button, draggable. Move up.

Jonathan: Move up.

VoiceOver: Moved above view links.

Jonathan: Now I think we’ve got it right, I’ll flick to the right.

VoiceOver: View links switch button, reorder view links open media, switch reorder open media, add bookmark switch button off. Actions available.

Jonathan: Bookmarks are not a feature that I tend to use in Twitter and so I have turned this feature off. You, on the other hand, may like it on, in which case, you want to make sure it is toggled on.

VoiceOver: Reorder add bookmark button translate switch button on. Reorder translate button select text switch button off. Reorder select text button, draggable.

Jonathan: I’ve also got this one disabled.

VoiceOver: Copy switch button off.

Jonathan: I have copy disabled as well.

VoiceOver: Reorder share link switch button off. Reorder share link user switch button on. Review tweets switch button on. Report for spam switch button on. Redelete tweet switch button on. Re-customize actions switch button on. Reopening browser switch button on.

Jonathan: That customized actions button, by the way, takes me into this list so if ever I want to tweak this actions rotor list in the order that everything’s appearing in, I can just go straight there from the actions rotor.

VoiceOver: Reorder open in browser. View likes switch button on. Reorder hide reply switch button on. Reorder the user switch button on. Reorder open quoted tweet switch button on. Actions available.

Jonathan: Now, in this case, I think that that is a feature I am likely to use quite a bit and yet it’s buried way down here. In this case, I’m going to flick to the right.

VoiceOver: Reorder open quoted tweet button draggable. Actions available.

Jonathan: Now, I’m going to put my finger towards the very bottom of the screen and double-tap and hold and move up dragging my finger across the screen.

VoiceOver: Moved above view likes. Moved above opening. Moved above customize actions. Moved above delete tweet. Moved above view links.

Jonathan: That’s as far as I seem to be able to go.

VoiceOver: Reorder open quoted reply. Reorder open quoted tweet. Drag actions into the order you prefer– Open quoted tweet.

Jonathan: Because I’ve gone all the way to the top, I don’t wander there.

VoiceOver: Reorder open quoted tweet and draggable.

Jonathan: I can begin.

VoiceOver: Moved below like. Moved below retweet. Moved below view links. Moved above view links.

Jonathan: I’m happy with it there. Now, if I navigate by heading.

VoiceOver: Tweet actions heading.

Jonathan: Let’s have a look at what’s here.

VoiceOver: Number of actions, 20. Decrement button. Increment dimmed button. Show up to 20 action buttons on tweet card.

Jonathan: That’s a nice long actions rotor but I’m happy to go with that. Let’s take a look at the effect that all this has had. I’ll go to the tab strip at the bottom of the screen.

VoiceOver: Priority tweets new content available, tab 1 of 11.

Jonathan: Double-tap.

VoiceOver: Today FM most famously known for the Lord of the Rings series.

Jonathan: All right. Now, let’s flick down and have a look at the actions as they now stand.

VoiceOver: Reply. Like. Retweet. View links. Open Media. Translate. Mute user. Viewer tweets. Report for spam. Customize actions. Open in browser. View likes. View user. Activate default.

Jonathan: Now we’re back to the top. That is very good. I’m happy with that. Now let’s go back into settings.

VoiceOver: Selected settings, tab 10 of 11.

Jonathan: I’m placed back in my actions list that we’ve just been playing with, so I’ll perform a two-finger scrub.

VoiceOver: Tweet actions button.

Jonathan: Flick to the right.

VoiceOver: Tab bar button.

Jonathan: This is where we can customize the tab bar so I’ll double tap and go to the top of the screen-

VoiceOver: Settings [unintelligible [01:32:49].

Jonathan: -and flick to the right.

VoiceOver: Tab bar. Drag tabs into the order you prefer. Heading priority tweets. Custom tab switch button on. Actions available.

Jonathan: This is a similar user interface to that that we just experienced when we had an extensive play with customizing the actions rotor. You can drag the items around in the order that you personally prefer. You can select things you want on the tab bar and deselect things that you don’t. Let’s see what’s here.

VoiceOver: Priority tweets. Custom tab switch button on. Reorder priority tweets. Home switch button on. Reorder home. Notifications switch button on. Reorder notifications. Messages switch button on. Reorder messages. Search switch button on. Reorder search. The lists switch button on. Reorder lists. Profile switch button on. Reorder profile. Likes switch button on. Reorder likes button. Bookmarks switch button off. Reorder bookmarks button [unintelligible [01:33:53].

Jonathan: Because I don’t use bookmarks, I just don’t have that tab enabled.

VoiceOver: Drafts switch button on. Reorder drafts button. Settings switch button on. Reorder Settings button. Mushroom FM hashtag custom tab switch button on. Reorder mushroom FM hashtag custom tab.

Jonathan: You remember that we demonstrated how to create a custom tab from a search earlier.

VoiceOver: More button.

Jonathan: Now, let’s go to the next heading.

VoiceOver: Tab bar heading.

Jonathan: This configures the way that the tab bar behaves.

VoiceOver: Scrollable switch button on. Make the tab bar scrollable if it can’t place all tabs in one screen. Button shapes switch button off. Tab names switch button on.

Jonathan: You definitely want this one on if you’re a VoiceOver user.

VoiceOver: Show tab names on bottom tab bar. Compose button switch button off. Customize button. Please compose tweet button on bottom tab bar if turned on, button shapes and tab names will be hidden. Number of tabs, nine. Decrement button. Increment dimmed button.

Jonathan: This determines how many items you have on your tab bar.

VoiceOver: Show up to nine tabs on bottom tab bar. Edit tab button. Restore to default settings button.

Jonathan: If you really want to start from scratch, you can double-tap this and the Spring defaults will be restored for you in terms of the tab bar. For whatever reason, the two-finger scrub gesture doesn’t appear to work in here so I’ll go to the top of the screen-

VoiceOver: Settings back button.

Jonathan: -and double-tap the back button.

VoiceOver: Setting tab bar button.

Jonathan: Now, we’re back with focus on the last option that we looked at and I’ll continue to flick to the right to go through Springs settings.

VoiceOver: X and color button.

Jonathan: Again, if you’re a low vision user, you may like to take a look at this.

VoiceOver: Appearances and themes button.

Jonathan: Similarly for appearances and themes.

VoiceOver: Videos and animated images button.

Jonathan: This determines how videos and animated images are played, whether music is paused, a range of settings of that kind.

VoiceOver: Full-screen mode button.

Jonathan: How the app behaves in full-screen mode.

VoiceOver: iCloud sync button.

Jonathan: iCloud sync determines precisely what is synced to iCloud. This is going to be important to you if you use Spring on a range of devices. Let’s take a look at this.

VoiceOver: Loading settings back button.

Jonathan: I’ll flick to the right.

VoiceOver: iCloud sync hitting. Operating normally dimmed button.

Jonathan: It gives you a status update on how iCloud sync is working and whether there are any issues that you need to be aware of.

VoiceOver: Drafts dimmed switch button on. iCloud draft sync is managed by Apple software which can’t be turned off separately.

Jonathan: That’s why that button is dimmed. I’ll flick to the right.

VoiceOver: Tweak bookmarks switch button on.

Jonathan: Now you can determine what is synced to the Cloud.

VoiceOver: Search history switch button on. User notes switch button on.

Jonathan: User notes are a feature that we haven’t talked about but they are a unique feature in Spring. At least I haven’t come across another Twitter app that does this. It allows you to store notes about certain users on Twitter. That can be handy if you’re using Twitter for business purposes.

VoiceOver: Mute list switch button on. If turned off, content saved on his device will no longer be uploaded to iCloud. Mute content found on iCloud is always downloaded. Reading position switch button on. Recent upload 21/04/2022 at 10 hours, 30 minutes, and 12 seconds PM.

Jonathan: This is a handy feature because it tells you exactly when data was last sent to iCloud, so you can confirm for yourself that everything is working as it should be. I’ll perform a two-finger scrub-

VoiceOver: iCloud sync button.

Jonathan: -and flick to the right.

VoiceOver: Refresh button.

Jonathan: This governs the refreshing of tweets and what happens when a refresh takes place. You can explore this if you’d like to.

VoiceOver: Link preview button.

Jonathan: Similarly here are options pertaining to the previewing of links. I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Web browser, Safari button.

Jonathan: Let’s have a look at what our options are.

VoiceOver: Open links in heading. Selected Safari or the default browser app you selected in the settings app. Spring in-app Safari view.

Jonathan: I personally like having web links open in my browser of choice and so that’s what I’ve got it set to but you may have a different preference. I’ll perform a two-finger scrub-

VoiceOver: Web browser, Safari button.

Jonathan: -and flick right.

VoiceOver: Translate English button.

Jonathan: Let’s double-tap and have a look at translation.

VoiceOver: Language, English button. Show translation on hitting. Selected translation view. Notification banner. Safari view. Apple translate. Banner color heading. Light mode, dark grey [unintelligible [01:38:54].

Jonathan: This [unintelligible [01:38:55] the banner color.

VoiceOver: Heading not found.

Jonathan: That’s translation. Very interesting that it has support for Apple’s own translate app that’s built into iOS. Let’s perform a two-finger scrub.

VoiceOver: Translate app icon button.

Jonathan: You can choose the app icon if you have some sites, you might like to have a play with that.

VoiceOver: Advanced settings button.

Jonathan: In here, you’ll find settings pertaining to things like what happens if a Twitter URL is detected on the clipboard when Spring is run. Do you want to export or import settings and various things of that kind?

VoiceOver: System settings button.

Jonathan: This will take you into the Spring settings in the settings app itself from iOS.

VoiceOver: Accounts button.

Jonathan: This is another way to take a look at the accounts that are set up and add a new one if you want.

VoiceOver: Push notifications button.

Jonathan: If you have the full version of Spring, Spring now supports push notifications. For some, this will be a big drawcard, for me, the thing I like about Twitter is the immediacy. This is an area where the official Twitter app has an advantage because they are the official Twitter app. This is in no way of saying that there is anything deficient about Spring. They are using a technique to get push notifications that is available to them. If you are using the official Twitter app, and someone replies to you or mentions you, or sends you a DM, the push notification happens within seconds of them sending that message or tweet to you. In Spring, it can take a few minutes.

Now you might not mind that. If you don’t, then the push notifications are working very well. I have to have the Twitter app installed anyway, the official one because I do want to use spaces. Occasionally, I might want to vote in a poll. Although you can view polls on Spring, you can’t vote in polls. I don’t think Twitter has made that available to third-party developers. Let’s have a look at the flexibility that’s offered to you with push notifications in the full Spring app. I’ll double-tap.

VoiceOver: Loaded settings back button.

Jonathan: Flick to the right.

VoiceOver: Push notifications heading, push notifications switch button off.

Jonathan: I’m going to turn them on for the moment.

VoiceOver: Cancel button.

Jonathan: Flick right.

VoiceOver: Continue button by enabling push notifications, an access token link to your Twitter account will be uploaded to Apple iCloud with end-to-end encryption. The token allows push services of Spring to periodically check new Twitter content related to you and then notify you. The token is not your Twitter password. Neither Spring nor Apple has access to your Twitter password. Spring does not store your tokens on its servers. Tokens stored on Apple iCloud will be deleted once you turn off push notifications. If you feel insecure, you can also revoke your access token granted to Spring on anytime.

Jonathan: Good explanation of what’s going on with this, I’ll go to the top of the screen.

VoiceOver: Cancel continue button.

Jonathan: Double-tap continue so I can show you the choices that we have.

VoiceOver: Push Notifications, switch button on.

Jonathan: I’ll flick to the right.

VoiceOver: Jonathan Mosen at Jonathan Mosen button Mosen At Large podcast button.

Jonathan: I have a button for each account that I have set up in Spring. I’m going to flick left.

VoiceOver: Jonathan Mosen, at Jonathan Mosen button.

Jonathan: Double-tap.

VoiceOver: Close button.

Jonathan: Flick to the right.

VoiceOver: Push notifications heading at Jonathan Mosen heading tweets off button, mentions, and replies off button. Retweets off button, quote tweets off button, likes off button, new followers off button, direct messages off button.

Jonathan: Those are the things that you can enable and for many of those, when you choose the item in question, you get two options. You can either have notifications only from people who you are following or from everybody to try and keep the notifications under control if that’s important to you. You can go ahead and enable any of these if you want to and you don’t mind the fact that there will be a wee bit of a delay, it’s not a massive delay, compared with the official Twitter app. The next group of settings are for?

VoiceOver: User notes button.

Jonathan: We talked about user notes briefly. This is where you can add information that is just available to you about users and you can do this from the profile view of a user. If we double-tap this item, you will be able to then edit your database of user notes if you want to do that.

VoiceOver: New list button.

Jonathan: Here, you can manage the list of people or hashtags that you have muted. If you want to, you can mute individual users, or if there’s a hashtag that’s generating a lot of traffic that’s of no interest to you, you can mute the hashtag as well.

VoiceOver: About Spring button.

Jonathan: Then there’s a simple about Spring which will tell you a little bit about the developer and how to get in touch with the developer. There you have it. You get all of that for $9.99. Not bad, is it? It is a very impressive accessible Twitter experience. As I’ve mentioned, there are one or two wrinkles that I think could easily be ironed out. I think there’s potential for a few more features. Overall, Spring is an incredible, I would say, revitalizing Twitter experience for iOS worth every penny, in my view, and I congratulate the author for all that he has done on accessibility.

He’s clearly committed and things are moving at quite a good pace at the moment. Search for Spring Twitter app in your iOS app store. You will find it. There’s the mini version available as well as the full Spring app itself. I hope you will enjoy it. It really has caused Twitter to Spring to life for me.

Announcer: On Twitter, follow Mosen At Large for information about the podcast, the latest tech news, and links to things we talk about on the podcast. That’s MosenAtLarge all one word on Twitter.

Jonathan: Jerry Coleman is writing in and he says, “Hello, Jonathan. Many thanks for all your work putting this podcast together each week. I can’t even imagine how you create such a high-quality product with all your other responsibilities. It is truly beneficial for thousands around the world.” That’s really generous of you. Thank you, Jerry. I am a longtime listener, First-time contributor. Welcome. Welcome. Welcome. My job, it gives me the great privilege of meeting and working with hundreds of talented soon-to-be college graduates each year, most of whom have the sincere desire to go out and improve the world in their own way. It gives me great faith in the future of humanity. Occasionally, I get questions from past students who were working on projects involving accessibility.

Here’s an excerpt from one such email. “I am currently working on accessibility in medicine guides for prescription medications. I was wondering what you found was helpful in documents that made it easier for the JAWS screen reader to understand/navigate certain areas of the document. Beyond the labeling of buttons and graphics using text where possible and not relying on undescribed images, what should I tell those who are in positions to make the world more accessible for blind consumers? Are there people I can have them contact or resources I can point them to?”

Unfortunately, I am simply not tech-savvy enough to give an adequate answer to this sort of question. The good thing is, Jerry, that there are a lot of guidelines that people can be referred to. For example, if we’re talking about mobile apps, there are accessibility guidelines for iOS and Android that Apple and Google respectively have prepared and these are public documents. All you have to do is search for accessibility guidelines and insert the operating system in question and you will find that. I’m sure the same is true of Windows and Mac OS as well in terms of developing applications.

In terms of websites, logical use of heading structures can make a big difference. For example, you might have major sections at heading level two sections within those sections at heading level three. It’s really easy to get between the main sections and the sub-sections just by using your screen reader’s built-in commands. Judicious use of regions can also be helpful. Again, the World Wide Web Consortium, the W3C, has some excellent accessibility guidelines that you can refer to. In terms of people, one good starting point, I would think might be the International Association of Accessibility Professionals.

We’ve had Sam Evans from there on this show talking about a couple of things and that might well be a good resource to tap into for referring people to those who might be able to assist. The World Wide Web Consortium itself would be another one in the context of websites as well. What I would really encourage anybody in this field to do is to get a group of people together and have them test the user experience. Nothing substitutes for real-world end-user testing because skills vary so much. I think they do with computers in general anyway, but when you add accessibility into the mix, it just makes it even more variable.

You’ll get some people who find this stuff very intuitive. They may be just willing, even if they’re trying to keep a lookout, to be a bit more tolerant of things that other users who are less experienced, less comfortable, are going to find confusing, so nothing beats real-world testing. Others may have some views on this too and they’re welcome to chime in, particularly if they’re first-time contributors like you are Jerry, but I hope this provides some useful background.

Marisa Solon has started a petition and she writes, “Greetings, Jonathan. I know that you have many listeners from around the world, most of whom are either blind or visually impaired. I am calling on them to please help me by signing a petition that I have created in hopes of making Apple Accessibility and their engineers aware of various recurring issues in VoiceOvers performance over the years. Whether the platform would be Mac, iOS, iPad, iPhone or watch, we all benefit when VoiceOver, Braille, Assistive Touch, Zoom, Large Text, Smart Invert made-for-iPhone hearing aids, Guided Access, and switch control function as expected.

There are other accessibility features that always deserve attention and tweaking to make for the best user experience. This can be as simple as fixing Smart Invert for those who require it. For a long time, it was not working correctly in iOS 12 or 13. I am not certain if it has been fixed. I know that Braille issues are all too common when a new version of iOS comes out. I have read a lot of articles and listened to your podcast about issues with Braille displays and Braille screen input not functioning correctly, et cetera. I am not looking to achieve perfection. However, I want to help advocate for those who may not know where to start to make their user experience with Apple, as a customer, the best it possibly can be. Let me say before I continue that I know technology is not 100% perfect, nor will it ever be. There will always be bugs and issues. I just want to get a conversation started on accessibility. My main concern is when Apple’s accessibility department does not address bugs in a timely manner or release betas without first enduring that VoiceOver is capable of performing basic functions and it actually being part of the software that’s released to the public beta testers. This can have a drastic effect on the user’s overall experience and possibly, loss of productivity.”

Marisa has shared a link and it’s a very long link. I can’t possibly read it out, but I will include it in the show notes for those who are interested. What you may like to do, Marisa is see if somebody could generate for you or you can generate yourself a short link, like a Bitly link or something similar with a catchy URL so that you can give it to people like me to read on podcasts. I think many listeners would agree with you in terms of the quality control issues, pervading Apple accessibility solutions. For quite some time, Apple gets a lot of praise from TechPress who think it’s marvelous that Apple does what it does in the accessibility area. Indeed it’s marvelous, but it has to be fit for purpose.

The one area where I would have a slight disagreement with you is that while I agree that an accessibility feature shouldn’t be completely disabled in a beta, such as that experience, we had a couple of years ago when watchOS was completely inaccessible to blind people using VoiceOver, and I think that is a bridge too far. When you beta test, you are acknowledging that there are bugs because that’s the purpose of beta testing. Where I get frustrated is that very significant bugs are reported and sometimes, they are not fixed at the time of release, which really makes a mockery of the whole beta process. If you are going to beta test, you do have to expect bugs.

If someone needs their device for their productivity, for their livelihood, they may not want to beta test on that device. That doesn’t take away from the critical point that you are making though about some serious quality control issues that persist. It’s been a very rocky bumpy year for Braille this year for iOS. Yes, another one.


Jonathan: That moving music indicates another edition of the Bonnie bulletin with Bonnie Mosen.

Bonnie Mosen: Hi, guys.

Jonathan: Hi, guys.

Bonnie: Hi, guys.

Jonathan: You always say, “Hi, guys”.

Bonnie: Hi, guys.

Jonathan: Even though we’re supposed to be behaving like there’s one person listening.

Bonnie: Oh, hi.

Jonathan: Yes, yes. Hi.

Bonnie: Hi.

Jonathan: Hi, y’all.

Bonnie: Hi, y’all.

Jonathan: No, no, no, no, that’s multiple.

Bonnie: How are you doing?

Jonathan: What’s up?

Bonnie: We’re Just reflecting, spending the week reflecting on the Review Concert last weekend. In fact, it’s been a lot longer ago than that. Although this week on my holiday has certainly flown by but–

Jonathan: We’ve taken leave this week.

Bonnie: Yes. We’ve taken leave this week. I’ve taken leave a long time ago of my senses.

Jonathan: [laughs] The reason why we’ve done that is because in New Zealand, we get four days off over Easter, and then, there’s a four day week this week and we’ve got another long weekend and coincidentally, my very nice organization who must have a wonderful boss, gives everybody their birthday off, and because my birthday is on Sunday, the 24th, I could either have normally taken the Friday or the Monday off assuming we weren’t on holiday on Monday. Basically, the upshot of all that is by taking three days’ leave, I get 11 days off, that’s pretty epic.

Bonnie: Yes.

Jonathan: We enjoyed it. We’ve played monopoly with the kids and-

Bonnie: On Monday.

Jonathan: -all those kids that are up here.

Bonnie: Yes, and Anthony. That was fun. I actually was able to stay with it for three hours, which is unusual for me.

Jonathan: [laughs] It is a long game. It can be a long game. We ended up playing two games, but you didn’t play the second one.

Bonnie: No, I was done by then.

Jonathan: Yes. All right then.

Bonnie: I did listen to the entire concert for 11 hours.

Jonathan: That was quite something, all the brilliant musicianship.

Bonnie: Yes, absolutely. Just all talent, all of them, every single one of them. I’m glad that it’s on-demand and it’s there for posterity and keep donating.

Jonathan: Yes, please.

Bonnie: Just because the music’s gone, doesn’t mean the need is.

Jonathan: That’s a very good quotable quote, NFB./ blind with you. Tremendous. What else has been happening?

Bonnie: I’m taking a writing course through something called the HerStories Project. I didn’t make the Zoom call this morning, but that’s okay. You don’t have to meet all of them, there’s four. We get a prompt every other day and I’m just finishing up the fifth prompt. I’m a little behind, although they say, “You’re not behind. Don’t ever say that.” Some prompts aren’t going to speak to you. I’m doing one today about the book that haunts me.

Jonathan: When you say prompt, basically they try and give you a topic that might encourage you to write something?

Bonnie: Right. You write for 15 to 30 minutes and then you post it on the forum and people can comment on it. You don’t have to post it on the forum, but it’s good to be in the community. I’ve posted some of mine. Last week, we had a real introduction where you introduced yourself and the second one was a pivotal moment in your past. I wrote about when I got my first pony and then, there was a pivotal moment in your present, which I haven’t posted yet.

Then there was one that I’m still struggling with. A person that haunts you, it’s someone that maybe you had an encounter with or someone that you haven’t seen in decades and you wonder about them. I don’t know that there’s any people that–

Jonathan: Or the one that got away?

Bonnie: The one that got away, I guess that could be one. Yes, I guess that could be it or someone that may be a boyfriend, a girlfriend, or whatever, that weren’t nice to us, I don’t know. I can’t really think of anyone that keeps me up at night. There’s a lot of people, I wonder what happened to them. Sometimes, you could find that out on Google and Facebook.

Jonathan: That’s the thing. These days, it’s not the mystery it used to be.

Bonnie: No, but sometimes it is because there are some people that I can’t find.

Jonathan: I know there are one or two people I’d be interested in finding out what happened to them and I can’t find them.

Bonnie: Well, one of the stories was this woman, she just had a new baby and she started thinking about a guy, I guess she’d known. She Googled him because she thought, she’d get in touch with him and see if he had children now and she found his obituary.

Jonathan: Oh, dear.

Bonnie: The book that haunts me is Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. It’s a book I think about a lot.

Jonathan: You asked me this question and I have to say, I think My Sister’s Keeper is a book that I was very upset at the end of that book, [chuckles] very upset. [laughs]

Bonnie: Those are the kinds of books that just leave you kind of, “I can’t read anything else right now”. The other one is Cancer Ward by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. I think about it, but I’m not sure that I could write about it because it’s been a very long time and the only thing I can really tell you is about a cancer ward in the Soviet Union in the ’50s and the characters but I can’t really– I’m not sure I could do a whole piece on it. I’d have to reread it.

Jonathan: Oh, it sounds like this has been a very worthwhile little course to get it [unintelligible [01:57:26] in there.

Bonnie: It is. It’s really good. They work specifically with women writers and they have several courses throughout the year and it’s for middle-aged writers, this course.

Jonathan: I see.

Bonnie: There’s some interesting people in it. There’s some retired psychiatrist. There’s a technical writer. There’s a woman who lives in Seattle, who’s done a lot of social justice environmental things and has been a really– She goes back to the ’60s and was a part of a lot of different movements there and an Asian lady who writes about being Asian in America, which was very, very interesting.

Jonathan: For all the terrible things that go on on the internet, it can be used for good and for a sense of community. It’s good to be reminded of that sometimes.

Bonnie: The platform is completely accessible, which is really good.

Jonathan: What platform are they using?

Bonnie: I don’t know. I can’t figure it out. It’s something that they’ve created internally because we don’t use Facebook. I guess they have their own thing that they’ve done but I can’t tell what it’s using. I’ll have to look into it.

Jonathan: It’s really good. They should get congratulated for that.

Bonnie: Yes. I may tell them, but they want to be inclusive.

Jonathan: Oh, that’s true.

Bonnie: If you’re having issues to contact, it’s run by two women, one in Colorado and one in New York.

Jonathan: We are asking the questions so I’ll ask you the question this week. If you could only keep one of the streaming video services, given that these things are becoming more expensive, inflation’s on the rise, the cost of living is going up, which one would you keep and why?

Bonnie: The one I would keep is one we can’t get. That would be Hulu because they have a lot of good stuff. A lot of good American television on it that I remember and Netflix doesn’t. I don’t know, it would be a tussle between Disney+ and Netflix because there’s a lot of good stuff on Disney+.

Jonathan: I thought you’d say Apple TV+ like me.

Bonnie: No.

Jonathan: That’s the one I would keep because it’s got For All Mankind on it. It’s got a lot of the other good shows. The Morning Show was good. There were a number of other good shows. When they do the audio description, you get it in full Dolby Atmos.

Bonnie: I probably wouldn’t keep Apple+ just because I loved For All Mankind and I’m looking forward to it.

Jonathan: Oh, season three’s coming up in June.

Bonnie: I know. I’m looking forward to that.

Jonathan: Very excited about it.

Bonnie: I don’t look at it as much as I do Netflix.

Jonathan: Of course, The Crown’s coming up in November, the next season of that and that’ll be on Netflix. I’m looking forward to that.


I’d love to hear from you. If you have any comments you want to contribute to the show, drop me an email written down or with an audio attachment to Jonathan, J-O-N-A-T-H-A-N If you’d rather call in, use the listener number in the United States; 864-606-6736.

Recording: Mosen At Large Podcast.

[02:00:17] [END OF AUDIO]

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