This content was presented at the CNIB Calgary iOS User Group meeting on 2016/04/12. It preceded a discussion of the Best iBooks For Learning iOS With Voiceover. Furthermore, this is a summary of the iBooks app demo that I gave while presenting the iBook resources. I also recommend that you read the user guide for your particular iDevice to learn more. For example, go to the first page of the iBooks chapter in iPad User Guide for iOS 9 or the first page of the iBooks chapter in iPhone User Guide for iOS 9. Though this chapter of the user guide was written for sighted users, it is still beneficial to read to give you an overview of the features.
The iBooks app is pre-installed on your iDevice as of iOS 8. I used an iPad Air 2 for my demo that was running iOS 9.3. The iPhone iBooks app interface has a few differences but you’ll find the same set of features. The gestures referenced in this article are VoiceOver (VO) gestures.
iBooks App Overview
The bottom tabs / buttons allow you to navigate to: My Books, Featured, Top Charts, Top Authors, Purchased.
How to Find an iBook
- To search for an iBook: select Featured (or Top Charts / Top Authors), type search terms into Search field (upper right)
- Select Get or Update (if new version available) button to download
- Select Read button to open
How to Update an iBook
- To update, select Purchased, Updates, select book’s Update button; updated book will replace previous version
- If update occurred on another device, delete download (Library, Select, Delete, Remove Download) and re-download (Download from iCloud)
Search Within an iBook
- Search button in upper right, left of Bookmark button
- Search results display below search field; include: Chapter, text containing search term, page number
Finding Book in Library
- Select My Books (or Library when reading a book), ensure in List View (button will say Grid View), ensure in Books Collection (or the custom collection you created), flick through list to locate book
The iBook resources I’ll be presenting are in one of two formats: EPUB or IBA (iBooks Author Document).
EPUB format e.g. iDevice User Guide
iBook User Interface
- iBook initially opens at the beginning: iPad displays 2 pages: cover page, table of contents (vertical list); iPhone only displays table of contents
- Top toolbar buttons: Library, Resume, author, book title, Share
- Contents page has 3 view options: Contents (default), Bookmarks, Notes
- Contents: vertical list of Chapter titles and page number
Page User Interface
- Main area contains the content which VO starts reading as a "single unit"
- Described images are read in lower voice
- Top toolbar buttons: Library, Table of Contents, author, book title, Appearance (font size, etc), Search, Page Bookmarked
- Bottom controls
- Page Chooser: swipe down/up (next/previous page); double tap and hold, then drag right/left to scan quickly
- Footer: go back to page link, current page number of total, number of pages left in chapter
- Rotor: use Links to navigate and activate links, use Headings for overview of content
- When reading a page, 3 finger flick left/right to move to next/previous page
IBA format e.g. Zoom In, iPad Tips & Tricks, iSee
IBA format is for iBooks created with the iBooks Author program. Such iBooks have different navigation controls than EPUB format. They may also contain multi-media such as video and audio. On the iPhone, IBA format works best in Portrait orientation (Chapter Navigation does not display in Landscape).
iBook User Interface
- Top toolbar buttons: Library, Table of Contents and Glossary, Notes, chapter title, Font Size and Brightness, Search, Bookmarks
- select Table of Contents button to display Chapter Navigation, Page Thumbnails and first page in chapter; if optional Glossary is present, select Table of Contents from dropdown list that displays
- Chapter Navigation footer: swipe up/down (next/previous chapter); VO reads chapter number (may not match chapter number assigned by the author)
- Page Thumbnails: small image of each page in horizontal row; VO reads page number; double-tap thumbnail to display page
- First page in chapter contains chapter title, optional section title links (double-tap to display section)
Page User Interface
- When reading a page, Chapter Navigation and Page Thumbnails are removed; select Table of Contents button to redisplay them
- Main area contains the content which may contain multiple units that you can access via flick right/left
- When focus is on the page content, you can use 3 finger flick left/right to move to next/previous page
- Movies: double-tap to play, flick right to access controls e.g. pause, track position
- Rotor: use Links to navigate and activate links; Headings are not available but Lines usually work