Scanning Wizard: using auditory scanning

Auditory scanning can be useful to support users who have difficulty seeing or reading. Learn about the auditory scanning feature that we’ve recently added to Scanning Wizard.

The Scan Test practice screen, with an alphabetic layout

The Scan Test practice screen, with an alphabetic layout
We’ve added our first version of auditory scanning to Scanning Wizard, in order to better support users who have difficulty seeing or reading. The Scan Test now includes an Auditory Scan setting, that includes two distinct modes.

Auditory Scanning: “VoiceOver” mode

The first mode is VoiceOver mode, to speak what is highlighted during scanning. The video below demonstrates how to turn on this mode and the audio prompts that are spoken as rows and columns are scanned.

As scanning proceeds through the rows, Scanning Wizard automatically calls out what row is being scanned, by stating the first and last letters in the row. For example, the first row in an alphabetic layout would be “A to period.” After the user selects a row, the auditory scanning calls out each column as it is being scanned. For example, for the first column in the first row, it would say “A.”

This is called VoiceOver mode simply because it is similar to how the VoiceOver feature works in iOS devices. Note that it is not connected to the actual iOS VoiceOver feature in any way. (Perhaps this is confusing, and maybe we should change the name of this mode?)

Auditory Scanning: “Guided” mode

Thanks to a suggestion from a Scanning Wizard user, we also have a more scaffolded mode for auditory scanning, called Guided mode. The idea here is to support the emerging scanning user in knowing what to do while scanning occurs. In Guided mode, the audio prompts tell the user whether to “Wait” or whether to “Hit” the switch. This reduces the task difficulty by reducing the need to know where the target item is and independently plan the actions necessary to select it.

The video below hopefully demonstrates this more clearly than I can write about it.

What It Doesn’t Do Yet

This is just a starting point for supporting a wider range of users within Scanning Wizard. One key thing that needs attention for auditory scanning is helping the user know what the target item is. The target items are currently shown visually at the top of the Scan Test screen. A practitioner can call out those items to the user, but it would also be nice to have some audio supports for that to allow the user to do the task more independently when desired.

If you have other suggestions for the auditory scanning features, or other Scanning Wizard features, please let us know.

To Learn More

To learn more about Scanning Wizard, visit our general Scanning Wizard page.
You can also try Scanning Wizard and use it for free. It’s a web application at

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