Accessibility in Sway for iPhone

Sway works with the accessibility features of your iPhone so that anyone can create interactive reports, presentations, personal stories, and more. You provide the content and Sway does the rest, making sure that your finished layout looks beautiful on virtually any device.

Notes: 

  • If you are using keyboard shortcuts to navigate, see Sway keyboard shortcuts.

  • This topic uses the abbreviation “VO” in key combinations to mean the Control key and the Option key on an external keyboard used with VoiceOver.

In this topic

Explore the Sway user interface

When you start the Sway app, My Sways appears at the top. This view lists all the Sways associated with the account you signed in with. This includes Sways you’ve created and any Sways that have been shared with you.

To start a new Sway, choose the Create button in the upper right, or use the Create New option.

When you create or edit a Sway, the top navigation bar includes two buttons:

  • Use the Edit button to add content to a card on your storyline. At the bottom of the screen, a row of buttons appears for adding content: media, photos from the camera, text, headers, and more.

  • Use the Preview button to run through your Sway. Here you can remix the design, try different navigation styles, and change the color scheme. You can also delete your Sway by using the button in the lower-right corner.

Use VoiceOver to get started in Sway

VoiceOver can help you navigate and work in Sway whether you use gestures or an external keyboard. VoiceOver is the built-in screen reader on the iPhone. To turn on VoiceOver, triple-click the Home button or use Siri by saying “Hey Siri, start VoiceOver.”

Here are two key tips for staying oriented in Sway:

  • When you start Sway, the heading at the top of the screen is My Sways, and when you run your finger near the top center of the screen, you hear “My Sways, Heading.”

  • When you edit, to find the available commands, flick up or down. If you’re using a keyboard, press VO+Down Arrow. VoiceOver lists the options for the current context depending on what’s selected. When you hear the option you want, double-tap or, on the keyboard, press VO+Spacebar.

Sign in

Sway saves your work in iCloud, OneDrive, or another account. So when you start Sway, you must also sign in to the account where you want your work to be saved.

If you aren’t already signed in, when you start Sway, you hear “Sign in to start.” To sign in:

  1. To activate the Sign in to start button, slide your finger down until you hear “Sign in to start button,” and then double-tap anywhere on the screen. The Sign In dialog opens. The VoiceOver cursor is on the Cancel button in the upper-left corner.

  2. Flick to the right, or press VO+Right Arrow repeatedly, until you hear “What email address or phone number would you like to use to sign in to Sway?” and then “Type your email address or phone number, Text field, Required.”

  3. Double-tap to place the insertion point in the text box, and then enter your account information.

  4. To move to the next step:

    • On the screen, slide down until you hear “Next button,” and double-tap.

    • With the keyboard, press VO+Spacebar+Right Arrow until you hear “Next button,” and then press VO+Spacebar. The sign-in dialog for your account displays.

  5. Type your sign-in information as instructed on the screen. When you’re done, Sway opens to the My Sways view.

Open an existing Sway

  1. In My Sways, slide your finger down until you hear the name of the Sway you want. On the keyboard, press VO+Right Arrow repeatedly

  2. Double-tap anywhere on the screen or, on the keyboard, press VO+Spacebar. The Sway opens in the Preview window, and the VoiceOver cursor is on the Back button in the upper left.

  3. To edit this Sway, slide your finger to the left or right, or press VO+Right Arrow repeatedly, until you hear “Edit, Button,” and then double-tap anywhere on the screen.

Start a new Sway

  1. In My Sways, slide your finger down or flick your finger to the right until you hear “Create New.” On the keyboard, press VO+Right Arrow repeatedly.

  2. Double-tap anywhere on the screen or, on the keyboard, press VO+Spacebar. In the storyline, a new, blank title card appears, followed by a row of buttons for adding content.

Use VoiceOver to add content to a new Sway

  1. In the Edit view, move your finger to the first card in the storyline. Or, if you’re using a keyboard, press VO+Right Arrow repeatedly until you hear “Title without background image.”

  2. To add an image that will appear behind the title, swipe up repeatedly, or, if you’re using an external keyboard, press VO+Down Arrow, until you hear “Replace the image.” Then double-tap anywhere. The Camera Roll dialog opens. (You may first need to grant Sway access to Photos in your settings.)

    Tip: As you browse in Camera Roll, VoiceOver identifies photos as “Image, Item.” There is currently no way for VoiceOver to identify photos by file name. When you find the photo you want, double-tap or press VO+Spacebar. The photo is inserted in the title card as a background image.

  3. To add the title, first make sure the title card is selected (slide your finger down on the screen), and then double-tap or, on the keyboard, press VO+Spacebar. The insertion point is in the text area. Type the title text.

  4. To add more content, use the buttons below the title card.

Turn on Accessibility view

When you preview your Sway, you can turn on Accessibility view, which displays your work in a web browser in a high-contrast style for easier reading. Any animations are disabled, and keyboard navigation is supported for use with VoiceOver.

The Accessibility view link is a landmark area hidden from view. To display the link

  • If using an external keyboard, press VO+Left Arrow or VO+Right Arrow until you hear “Accessibility link,” and then press VO+Spacebar. Your Sway opens in a new browser window.

  • If using gestures, move the focus to the Sway. You hear the title of your Sway. Flick to the left or right repeatedly until you hear “Accessibility view.” Double-tap. Your Sway opens in a new browser window.

Use Accessibility view

While viewing any Sway:

  • To navigate through any selectable options, on your keyboard, press VO+Left Arrow or VO+Right Arrow repeatedly to get to the option you want. Or you can swipe left or right.

  • To zoom a selected image in your current Sway, press the Spacebar on your keyboard. To close the image and go back to the Sway, press the Esc key.

  • To search for text within a Sway, use your browser’s Find feature

Note: To make images accessible, it’s helpful to include alternative (alt) text, a feature that will be released in Sway soon but wasn’t available when this topic was written.

Exit Accessibility view

  1. Flick your finger to the left, or press VO+Right Arrow or VO+Left Arrow, repeatedly until you hear “More options,” and then double-tap.

  2. Move to Exit Accessibility view, and then double-tap or press VO+Spacebar.

  3. To return to editing, switch back to the Sway app:

    • Use the App Switcher (double-tap the Home button).

    • Slide your finger or press VO+Left Arrow or VO+Right Arrow repeatedly until you hear “Back to Sway,” and then double-tap or, on the keyboard, press VO+Spacebar.

Features that aren’t optimized

Sway is evolving, and the Sway team is dedicated to creating a great, accessible experience. Here are a few things we haven’t yet optimized for accessibility: alt text and image selection (VoiceOver can’t identify photos by name).

Please let us know which accessibility features are most important to you. To send feedback, visit the Sway UserVoice website. Or send us email as follows:

  1. In My Sways, flick left until you hear “Options, Button,” and then double-tap.

  2. Slide your finger down or press VO+Right Arrow repeatedly until you hear “Send feedback, Button.” Double-tap.

  3. In the Help us improve dialog, slide until you hear “OK button” or press VO+Left Arrow or VO+Right Arrow. Then double-tap or, on the keyboard, press VO+Spacebar. An email message opens, addressed to the Sway team at Microsoft.

  4. Type your message and send. Please include the word “accessibility” in your feedback.

Technical support for customers with disabilities

Microsoft wants to provide the best possible experience for all our customers. If you have a disability or have questions related to accessibility, please contact the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk for technical assistance. The Disability Answer Desk support team is trained in using many popular assistive technologies and can offer assistance in English, Spanish, French, and American Sign Language. Please go to the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk site to find out the contact details for your region.

If you are a government, commercial, or enterprise user, please contact the enterprise Disability Answer Desk.

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