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Accessibility Matters

Quickly Send Texts Without Typing a Word On iPhone

I have a family member who was recently diagnosed with Huntington’s disease. It impacts the person both mentally and physically. Lately, conversating by text message can be challenging at times. This family member will, for instance, send me every step of what he is doing when he is running an errand. I don’t have much to say when I respond to these short texts. In fact, I feel like I’ve had to repeat myself so many times in the day. Fortunately, there is a shortcut that I’d like to discuss that helps with automating text messages.

The Shortcuts app has a lot of things you can automate. I’ve even built a shortcut that acts as a simple guess the number game. Anyway, the point is with this text messaging shortcut / automation, I can pick from a list of messages that I commonly send. In turn, I don’t have to open the messages app and painstakingly type something out over and over every 15 minutes.
In regards to creating this shortcut, I placed the following actions:

  • List: Once placed, type in the commonly used phrases you normally type in your messages.
  • Choose from list: This will bring up a window that allows you to choose any of the items you placed in your list.
  • Send Message: Choose the contact you’d like to send your prewritten messages to. Make sure to turn off the “Shown when run” setting. For Voiceover users, once you hear “Send, chosen item…”, swipe up with one finger and you should hear, “Show More.” Double tap to reveal the “Show When Run” option to turn it off. This will ensure your chosen message gets sent right away without you having to go through an additional screen.

One can setup something similar where instead of sending a text, whatever you pick in your list can be copied to the clipboard. So, instead of selecting “Send Message,” you can instead choose the action “Copy to Clipboard.”

Accessibility Considerations

I have tested this text messaging shortcut with switch control enabled. As of what I am aware of, switch control users may have a hard time using this type of shortcut because there is no way to scroll through a long list that may be presented. Besides, the choose from list action acts as an overlay rather than its own separate window, meaning switch control will highlight items in the shortcut and whatever screen you happen to be on when you launched the shortcut. Voiceover users will notice the same thing. For instance, if your shortcut is launched from the home screen, you will notice your list and a little bit of your home screen is shown.





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