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Changeling’s Guide to Discord for iOS Voiceover Users: Servers and Channels

What is This?

This is the third in a series of posts that explains how to use the Discord service if you are also a VoiceOver user for iOS. If you are unsure of what Discord is, whether or not you wish to use the service, or both, please see the dedicated page for this guide for more information.

 

What is Covered in This Post?

This post explains servers and channels. We then take a look at how to join servers and adjust individual server settings. Finally, we look at how to move between channels.

Not Covered in This Post

This post does not cover the administration of servers. While my experience with this process is that it is doable with a screen reader for the most part, the first few posts in this guide are designed to get new users able to participate as quickly as possible.

 

What is a Server?

In the world of Discord, a server is an extremely customizeable group chat (though separate from a private group chat). It can have a specific common interest, or it can just be one someone hosts just for experimentation and research. Each server can host any number of different subtopics, and these are called channels, detailed later in this post.

 

How Do I Find a Server?

There are a couple of ways to do this. The most direct way is to use an invite link, which you can get from a friend or admin of a server, or from a website of someone or something that also has a Discord presence. 

Once you click an invite link, you’ll be prompted to accept the invitation and join. It presents as a button, so navigate to it and activate it. When you first join a server, it’s important to make sure you read the rules so you don’t upset anyone or get kicked out.

You can also join servers by searching for them on the Internet. There are a few websites dedicated to this, but the simplest way I’ve experienced is to just Google the topic that interests you and include “Discord” as apart of the search. 

Customizing Server Settings

To customize server settings, expand the drawer in the top left corner of the screen. Next, navigate passed the list of your servers and “Add server Button” until you hear the name of the current server, followed by the word “server” and “Button” (e.g., “The Starship Changeling (Server) Button”). Double-tap that button, and you will be presented with the server settings. You can exit this screen at any time by performing a two-finger scrub.

Server Boost

You can help promote a server you run or particularly enjoy. This is not a free service, and you will be asked for payment information if you choose to set it up.

Invite

If the admins allow it, you can invite people to join the server. You can invite people you’ve been in private conversations with, or copy a generated invite link and send it to a friend.

Notifications

This is where you can adjust which notifications you receive. You’ll want to do this based on how active the server is. You can choose from nothing, mentions, or all. Later, we’ll talk about how to adjust notifications for specific channels.

Mark as Read

You can mark an entire server as read if you have too many messages to actually read.

Change Nickname

You can have a nickname specific to each server. I do this so that my name in certain servers matches my name on Steam and Patreon to make sure I’m added to the correct channels.

Hide Muted Channels

If you have muted a channel, you can take it out of the list for yourself. More on muting channels shortly.

Allow Direct messages

You can choose whether or not to let server members message you.

Leave Server

Use this to make a quick exit if you discover you’ve entered a server that’s not a good fit for you.

Moving Between Servers

To move between servers, expand the drawer in the top left corner of the main screen. Find the button that matches the server you wish to move to and double-tap it. Find and double-tap the chat tab in the bottom left corner of the screen to collapse the drawer and view the chat for that server. Now that we have a server or two under our belt, let’s talk about channels.

 

What is a Channel?

A channel is a subcategory in a server. They can be used to distinguish between different topics of conversation, separate NSFW or adult content from the general chat, etc. Admins can allow access to channels to only certain server members, too. A channel can be a text chat, or voice chat, and these can be further categorized depending on the preferences of the admins.

Changing Channels

The most direct way to change channels is to expand the drawer in the top left corner of the main screen, navigate passed the list of your servers and the name of the current server, and then to the list of channels in the currently selected server. You will find categories and channels, both of which present as buttons. If the voiceOver focus is on a category, you will hear the name of the category, the word “category”, whether or not the category is expanded or collapsed, and the word “button” (e.g., “text channels. Category. Expanded. Button.”). Double-tapping a category will expand or collapse it.

If the voiceOver focus is on a channel, you will hear the name of the channel, whether or not it is a text or voice channel, and the word “Button” (e.g., “General. Text channel. Button.”). Double-tapping a channel will take you to that channel. This also collapses the drawer and displays the chat for that channel. If you’ve selected a voice channel, you’ll be presented with your audio settings and a button labeled “Join Voice”. Double-tapping this button will connect you to voice chat.

You can also use the Quick Switcher tab when the drawer is expanded to quickly move between servers in channels. The quick switcher is powered by a text search that works across all servers to which you belong, so you can easily find all the general chats in all your servers.

Customizing Notifications for Servers

You can set it so that you get specific notifications for channels in servers. I personally use this to mute channels that have primarily visual media, but you can also use it to keep a special eye on a topic of particular interest. To do this, open the server settings, then go to notification Settings. You will have the following options.

  • Mute: mutes all notifications for all channels in the server except for when you are mentioned.
  •  Server Notification Settings
    •  All messages.
    •  Only mentions.
    •  Nothing.
  •  Suppress @everyone and @here: Prevent you from being part of mass mentions like live streaming announcements.
  •  Suppress All Role Mentions: Server members can have roles, and these roles can be mentioned. Each member can opt out.
  •  Mobile push notifications: Choose if an individual server can send you push notifications.
  •  Notification overrides: You can customize notifications for a specific channel or category in the server.

 

Next Steps

The next major step is to learn how to participate in chat. In preparation for this, you may wish to review the official list of Discord keyboard shortcuts. These will be discussed as they come up, but this is also where you can find a quick reference.

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