What is This?

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


What is covered in This Post?

This post details how to participate in both text and voice chat in Discord for iOS. We then have a final thoughts section, since this is where many of you will have the information you need to use Discord.


Before We Begin: A Word About Keyboard shortcuts

At this time, there do not appear to be keyboard shortcuts for the iOS platform. There does seem to be quite the demand for it, however, so stay tuned.


Text Chatting

This is the primary way to use Discord. If you’ve been using VoiceOver on your iOS device for any length of time, many of the methods you use to navigate text chat will be similar to other messaging apps you’ve used. If this is your first time, you’ll be happy to know that the skills you learn here can be used in other apps. Let’s begin.

The chat Window

The first thing to do is to enter a server, and then pick a text channel within that server. If you’ve joined a public server, you will most likely start out in a welcome channel, and you will probably be able to find the server rules and guidelines for how to navigate and use the channels in the server. As a general rule, regular members do not have permission to actually send messages in these types of channels.

Regardless of whether or not you can send messages, you can read the messages of a channel if you have access. If you know you’ve selected a channel that lets you send messages and can’t find the message box, or if you are unable to find the messages sent by other users, make sure you’ve activated the chat tab in the bottom left corner of the expanded drawer screen.

A Word About NSFW Channels

If you navigate to a channel that is called NSFW, or it has a different name but the admin has designated NSFW, you will first be asked to confirm that you are of age and are willing to view NSFW content. The continue button is recognized as a button by screen readers, so find and activate that, and you’re ready to go.

Reading Messages

Once you’ve selected a text channel, you can swipe with one finger to move through the messages. Each message has the name of the user that VoiceOver recognizes as a button, and this is followed by the message. If you double-tap the user button, you will be presented with their server roles, as well as the option to direct message them if they allow it. You can also react to messages.

Adding Reactions

You can use emojis to add reactions to messages you read. To do this, find the message you want to react to, and double-tap and hold. You will presented with a list of possible reactions, as well as actions you can take on the message like quote or copy the text of the message. Double-tap to choose your action or reaction.

Revealing Hidden Content

To reveal hidden content, find the button that says, “spoiler”, and activate it. You can also make it so that no content is hidden in the “Text and Emojis” section of your user settings.

Viewing Files

To access an uploaded file, double-tap the button or link with the file name. You will either open or be prompted to save the file depending on the file type.

Sending Messages

To send messages, tap the bottom center of the screen with one finger to bring focus to the message box. Voiceover will say “message”, followed by the word “Hashtag” and the name of the channel (e.g., “message hashtag General”). Double-tap this, and you will be presented with the software keyboard. Type your message, then find and activate the send button. If you’re using an external keyboard, you can press the enter key to send a message. Here are some other things you can do with messages.

  • Find and double-tap the emoji button to open the emoji picker. You can also use the iOS emoji keyboard to send standard emoji.
  •  Find and double-tap the upload media file button to upload a file.
  •  Double-tap and hold a message you sent to have the option to erase and edit the message. Press escape to cancel.
  •  Insert the at sign followed by a person’s name to mention that user. You can also type part of the name, then drag one finger above the message box to find suggestions. Double-tap the suggestion to select it.


Voice Chatting

While there are fewer steps to actually using voice chat, you should go into your audio video settings and adjust the following:

  • Make sure Discord has access to the camera and microphone.
  •  Adjust your input volume and output volume.
  •  Disable autogain control.
  •  Run a test of your audio.

Connecting to a Voice Channel and Using video

To connect to a voice channel, select it from the list of server channels. Next, find and activate the “join Voice” button at the bottom of the screen. You will hear a tone letting you know you’ve connected, and everyone can hear you. It’s probably a good idea to do a practice run so you can find the mute and deafen buttons. To video chat, find the camera button after you’ve joined voice and double-tap it.

To disconnect from a voice channel, find the disconnect button. You’ll want to do this, since you can only be connected to one voice channel at a time.


Final Thoughts

If you’ve made it this far, you now have the essential information to actively participate in Discord servers. The easiest way to master the service is to just use it. 

Next Step

The logical next step is to try your hand at running your own Discord server. I have no immediate plans to cover this, but remain open to the possibility. In the meantime, the Internet has plenty of articles from the official Discord help and tech bloggers on the subject. Remember that Discord is made to bring all kinds of people with different skill sets together, so nobody is under any obligation to administer or moderate a server to be an effective Discord user. So long as you’re following server rules and not going out of your way to be less than a decent person, you’re Discording right.

What is This?

This is the second in a series of posts that explains how to use Discord if you use Voiceover on your iOS device. If you’re unsure of what Discord is or if you want to use it, please go read the introduction post. You can also check out this dedicated guide page for a list of all posts in the series.

What is Covered in This Post?

This post describes the layout of the Discord user interface for the iOS platform. This post also gives a walkthrough of the user settings, and makes suggestions of changes you can make to give yourself a smoother experience.


The Discord User Interface (UI)



The Discord iOS app has tried to incorporate as many features as can be found on the Discord desktop program. The result is that there is too much content for a single screen, so successful navigation of the UI is dependent on use of the “Toggle Drawer” button located in the top left of the Discord main screen. When this button is activated with the Voiceover double-tap, you are presented with the following items at the top of the screen. You can navigate through these by dragging your finger, or by swiping right or left with one finger.

  • “Direct Messages Button”: Double-tapping this will bring up a list of conversations between you and at least one other person.
  •  A list of the servers to which you currently belong. Voiceover recognizes these as buttons, and double-tapping one of these will take you to that server.
  •  “Add Server Button”: Double-tapping this will allow you to search for and join servers, discussed in the next post.

The middle of the screen is populated by an “Invite Button”, which will allow you to invite other users to the server you are currently in, as well as channel categories and channels in that server. Servers and channels will be discussed in the next post. For now, they’re just part of the interface.

At the bottom of the screen are the following five tabs. You can activate these by double-tapping them.

  • “Chat Tab”: This brings up the conversation for the currently selected text channel.
  •  “Friends tab”: Brings up your friends list and allows you to add friends by their Discord handle.
  •  Quick Switcher Tab”; Allows you to quickly switch between servers and channels by searching for them.
  • Mentions Tab: if you’ve been mentioned in a server, you can find it here instead of going through each server individually.
  •  “Settings Tab”: Allows you to adjust user and app settings.

You can collapse the drawer by scrubbing with two fingers at any time.

The Rest of the Main Screen

If you open the Discord app and do not expand the drawer, you will find a ‘Search Button”, which will let you search for messages in the current server, and a “Member List Button”, which displays a list of the members in the current server. The rest of the screen is dedicated to a list of messages in the current channel, as well as the chat box.

User Settings

To access the user settings, expand the drawer in the top left of the screen. Next, find and double-tap the “Settings tab” in the bottom right corner. You will be presented with the following options and elements, which you can swipe through and double-tap on to change each preference to your liking. After making the desired changes, find and double-tap the “Back Button” in the top left corner to return to the main settings screen.

  • An unlabeled button that you can double-tap to set or change your user avatar.
  •  Heading with your Discord handle. For example, Changeling#5469 (spoken as “Changeling number 5469 Heading”).
  •  A set status button to change your Discord presence. (e.g., “Set Status Online Button”.)
  •  Account: Contains options to customize your profile, manage your contact info and password, and manage two-factor authentication.
  •  Privacy & Safety: Contains options for who can find and contact you, data control, etc.
  •  Connections: Contains options for managing apps with access to your Discord account, as well as social media connections.
  •  Scan QR Code: lets you log into Discord on a second device by scanning the QR code instead of entering you user credentials.
  •  Nitro Settings; A block of text that indicates the following options have to deal with discord nitro.
    • . Get nitro: Where you can sign up for Discord Nitro, the paid version of discor.
    •  Server boost: You can pay money to boost (sponsor) a server to give it and its owners special perks.
    •  Nitro Gifting: you can give Nitro to someone else.
  •  App Settings: A block of text that indicates the next settings have to do specifically with the iOS app.
    •  Voice/Voice Activity: Where you can adjust your preferences for voice chat. Activating this may cause VoiceOver to come through the earpiece of your device..
    •  Appearance: Where you can set the theme of Discord. Mine is spoken as “Appearance dark Button”.
    •  Language: Where you can set the language for Discord. Mine is spoken as “Language english U.S.”.
    •  Text & Images: Settings for adjusting how text and images are handled, and this is where you can adjust spoiler display settings.
    •  Web Browser; Where you can choose which browser opens links you click in Discord.
    •  Notifications: Where you can adjust your app notifications, but not server/channel specific notifications.
    •  Support: Where you can get help with the app.
    •  Upload debug logs: Where you can submit crash reports.
    • Acknowledgements: Takes you to a web page that gives credit to projects and people that power discord.
    •  Change Log: View the list of recent changes.
  •  Restore Nitro Subscription: Used to restore a purchase.
  •  Logout: Signs you out.


Suggested Changes

Here are some suggestions of settings you can change to make your user experience better. The out-of-box experience is quite nice, though.

Under Account

You may wish to consider setting a profile photo. While I recognize that having an avatar may not be a priority for most of my readers, the fact is having a unique avatar is how server admins who may be visually oriented to the world distinguish you from a spammer. To set your avatar:

  • Expand the drawer in the top left corner of the main screen.
  •  Activate the settings tab in the bottom right corner of the resulting screen.
  •  Activate the unlabeled button in the top left corner of the settings screen.
  •  Choose your photo. If this is your first time, you may need to allow access to photos.
  •  Confirm your selection.

Under Notifications

It is not currently possible to have incoming messages read to you by a cool robot on the mobile platform. CONGRATULATIONS! You don’t need to worry about it.


Next Steps

Now that you have an understanding of the Discord UI and an idea of how navigation is going to work, you’re ready to join a server. The next post will explain how to join servers, as well as customize your settings for a specific server. In the meantime, make sure you have discord set the way you think you’ll like it.

What is This?

This is the first in a series of posts that explains how to use Discord if you also use VoiceOver to use your iOS device. It is not intended to replace the documentation for either Discord or VoiceOver, but rather to explain how you can use the two softwares together to have an enjoyable user experience.

What is Covered in This Guide?

This guide will explain what Discord is, its main features, how to navigate servers and channels, how to participate in chat, and how to adjust settings. Due to the time and effort required to keep the various versions of this guide current, I have no plans to take things beyond the basic user experience.

What is the Intended Audience?

This guide is intended for people who want to use Discord and need VoiceOver to effectively use their iOS device. Beyond that, it is intended for people who like user directions that contain more detail than just lists of gestures. While this is a set of directions, it is styled to read like a conversation between you and me. When I published Changeling’s Guide to Mastodon for Screen Readers, the style of the guide seemed to be its best received feature.

What is Covered in the Rest of This Post?

The rest of this post answers the question of what Discord is, and ends with a walkthrough for creating an account. The final section will offer suggestions of things you can do to prepare for the next post in the series.


What is Discord

According to its website, Discord is a free, secure solution for people who want to chat and hang out. These chats are held in groups called servers, and these servers can be host to different categories called channels to help organize the conversation. The advantage here is that unlike a Skype or WhatsApp group where every message in the conversation gets sent to everyone in the group, a user can configure Discord so that they only receive notifications from certain channels, or on certain conversation topics, from a server. It is intended to keep people from feeling like they are in a sensory overload version of hell caused by too many notifications. Users can also live stream to servers, or voice chat in designated channels on servers. Like any service, the first step to using it is to create an account.


Creating an Account

Before You Begin

The first thing you’ll want to do is download the appropriate version of the Discord software for your operating system. This guide will focus primarily on the iOS version, but you can also download it for Mac, as well as Windows and Android. If you’re not using any of these, or if you want to test drive the service before installing software, you can use Discord from your preferred web browser.

To install Discord, go to discordapp.com on the device on which you will be using the service, and select the download link. The site will detect the appropriate version of your software based on your browser. Once you’ve done that perform the normal steps for installing software on your machine, and you’ll be ready to create an account. You can also search for Discord on the iOS Appstore.

If you want to run Discord from a browser, you’ll want to create an account first, and then select the “Open Discord in Your Browser” button.

To Create an Account

Go to discordapp.com/register, and provide your e-mail , your preferred user name, and a password then click continue. You’ll then be prompted to set up a server, but you can click “Skip” for now. The final step is verifying your email address, which involves clicking a link in an email sent by the Discord service.

A Quick Word About Usernames

When you sign up for a service, the process usually goes something like type your name into the box, see your name is being used by someone else, then choose a username that has your name with a long string of numbers after it. With Discord, each user is designed a tag, or the hashtag (#) followed by a four (4) digit code that accompanies your user name, so you can always have your desired username in chats. For example, my Discord info is Changeling#5469.


Next Steps

This post explained what Discord is and guided you through the registration process. If you haven’t yet done so, you’ll want to install the Discord program. You might also consider making a list of your interests to help you find appropriate servers for you to join. The next post will discuss how to adjust user settings, as well as finding and joining servers.

What is This?


This is the third in a series of posts that describes how to use Mastodon if you are a screen reader user. It is an alternative form of documentation, but is not intended to replace the originaldocumentation for Mastodon or your screen reader. If you have just found this post, I strongly suggest you go back and read the first two chapters, links to which are in the next section.


The Road So Far…


  • Chapter One gave an introduction to the series, explained my reasons for writing it, and suggested things a person might need before joining an instance.
  • Chapter Two took a closer look at what Mastodon actually is, gave details about how to join instances, and briefly described the signup process.


If you haven’t done these things, now is your chance to go back and read these chapters. Otherwise, move on to the next section.


What is in This Chapter?


This chapter walks you through the process of completing your profile, as well as sending your first post, know as a Toot.


Before We Begin…


Before we begin, I want to talk about keyboard shortcuts. Rather than list all of the keyboard shortcuts for Mastodon, I ‘ve decided to bring them up when they occur in context. For example, when we are talking about sending a new post, those keyboard shortcuts will be listed in the directions. You can find a complete, out of context list here, or under the “Getting Started” section of your home page for your instance.


Similarly, I’m not going to list key commands for every screen reader. This guide assumes that you are mostly familiar with your own screen reader, or that you at least know how to access the documentation. The exception to this is when I need to make an example, or point out a situation where I know a specific screen reader behaves differently than expected.


Full Disclosure


I have not personally tested every screen reader. I know people with other screen readers are quite successful at using this platform, but I’m not aware of every single quirk there is. If you find that something doesn’t behave as described, feel free to leave it in the comments section, or use the contact form on the Contact page to get in touch. I’m even willing to work with you to try and work through any issues you may experience, as I know this is a lot of information.


For the record, I use Chrome with Chromevox on ChromeOS. Your experience may vary depending on browser, screen reader, and instance.


If you plan to primarily use a mobile device, chapter Six (to be published) will talk more about apps for this platform. You will need to consult the app’s documentation to bridge the gap.


Terms in This Chapter (in order of discussion)


  • Profile
  • Header
  • Avatar
  • Animated Avatar
  • bio
  • metadata
  • bot account
  • profile directory
  • verified content
  • Toot


Completing Your Profile


Now that you’ve signed up for an instance, it’s time to create your profile. This is what other users will see when they come to your page on the instance. It does not offer as many options as a standard Facebook profile, but it’s also got more customization and flexibility than other microblogging services typically offer.


To edit your profile, do the following:

  1. Log in to your instance.
  2.  If your screen reader puts your focus on the “Compose new Toot” box, move away from it, and then go to the top of the page.
  3.  Find the link that says “Edit profile”, and click it.
  4.  Use standard navigation to move through and fill out the web form. If you move through the page using the arrows rather than the tab key, you’ll find helpful hints for each piece of content you can include. They will also be described here.
  5.  When finished, click the button that says “Save Changes”.


Profile Elements


All of your profile elements are optional. Some of these you’ve most likely seen before, and some of these will be new. I’ll go through them now.


Display Name


This is where you put your name, or what you like to be called. You can include emojis. It’s worth noting that, unlike Facebook, Mastodon does not require you to use your real name.




Header is an image that goes at the top of your profile. you can use it to express an interest, hobby, belief system, etc. Note that whatever picture you use will be resized to 1500x500px, and is limited to a size of 2MB.




An avatar is a picture, separate from your header, that represents you, the user. The maximum file size is 2MB, and the picture will be resized to 400x400px.


Be Picky About Your Pictures


When choosing both your header and avatar, remember to make sure both pictures keep to the code of conduct for your instance. For more information about instances and codes of conduct, see Chapter Two


Animated Avatar


An animated avatar is an avatar that moves, like the pictures in Harry Potter. Mastodon lets you use these, but keep in mind that many users find animated avatars distracting, and these kinds of avatars can be dangerous for people who are prone to seizures. It seems best to avoid these to me, but that’s just my own experience.




Your bio is your biography. Not the kind that starts something like, “I was born on a dark and stormy night in the heat of summer,” but a snapshot of the things you’re interested in. If you put a hashtag (#) on these, you can add yourself to the profile directory, which lets others find you by interest. If you don’t want that, don’t hashtag, and uncheck the box to include your profile in the directory. You can also lock your account, so that people have to send you requests to follow you.


Bot Account


bot account is an automated account. If you’re reading this, you’re not one of them.




Metadata is the section of your profile whete you put things that didn’t make it into your bio, but you want people to know about. You can put up to four items here. Each item gets a label, and a place for the content. This is a good spot for links to other profiles.


Verified Content


verified content is a way to verify to users that you own the content your linking to in your metadata. It uses rel=”me” links to do this. Rel=”me” is far beyond the scope of this discussion, but you can check out my H-Card in the sidebar of this page to see them in action.




Here are some suggestions for completing your profile. The best thing to do is to try each thing on to see if it fits you. You can edit your profile as often as you like.


  • Be authentic. Mastodon is a big world. You’ll find someone who shares your interests.
  •  Remember that the bio is only a snapshot. It’s okay if not every detail is there. That’s what posting is for.
  •  Consider including your pronouns somewhere in your profile. Mastodon has become very popular for GLBTQIA folks, and the result ispeople may be uncomfortable making assumptions based on your name, physical appearance, etc. To make sure everyone has a comfortable experience, provide your pronouns so people will know how to refer to you. It can either go directly in your bio, or be part of the metadata.


Now that your profile is complete and you’ve saved the changes, find the link at the top of the page that says, “Mastodon”. Click it to return to the main page. You’re ready to send your first post.


Posting Your First Toot


Toot is what Mastodon calls users’ statuses. In this section, we’ll be posting a toot that says, “Hello World.” From the main page of your Mastodon instance, press Alt+N to compose a new toot. Alternatively, use your screen reader’s jump command for edit boxes to get to the compose box. Once you do, use the command that lets your screen reader know you want to enter text.


Elements of the Compose Box


You can use Tab and Shift+Tab to navigate the compose box. We’ll be discussing what each element does in more detail in the next chapter, but here’s what you can expect to find.


  1.  Multi-line edit box.
  2.  Insert Emoji dropdown.
  3.  Add Media button.
  4.  Add a Pole button.
  5.  Adjust Status Privacy dropdown.
  6.  “Text is not Hidden” dropdown. This is where you can set a content warning.
  7.  Toot button.


Compose Your “Hello World” Toot: Method One


  1.  Navigate to the compose box with Alt+N, or with the jump command for edit boxes specific to your screen reader.
  2.  Make sure your screen reader is set to enter text into the box. Common names for this are Forms mode (JAWS), Focus Mode (NVDA), etc.
  3.  Type “hello World.” into the box without the quotes.
  4.  Tab until you hear “Toot”, and activate that button.


Composing Your “Hello World” Toot: method Two


  1.  Navigate to the compose box with Alt+N, or with the jump command for edit boxes specific to your screen reader.
  2.  Make sure your screen reader is set to enter text into the box. Common names for this are Forms mode (JAWS), Focus Mode (NVDA), etc.
  3.  Type “hello World.” into the box without the quotes.
  4.  Press CTRL+Enter to send the Toot.


Coming Up


In Chapter Four, we’ll be taking a more detailed look at working with posts, as well as finding people to follow. In the meantime, this is a good time to sit back and relax. It’s been a long road so far.

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