Sundar Pichai has very accurately quoted
“Android was intended to be very customizable and we welcome innovations.”
The accuracy of Android accessibility features cannot be understated. The importance is immense and the value grows each day. In this day and age of mobile technology, accessibility is a pretty amazing thing. Consider this: these powerful little devices we carry around in our pockets have the potential to open up all sorts of futuristic possibilities for people with disabilities such as impaired hearing or limited vision. In the grand scheme of things, such possibilities are far more transformative than any random phone feature we use to organize our lives or save a few seconds here and there.
But how exactly does “accessibility” enter the picture and what does it emphasize?
Some of Android’s most intriguing accessibility options are positioned to both help those who truly need them and to be useful beyond their primary functions in a way that can benefit anyone. They are useful for accessibility, but they can also be useful for far more mundane productivity gains. It also may interest you to know that these accessibility features vary in three essential categories:
- Visual accessibility
- Audio accessibility features
- Physical and motor accessibility feature
Want to know what are those? Read on…
TalkBack/TalkBack Braille Keyboard
TalkBack is essentially a screen reader that allows you to use your device without having to look at it. It is useful for describing the images and text displayed on a device. Go to Settings, Accessibility, and then TalkBack to enable it.
Users of the TalkBack Braille Keyboard can enter 6-dot braille by using six fingers on their screen. To do so, go to the TalkBack menu. Tap with three fingers on devices that support multi-finger gestures, or swipe down then right in a single motion. Swipe down then right in one motion on devices that don’t support multi-finger gestures. Navigate to TalkBack Settings, Braille Keyboard and Set up Braille Keyboard. Select Settings in the text box, and then enable TalkBack Braille Keyboard. To bring up the braille keyboard, double-tap a text field and select Switch Input Method, followed by TalkBack Braille Keyboard.
Magnification/Display & Font Size
Magnification is a feature that allows you to temporarily magnify a portion of your screen. To do so, launch the Settings app and navigate to Accessibility, then Magnification. Activate the Magnification shortcut. You can adjust the zoom by tapping anywhere on the screen and pinching with two fingers.
Changing the font & display size is useful not only for people with low vision but also for users who want to make their device more accessible. To change the font size, open the Settings app and select Accessibility, then Font size. You can adjust the font size using the slider from here. To change the display size, go to the Accessibility tab, tap Display size, and then use the slider to select your preferred size.
Color & contrast
The first aspect of this category- Color & Contrast is to assist with display features is color correction, which is aimed at assisting those who may be colorblind. To change the color accuracy on your Android device, open the Settings app and select Use Color Correction. There are three correction modes available from here: deuteranomaly (red-green), protanomaly (red-green), and tritanomaly (blue-yellow).
The following feature of this category is high contrast text. This adjusts the text’s contrast to make it easier to read. Open the Settings app, navigate to Accessibility and then enable High contrast text.
The dark theme and color inversion are the final contrast and color options. Dark themes have grown in popularity as an alternative to the typical white landing pages found on the majority of websites. They are considered easier on the eyes and easier to look at for longer periods of time. To enable this, go to Settings, Accessibility, and then turn on Dark Theme under Display. To enable color inversion, go to Settings, Accessibility, and then under Display, tap Color Inversion and toggle it on.
Audio Accessibility Feature
To enable Captions on your Android device, launch the Settings app, select Accessibility, and then Caption preferences. Tap Show captions from here. The captions feature is extremely useful for people who have hearing problems or who want to watch a video with low or no volume.
Live Captioning is a feature that allows your device to automatically caption speech. To enable it, simply press the volume button and select Live Caption from the volume controls. This feature is only available in English and is only available on a limited number of Android devices.
To connect your hearing aids to your Android device, launch the Settings app and select Connected devices, then Pair a new device. Select a hearing aid from the list of available options.
The Sound Amplifier app filters and amplifies sounds in your environment using Bluetooth or wired headphones. To use the Sound Amplifier, go to Google Play and download Sound Amplifier, then connect headphones to your device.
Physical and Motor Accessibility Feature
The Voice Access feature enables Android users to control their phones without using their hands. To begin, Android 5.0 or later, as well as the Google app, is required. Google Play has a Voice Access app that you can download. After that, go to Settings, Accessibility, and Voice Access. Select Use Voice Access. After that, the feature can be accessed by saying “Hey Google, Voice Access,” opening the notification shade and touching to start, or tapping the Voice Access app on the Home screen. You can start using commands like “Open Gmail” to use your phone hands-free.
Users can use switch access to replace the touchscreen with an external controller. This may be necessary if the touchscreen has stopped working or if the device requires greater accessibility. An external switch, which sends a keystroke signal to your Android device, as well as a keyboard, or the built-in buttons on the Android device, such as the volume buttons, are examples of switches.
Lookout recognizes objects and text using the camera and sensors on your Android device and relays that information to people with low vision. Download Lookout from Google Play if your Android device is version 6.0 or higher, and then follow the prompts once the app is installed.
Technology has always been about making lives simpler. And with added features and options, it gets better and even more convenient for the ones who genuinely require it. Even in terms of easing our routine and saving some time, accessibility features know what to do best where.
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