Android Access for People with Low Vision by Joanne Hutchins and Glenda Such  

 

 

 

I did some major elaborating on what you told me. I have a bunch of videos about apps and the Accessibility Settings on Androids. I have my page on Androids for People with A Visual Impairment ready to post and want to put this on there too.

 

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Android Access for People with Low Vision by Joanne Hutchins and Glenda Such 

 

 

The first step in customizing an Android Smart Cell Phone is to use the built-in accessibility features on that phone.

 

When you enter that screen, there will be many options from which to select your own desired features. One of the features will make the print a little more visible to you or the user.

 

The feature to enlarge or customize the print style is one of the most used accessibility features. Some give the choices as large, larger, and largest. Others give the print size in point numbers. As expected, if in point size numbers, the higher the number the larger the print.

 

On several Android models, users can select an option to make the font bold, and sometimes change the font style to one which might feel easier to see.

 

On some Android phones, the option to reverse or invert polarity of the screen is one of the features in the accessibility menu. The term reverse or invert polarity is referring to turning the light screen with black or dark print to a dark screen with light or white print. The warning in doing this, is the way it works on some of the graphics on the Internet and in certain apps. The graphics may not convert to colors you would think because of the programming of the graphics. For example, sometimes graphics with blue in them will be converted to yellow and thus less desirable for some users.

 

In the same accessibility screen, there may be the option to turn on text to speech. This is the way the phone can provide speech output for certain tasks and apps on the Android phone. While this may not be as powerful as a full screen reading program, it will aid in hearing some of the print in text messages, emails and such.

 

Be aware, there is an option in the Accessibility screen to have a hot key or action to instantly toggle print to a very large size. When turned on, it can toggle from large and then back to the original size. The command for most if not all Androids is to tap three times with three fingers. That turns the print into very large zoomed print. To turn it back to its original size, toggle it back off again. To do that, tap three fingers three times on the screen and the print will be back to what it was before.  This feature is not turned on in the Accessibility Settings when you get the Android Smart Phone. You have to turn it on in the Accessibility Settings to use the toggle command.

 

Beyond the Accessibility Features that come built in on the Android Cell Phones, there are apps to assist the Visually Impaired or Blind User.

 

One such app is called “Reading Glasses” which is a magnification app. It will turn the Android Phone into a hand held illuminated magnifier. Another way to think of this is as an electronic Magnification device similar to the Hand Held CCTV.

 

Another magnification app which is very similar is the “Super Magnifier.” Like Reading Glasses, it turns the Android Phone into a hand held electronic magnification n device. To use this as well as Reading Glasses, the user selects the magnification level, holds it above something which the user wants to read or see in a larger way. The apps both will focus on the image/s and the print will be displayed on the Android’s screen.

 

For the person who needs to have longer text read out loud because they become fatigued or just can’t read the size print created, there is an app that will scan text and convert it to speech output. The name of this app is the I vision scanner. In addition to scanning print and converting it to speech output, this app will scan bar codes and read the information contained in that code by speech output.

 

To Search the Internet using a low vision friendly browser, there is Ok Google. This app makes the task of searching less straining and is easy to use.

 

For those who want to see a clock from across the room or at least several feet’s away, there is an app called Giant Clock. When that app is opened, the full screen of the Android is filled with the clock.

 

For those who are having difficulties seeing the numbers on their Android Phones to Enter a number they want to call, there is an app for just that reason. It is called Big Dialer. Much like the Giant Clock, the Big Dialer will fill the screen with the numbers on a standard phone keypad.

 

For those who want to see the names of the Icons on their phones and do not need or want the graphics, there is an app to convert the Icons to a text list of all the apps on that Android Phone. This app is called Big Launcher. Beyond listing the apps as text, it also puts the text in alphabetical order for the user’s convenience.

 

If the user or you would like a little more speech output than the text to speech which is built into that phone, try the app called Big Font. While it obviously will give you the option to have bigger print on your screen, it also is good for reading emails which as we know can be long to read. This app does take some effort to get the speech to your liking, though.

 

To be able to dictate notes and have them read back to you immediately or at a later date, the app Note Player is worth getting. It can also be used to record a digital recording of things you might not have time to key in. This is great for taking down someone’s email address or phone number so you can listen to it later and enter the information when more convenient.

 

For distance magnification, much like the iPhone the apps best for this are actually camera and photography based. The lens of the Android or any smart cell phone to date, cannot move their lens and thus focusing of images is limited. But, despite this one restricting feature of the phones, one app to consider is Camera Zoom. When using this app, the enlarged image is displayed on the screen. Like all distance magnification devices, be aware when the image is magnified so are the movements of the camera. For example, if the magnification is increased by 50 percent then the movement of the camera will seem 50 presents faster a can cause one to feel a little ill.

 

One app to try for distance magnification, like to see a street sign, is Camera Zoom Like all the apps listed so far, it can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.

 

 

Now, for a couple of apps for general tasks, there is one for simple word processing and reading electronic Text.  The app is called Google Keep. This app is also available to iPhone users.

 

To keep your schedule straight and you on time, the app Jorte Calendar is a good accessible electronic calendar for Androids.

 

Here is good news for many Android Users, Alexa is now on Google Play Store. This is worth checking out to see if you would have the Android version of Siri.