Yesterday, I told you how you can enlarge text on an Android phone or tablet, but there are a lot more great features that Android offers to assist the visually impaired and blind.
Let’s check them out. First, you’ll need to open up settings (or have someone do it with you, if your visual impairment makes it difficult). Then choose Accessibility followed by Vision.
The first option under vision is Switch access. Switch access allows you to interact with your device using an external switch, Bluetooth keyboard, or by assigning buttons like volume up or Volume down to certain tasks. It can also scan items on the screen, letting you know what’s available verbally until you press a button or switch to access it.
Beneath that is TalkBack. With Talkback enabled your device will provide spoken feedback to let you know what’s selected or what action has been taken on the screen.
When you turn it on, Android provides a helpful tutorial about how it works. It even offers lessons to help you comfortable using the feature.
Once TalkBack is enabled, you can also turn on the ability to keep the screen dark, adjust the keyboard input, and choose to have the keyboard read characters aloud when passwords are entered. Underneath that, you have the ability to enlarge the font for Android menus.
Turn on Magnification gestures and you can zoom in by triple-tapping the screen. Drag your finger around to see different parts of the zoomed in image. This will work in other apps, but the effect is temporary. You’ll need to zoom in again next time you open the app.
Turn on Notification alerts to receive audio alerts that you still have unread notifications.
Choosing Negative colors will reverse light to dark. Color adjustment lets you change the way the screen displays color.
Once you select Color adjustment, an image will be displayed that you can adjust until the colors are easy for you to see.
If more than one person uses the phone, you can turn on the Accessibility shortcut. This allows you to turn the accessibility options on by holding down the power button.
Select the right features, and get in a little practice and a smartphone can become much easier for the visually impaired to use.