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 16<title>Accessibility basics - Android Accessibility</title>
 17<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="style.css">
 21<div id="main_body">
 23<h1>Accessibility Basics</h1>
 25<div class="nav">
 26<div class="nav_back"><a href="enabling.html">Previous: Enabling
 28<div class="nav_up"><a href="index.html">Up: Android Accessibility</a></div>
 29<div class="nav_next"><a href="services.html">Next: Accessibility
 33<p>Once you've enabled accessibility, you can start using your phone. This
 34section describes some of the most common ways to interact with your device
 35and explains some vocabulary.</p>
 37<h2>Explore by touch</h2>
 39<p>On devices running Android 4.0 and higher, you can touch your device's
 40screen to hear the content under your finger spoken aloud. To activate an item,
 41for example to click a button, tap the screen once after exploring the item.
 42Or, to activate an item without exploring it first, simply double-tap the
 47<p>When you explore content that extends beyond the screen and can be scrolled,
 48your device will beep with a rising tone. To scroll content, place two fingers
 49on the screen and move your fingers up or down. You will head ascending or
 50descending tones as you scroll the list to let you know your relative position
 51within the list. If you pause after scrolling a list, you will head a spoken
 52description of your absolute position within the list.</p>
 54<h2>Directional Pad Navigation</h2>
 56<p>On devices with a hardware d-pad or arrow keys, you can typically navigate
 57without needing to use the touch screen. This navigation is available to all
 58users and does not require Accessibility to be enabled. Enabling Accessibility
 59will provide you with speech feedback to assist in navigation if you cannot see
 60the screen.</p>
 61<p>The type of directional controller varies by phone, but many phones have
 62one of the following: a clickable trackball, arrow keys, or a directional pad.
 63On phones without any hardware directional controls, you can download the
 64Eyes-Free Keyboard from Android Market to obtain an on-screen directional pad.
 65All of these controllers allow you to move in 4 directions, and click to
 66select items on the screen. Depending on what accessibility applications
 67you've enabled, you'll get speech, sound, and haptic (vibrational) feedback to
 68tell you what you've selected and what's happening on your phone.</p>
 69<p>There are three other keys that you will use frequently. Make sure you
 70know where these keys are on your phone:</p>
 74  <li>The <strong>Home</strong> button will take you to the home screen,
 75  where you can launch applications, check notifications, and much more. While
 76  Android comes with a home screen that's reasonably accessible, you can
 77  download alternative apps to use as your home screen including one designed
 78  specifically for eyes-free use. See <a href="customizing.html"> the section
 79  on customizing</a> for more details. In addition, if you press and hold
 80  (long press) the Home key, it will bring up a window with shortcuts to
 81  recently opened apps.</li>
 83  <li>The <strong>Back</strong> button will take you back to the previous
 84  screen, whether in the same app or a different app. As an example, if you're
 85  reading an email, pressing Back might take you to your Inbox, pressing Back
 86  again might take you to your list of mailboxes, and pressing Back yet again
 87  might take you to your home screen. You can use Back to close most dialogs or
 88  exit most screens that are causing you problems.</li>
 90  <li>The <strong>Menu</strong> button opens a menu specific to the current
 91  screen. Quite a bit of Android functionality which relies on the touch screen
 92  is also accessible through the menu button, so be sure to check for it.
 93  Menus are usually two-dimensional, so use the arrows to move up, down, left
 94  and right to find all of the options in the menu, and click one if you want.
 95  To close a menu, press Back.</li>
 98<h3>Long Press</h3>
 99<p>An important navigation mechanism in Android is called a <strong>long
100press</strong>. You perform a long press by pressing and holding down a
101physical key or touch (capacitive) button. If the long press is successful, the
102phone will provide some physical feedback such as vibration, and the long press
103action will take place.</p>
105<p>You can use a long press to open menus that are specific to the active
106item - think of it like opening a context menu on a PC. For example, performing a long press on a song in the Music player application in
107Android 2.2 will open a menu that allows you to add or remove it from a
108playlist. To perform a long press that opens a context menu, press and hold the
109select key or the trackball.</p>
111<p>As described earlier, you can long press the Home key to bring up
112a window with shortcuts to recent apps. Long pressing the Search key will
113activate Voice Search.</p>
115<h2>The home screen</h2>
118The Android settings are available as a menu option on the home screen
119(accessed by pressing the menu button while on the home screen). There
120are many configuration options available here. The following are accessibility
121related options:
124  <li><strong>Accessibility</strong> Used to enable and disable basic
125  accessibility settings. See <a href="enabling.html">the enabling
126  accessibility section</a> for details.
127  </li>
129  <li><strong>Language &amp; input</strong> (Android 4.0 and higher) or
130  <strong>Voice Input &amp; Output</strong> controls global
131  text-to-speech settings, including speech rate and language.</li>
133  <li><strong>Sound (or Sound &amp; display)</strong> Configure sounds and
134  vibrations (haptic feedback).</li>
139<p>Notifications are the primary way Android communicates messages to you
140without interrupting what you are currently doing. For example, a notification
141might tell you that you have new mail, a new text message, or a low battery
142warning. Any app can post a notification.</p>
144<p>When you have TalkBack or another accessibility service running, it will
145speak the notification when it first appears. Additionally, at any point in
146time you can open the notifications panel from the home screen menu option to
147review all of your notifications. Most notifications are clickable - when
148clicked they will take you directly to the message or application in question
149or tell you more information about the warning.</p>
151<h3>Application launcher</h3>
152<p>An important function of the home screen is provide access to installed
153applications. From the home screen, select "All Applications". This will open
154a screen with a list of all installed applications.</p>
155<p>Note that this view is two-dimensional, with four apps per row. In order
156to find all of your apps, you'll need to explore all four apps in each
157horizontal row. If you find this annoying, you can install an alternate home
158screen or app launcher, such as the Eyes-Free shell. See <a
159  href="customizing.html">the section on customizing</a> for more details.</p>
161<h2>The Lock Screen</h2>
163<p>When the phone goes to sleep, the screen is automatically locked. This means
164that the screen is off and the phone doesn't accept user input. Depending
165on your display settings, your screen might go to sleep after a specified
166timeout, and soon afterward the phone will lock. You can also force your
167screen to turn off and the phone to lock by pressing the power button.
169By default, once your screen is locked, accessibility services such as
170TalkBack will not give you feedback. This preference may be changed in your
171screen reader's settings page.</p>
173<p>Unlocking a phone requires two steps: you need to turn on the screen,
174and then unlock the phone. In order to turn on the screen, you need to push
175the power button (on some phone models such as the Droid, the enter key
176will also turn on the screen).</p>
178<p>Once the screen is on, unlocking the phone usually requires a touch screen
179gesture, but this may vary depending on manufacturer customizations. To perform
180the gesture on a standard Android phone:</p>
182  <li>Hold the screen in portrait mode.</li>
183  <li>Press your finger on the lower left side of the screen. If you have
184  KickBack enabled, you should get a quick vibration when you are in the correct
185  place.</li>
186  <li>Swipe your finger all the way across the screen to the right. With
187  KickBack, you will get another haptic vibration when the phone successfully
188  unlocks.</li>
190<p>To practice this gesture, press the power button to turn the screen off
191and lock the phone - TalkBack will say "Screen Off". Press the power button a
192second time to turn the screen back on. It will now be waiting for you to unlock it.</p>
193<p>You can also mute the ringer volume from the lock screen. To mute the ringer
194volume, perform the unlocking gesture but swipe from right to left instead of
195from left to right. Please note that muting the ringer volume will not mute
196speech feedback for accessibility.</p>
197<p>If you don't like having to swipe to unlock your phone, you can disable
198this behavior or choose a different unlocking strategy. See <a
199  href="customizing.html">the section on customizing</a> for more details.</p>
201<h2>Phone calls</h2>
203<p>To answer a phone call on most phones, you must swipe from left to right,
204just like the unlocking gesture described above. To decline a call, press
205the power button or perform the unlocking gesture in reverse from right to
207<p>A few phones, like the HTC G1 and LG Ally, have physical Call Start and
208Call End buttons which can be used instead of the gestures.</p>
209<p>To end a call on a phone without a physical button, you must push a
210button on the touch-screen. The button is accessible, so you can use your
211directional controls to find and click the button. However, it can be
212challenging to do this quickly.</p>
214  <li>If you have Android 2.2 or later, there is a checkbox in the
215  Accessibility settings that allows the power button to hang up calls.
216  <li>If you have Android 2.1 or earlier and do not want to use the directional
217  pad to locate the end call button, you can try to learn where to
218  press the touch-screen: the button is in the center, towards the bottom. Note
219  that when you hold the phone near your ear, the screen turns off. You may
220  need to wait a second after moving the phone away to be able to press the
221  button.
223<p>Everything else about phone calls is already accessible if your phone has
224a keyboard: dialing, editing contacts, etc.</p>
227<p>Now you know everything you need to start using your phone! The rest of
228this guide will go into much more detail about some common things you might want
229to do with your phone, and how to customize your experience to work just right
230for you.</p>
231<p>At this point, many of your questions may not be specific to
232accessibility. If you want to learn how to make phone calls, synchronize your
233contacts, play music, or more, you don't need a special guide for accessibility.
234You can just read the manual that came with your phone, or search the Internet
235for general advice on using Android. In many cases, your experience may not be
236very different than the experience for any other user.</p>
238<div class="nav">
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241<div class="nav_up"><a href="index.html">Up: Android Accessibility</a></div>
242<div class="nav_next"><a href="services.html">Next: Accessibility