Smartphones running on Android operating system come with a host of accessibility features. These are mainly aimed to help people with visual, hearing and speech impairments to better access their smartphones and interact with their device. However, these features can also be helpful for anyone in mundane situations like when a user is driving or is occupied with work and can not attend to their phone.
These include a screen reader, interaction tools like voice access, switch access, action blocks and more.
Android smartphones offer a screen reader
TalkBack is Android’s phone screen reader. With the TalkBack feature, users can interact with their device using touch and spoken feedback. It describes your actions and tells you about alerts and notifications.
There is a Select to Speak feature as well which allows you to schedule the spoken feedback only at certain items. To use this feature, select items on the screen to hear them read or described aloud, or point the camera at something in the real world.
Lookout Voice access, Switch Access and other interactive controls
Android accessibility tools also offer interaction controls to its users. These include Voice access, Switch Access, Actions Blocks and more. The Lookout feature is aimed to assist people who are blind or have low vision. It uses computer vision to inform a user about their surroundings. While Voice Access allows one to control their device with spoken commands. It enables one to use their voice to open apps, navigate, and edit text hands-free.
Switch Access feature lets one interact with his/her Android device using one or more switches instead of the touchscreen. One can either use a switch or keyboard to control the phone.
Action Blocks tool makes routine actions easier with customizable buttons on the Android home screen. Time to take action aka the Accessibility timeout allows one to choose how long to show messages that ask you to take action, but are visible only temporarily.
Audio & on-screen text
Android smartphone users can choose caption preferences like language, text, and style for their device. Live Caption automatically captions speech on the phone. Users can also access the Live Transcribe to capture speech and sound and see them as text on their screen. While the Sound Notifications help one know what’s happening in their home, like when a smoke alarm beeps or a doorbell rings.
Another feature offered by Google with the Android OS is Real-time text (RTT). It allows one to use text to communicate during a phone call.