It is called as Universal Access – which means everyone (whether they are physically challenged person or visually blurred person or a person with hearing impairment or a normal person ) has the access to something. Android is also not an exception for this. These are the built-in features of Android Operating system for Smartphones and Tablets powered by Google.
Android occupies most of the Smartphones and Tablet PC market and grows at rapid rate. This increases the number of users for Android Operating System. Even-though Smartphones and Tablets are advancement in technological development, differently-abled (Disabled) persons feel it difficult to navigate. So here are some of the tools that helps these people to use Android to their comfort.
1. Visually Impaired Users
Built-in Feature: TalkBack, KickBack and SoundBack are the three features that comes as a built-in feature in all Android devices. They are disabled by default, in order to enable it follow the steps:
Step 1: Select SETTINGS from the Main Menu available at Home screen and the select ACCESSIBILITY.
Step 2: Now Choose ENABLE ACCESSIBILITY and Select all the three features or any one of the feature that suits your needs.
Go to Android Market and search for Access 4. On the list choose your Carrier, if your carrier is not listed choose the one for all carriers. This will install variety of Apps in your mobile for Accessibility.
One great app is BIG LAUNCHER which makes the launcher icons fits the screen size into grid and makes it clear for visually impaired persons. But this is not an free app, you have to buy it.
2. Users with Hearing impairment
It is not an easy task of getting attention of an person with hearing impairment. Google Talk and few other Instant Messenger provide vibration option to grab their attention.
Sponsored App: Go to Android Market and search for Text to Speech Toy – this will read the text for you and this can also be used by Visually impaired users. The advantage of this app to users with hearing impairment is that sound and pitch can be raised so that they can hear it.
3. Users with partial Limbs:
For those without limbs or for those users who are suffering from Paralysis, here is a list of fantastic tools:
Gesture Search: This is the best tool for those with partial limbs to draw on the device for any letter and it detects it perfectly.
Vlingo Virtual Assistant: As the name says Vlingo is an virtual assistant which takes your voice as input and perform some jaw-dropping actions, the beauty of this application is that it can be integrated with any other application in your android device.
Voice Search: This application also takes voice as input and performs search operation in Google search engine.
There are lot more exciting apps especially available for Differently-abled persons. Some applications may be free, some may cost you some money. But there are lot of free apps that makes disabled people to feel their comfort on using the device. The above mentioned apps are also available at Android Market.
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Shiva @ Blogging Tips says
Hi Chakey, really nice and useful post for the hearing impaired but I really did not get/ understand one thing, I am wondering how a Text to Speech Application can help a hearing impaired person, wouldnot a Speech To Text App be more useful since the hearing impaired person cannot hear properly but certainly can see? Or is there any other advantage of Text to Speech? Could you elaborate.
Chankey Pathak says
Text to Speech Toy is great for those situations in which a hearing-impaired user needs to communicate face-to-face with someone who can’t read sign language and either can’t read or is otherwise difficult to reach through text. Since he can’t listen what the next person is saying to him so he will just use this text to speech feature to tell the next person that he can’t listen or in likewise situations.
There is a solution for some of them. The app Virginia, facilitates communication with those who have difficulty using language as a communication channel. The app is useful in case of congenital disabilities, acquired and/or temporary, allowing through the speech of the device on which it is installed, a fast voice prompt, communicating effectively problems, needs and requests.