Mobile Accessibility and other accessible Android apps
Mobile Accessibility is a screen-access application which allows people who are blind or have low vision to use an Android phone in an intuitive, easy and simple way.
Code Factory is proud to have been selected to showcase Mobile Accesiblity at the 2012 (https://developers.google.com/events/io/sandbox) and 2011 Google I/O developer sandbox (http://www.google.com/events/io/2011/sandbox.html#code-factory-s-l)
- Mobile Accessibility is two products in one
- What can you do inside the Mobile Accessibility's suite
- Accessible standalone apps : Web Browser and Music Player
- Main highlights
- Technical specifications
- Videos and audio demos
- How to get Code Factory's Android apps
- User testimonials
- Links of interest
- A suite of 12 accessible applications (Phone, Contacts, SMS, Alarm, Calendar, Email, Web, Where am I, Apps, Settings, Notes and Explorer) which have been especially designed for the blind and visually impaired. They all have a simplified interface whose textual information is spoken using Nuance Vocalizer voice synthesis or you can connect your Braille display for Braille output.
- A screen reader which allows you to get out of the suite and navigate the standard interface of your phone.
Inside the Mobile Accessibility suite of accessible applications you can do the following:
- Phone: Make calls, answer calls, hear the caller ID and manage your call log.
- Contacts: Manage your contacts, even those from social networks such as Facebook.
- SMS: Compose and read short messages. Manage conversations.
- Alarms: Set your alarms.
- Web: Full web browser experience, similar to what you can find on your PC. Jump by the control of your choice (links, paragraphs, headings, forms, etc.) to navigate faster to the information of your interest. Bookmark your favourite webpages.
- Calendar: Create, edit and delete a calendar entry. View all events per day, week or month.
- Email: Full access to your Gmail account.
- Where am I? : GPS application that gives you updates on your current location.
- Apps: Access the list of apps installed on your Android phone.
- Settings: Change ringtone. Configure feedback and notifications (vibration or audio). Configure keyboard echo, punctuation verbosity, speech pitch and rate, etc.
- Notes: For taking notes and reading text files.
- Explorer: Simple file explorer app.
You also have a quick access to date and time, phone status information such as battery level and network coverage, number of missed calls and unread messages, etc.
Those apps are standalone apps, which means that you don’t need to have Mobile Accessibility to use them. They have the ability to work independently from Mobile Accessibility. Both are powered by Nuance Vocalizer text-to-speech, which comes built-in. However any of the voices installed on your phone, included the voices which come pre-installed, can be used with Mobile Accessibility.
Accessible Web Browser
This standalone Accessible Web Browser is exactly the same application as the web browser that can be found in the Mobile Accessibilty's suite.
Main highlights are:
- Can be set as the global web browser so that, when you open links from other apps like Email, SMS, Twitter or News reader, the Web Browser will appear in the list of available web browsers which can complete the action, therefore allowing you to choose it or even set it as the default web browser.
- Provides touch access to all webpage content as well as the menu.
- Features touch screen gestures that you are already accustomed to on other mobile device platforms. The simple gestures like slides in arrow directions allow you to navigate, while double tap performs the enter operation.
- Features a virtual keyboard which allows you to enter text directly from the touchscreen. Therefore your choice of Android phone is not limited only to devices with a physical keyboard.
- Includes a speech recognition feature which makes entering text easier and faster.
- Long press on the menu key allows you to select on the fly the seven most used web element jump modes (by words, characters, headings, lists, tables, forms or links).
- In the navigation menu, you can access the complete list of 26 jump modes to search for specific web elements on the page (jump by characters, words, sentences, links, non-links, in-page links, tables and lists, lists, tables, same control, different control, graphical control, forms, editors, buttons, checkbox and radio button, combo box and list box, headings and frames, headings, frames, paragraphs and block quotes, paragraphs, block quotes, 2%, 5% and 10%).
- Provides comprehensive reading options for web page content and form text like “read from top” or “read from cursor”.
- “Search within page” feature.
- Option to navigate back and forth through the web history.
- “Read summary” and “read title” options.
- Reload page or stop download.
Accessible Music Player
The Music Player is designed with the objective of simplicity. Its user interface is very intuitive and you won’t need any training to get started and start listening to your music. The player automatically lists all the music files that are installed on the memory card of the phone and can sort them by Artists and Albums.
Note: This application is only available as a standalone app, it is not part of the Mobile Accessibility's suite.
- Touch navigation: You can use Mobile Accessibility not only with the trackball or the physical keyboard of your phone, but also with its touchscreen! Simply move your finger around the screen and the voice synthesis will read the text located under your finger. Or if you prefer, you can also swipe up/down/right/left and tap on the screen to navigate through the interface. And if you wish you can enable sound and vibration feedback.
- Easy to input text: In or outside the Mobile Accessibility suite you can use the touch qwerty keyboard as well as the speech recognition to write text quickly and easily. Imagine writing an SMS or an Email using your voice only... just great!
- Voice synthesis: Code Factory has been making mobile phones accessible to the blind and visually impaired for many years now, and we know that the voice matters... and a lot! For Mobile Accessibility Code Factory has partnered with Nuance and Vocalizer is therefore the voice of Mobile Accessibility. However note that all Code Factory Android apps also support the Android Text-To-Speech API. Therefore any of the voices installed on your phone, included the voices which come pre-installed, can be used.
- Mobile Accessibility features advanced Braille support: Logically assigned Braille commands provide uniform functionality across supported Braille devices.
- Supported phones: click here
- Supported languages: English, Spanish, German, Italian, French, Portuguese, Czech, Polish, Dutch and Russian.
To hear Mobile Accessibility in action listen to the following videos and audio demos:
- Introducing Mobile Accessibility for Android (3'09) - YouTube video
- Get an overview of Mobile Accessibility (9'40) - YouTube video
- Web browser experience by Carlos (9'57) - audio MP3 demo
- Speech recognition by JJ (8'29) - audio MP3 demo
- Mobile Accessibility as a screen reader by Ana (12'35) - audio MP3 demo
- Serotalk Tech Chat 93: Android and Mobile Accessibility (90') - audio MP3 chat and interview
You can get a Mobile Accessibility trial from the Android Market which will allow you to try the product for free for 30 days:
- Mobile Accessibility Demo UK (UK English)
- Mobile Accessibility Demo US (US English)
- Mobile Accessibility Demo ES (Spanish)
- Mobile Accessibility Demo DEU (German)
- Mobile Accessibility Demo IT (Italian)
- Mobile Accessibility Demo FR (French)
- Mobile Accessibility Demo PT (Portuguese)
- Mobile Accessibility Demo NL (Dutch)
- Mobile Accessibility Demo CS (Czech)
- Mobile Accessibility Demo PL (Polish)
- Mobile Accessibility Demo RU (Russian)
There are 3 ways to purchase Code Factory's Android apps:
- Market: You can purchase the applications directly from the Market application of your Android phone, or from the web page:
- Mobile Accessibility US (English)
- Mobile Accessibility UK (English)
- Mobile Accessibility ES (Spanish)
- Mobile Accessibility DEU (German)
- Mobile Accessibility IT (Italian)
- Mobile Accessibility FR (French)
- Mobile Accessibility PT (Portuguese)
- Mobile Accessibility NL (Dutch)
- Mobile Accessibility CS (Czech)
- Mobile Accessibility PL (Polish)
- Mobile Accessibility RU (Russian)
- Accessible Web Browser US
- Accessible Web Browser UK
- Accessible Music Player US
- Accessible Music Player UK
- Belgium: SENSOTEC NV (Premium Partner) - Tel: 05 039 49 49 - email@example.com
- Germany: BLINTEC - Tel: 00496426-863000 - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Netherlands: OPTELEC NETHERLAND - Tel: 088 678 35 55 - email@example.com
- New Zealand: VOICETECH LTD. - Tel: +64 9 4346418
- Poland: ALTIX - Tel: 676 90 95 - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Russia: ELITA GROUP (Premium Partner) - email@example.com
- Slovakia: TYFLOCOMP - Tel: 2 6042 1251 - firstname.lastname@example.org
- UK: COMPUTER ROOM SERVICES - Tel: 0143 874 2286 - Steve@comproom.co.uk
- UK: SINDHI SYSTEMS - Tel: 0844 2488110 / +44 (0) 1162 49 81 00 - email@example.com
- USA: TORRES FOUNDATION FOR THE BLIND - Tel: 202-349-8486 - firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are using a demo please click here to get instructions on how to upgrade.
- "Everything about Mobile Accessibility makes the Android device I have a much more usable device." Jordan Gallacher.
- "Android is technically an accessible platform. Practically speaking, though, it has many gaping holes that Google has failed to both acknowledge or address. As such, persons who rely on magnification or speech access have had to cobble together a mishmash of third-party apps to do what fully sighted users can do right out of the box with their Android devices. Had I been asked if I would recommend Android for the non-technical user a month ago, I would have given a resounding "No". The platform just has too many defficiencies over its competitors to warrant a confident recommendation.
Despite the limitations imposed on the Android system, Code Factory has managed to do something I would not have imagined possible; they have created a unified set of applications that provide access to all of Android's essential functions. Tired of the poorly designed Android phone app? There's finally one here that is intuitive to use. Want to be able to use an on-screen keyboard for a change? Mobile Accessibility has you covered. How about being able to review the screens in Mobile Accessibility with your finger similar to what you may have been used to with Mobile Speak or the iPhone? Not a problem.
The most exciting feature, to me anyhow, is that we finally have a web browser that is fully accessible. That's right-- Android's most obvious access failing has finally been solved thanks to the talent at Code Factory. You can browse to virtually any website you like, navigate among different web elements as you would with a desktop screen reader, interact with forms, read newspapers, etc.
The other nice piece of Mobile Accessibility is that Code Factory has included a screen reader that will function in any other standard Android application. Granted, most of the MA features will not work while in third-party programs due to the Android limitations, but there are still some, such as the on-screen keyboard, that will. You really do get the best of both worlds here. You can use Code Factory's more accessibly written programs for handling the day-to-day tasks while still being able to run your own media players, radio apps, games, and other programs as you see fit.
I must commend Code Factory for the amount of progress they have made in not only learning the Android platform but also for what they have managed to create in such a short timespan. If a non-technical person were to now ask me if Android could be used, I can now say that yes, in fact, it is. Well done, chap," Mobile Accessibility's beta tester.
- "The Mobile Accessibility suite of applications is a major step forward towards making android mobile devices fully accessible to the blind. I no longer have to fight with simple 21st century tasks such as placing and hanging up a call, working with the calendar and reading threaded SMS. I am not a fan of virtual keyboards but I find myself not having to use my built-in hardware keyboard as much to type messages because of the intuitiveness, ease of use and navigational features of the Mobile Accessibility virtual keyboard.
The Mobile Accessibility web component is the best currently available for android. Within seconds I am given a visual representation of the web page by MA announcing the layout including the number of tables, lists, and links etc. It is amazing how simple it is to jump to a specific page element without having to remember complicated commands. I am no longer stuck with just using the touch screen to navigate by a specific control. Working with forms has become a lot easier. I can quickly set the jump mode to forms and then easily cycle through the list of input fields to enter data on pages such as online banking." Courtney Tater.
- "I am sitting at my kitchen table, composing e-mail drinking coffee, with my phone that talks to me as I type, and my Bluetooth portable keyboard.
I truly feel like a sighted person not tied down to a desktop or laptop, being able to read my e-mail where ever I want, and being able to type longish messages comfortably!
Now all I need is a bluetooth Braille display, and I'll have my own awesome totally accessible mobile PDA! I can go outside and sit under a nice tree with my guide dog, enjoy nature, while being connected to the net in style on my terms! No Braillenotes, just my phone, my keyboard or braille display, ear buds and listening to pandora, or updating facebook!"
--Sandy Thompson and Guiding Eyes Daytona
- Press Release of MA v1.9
- Press Release of MA v1.4
- Press Release of MA v1.0
- Press Release of Web Browser and Music Player standalone apps
- Instructions to upgrade from demo to paid MA paid version
- Read the manuals and quick start guides
- To get help from more experienced users and share impressions on the product, subscribe to Mobile Accessibility mailing list
- For technical support, submit a ticket through our HelpDesk
- Follow us on Twitter and use the hashtag #MobileAccessibility to talk about Mobile Accessibility