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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Getting to Know Soundback

Soundback delivers non-spoken audible feedback. Of the 5 basic accessibility apps, it’s the one least likely to be used. Still, having it on the phone is a good idea as some users find it helpful, especially when they're new to Android.

What Soundback Does

Soundback emits 4 different tones to signal certain events, like incoming calls and notifications.

• A clack (like a closing door) signals most events, such as that the phone is about to ring, that a notification is about to be spoken, and that an item in a list is being activated.
• A clang (like a cowbell) signals that focus is on a new item in a list or that new information is on the screen.
• A click (like snapping fingers) signals that a key is pressed while typing.
• A pop (like a rubber ball being bounced) signals that a button or checkbox has been activated.

Turning on Soundback

To turn on Soundback, do the following:

1. Unlock the screen if necessary.
2. Go into Settings.
a. From the stock Home screen, press the Menu button, Navigate to Settings, and activate it by pressing the selector. Menu may be a soft button on the touch screen or a physical key on the handset.
b. From the Eyes-Free Shell, down-stroke to the 8 position, type the letter S, and press enter, search, or the selector on Settings.
3. Navigate to and press the selector on Accessibility.
4. Navigate to Soundback, and press the selector to check it.
5. Press the Back button several times or the Home button once to return to the home screen. Back and Home may be soft buttons on the touch screen or physical keys on the handset.

Adjusting Soundback Volume

Soundback volume cannot be adjusted. Audible feedback is played at a constant level when the screen reader can be heard, whether the screen reader volume is set to high or low. When screen reader volume is all the way down, however, Soundback is silent.

While the most recent version of Soundback provides feedback at moderate sound levels, many users leave Soundback unchecked, and for softer feedback, make other adjustments in Android Settings.

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