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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How Do I Do All the Little Things?

Certain tasks are done routinely: adjusting and checking volume levels, answering and ending calls, backing out of applications, checking and clearing notifications, connecting to and disconnecting the phone from a computer, entering and exiting airplane mode, going in and out of silent mode, locking and unlocking the screen, moving to the stock Launcher or Recent Applications screen, returning to the preferred Home screen, sending an incoming call to voicemail, using the typing keyboard, and turning the phone on and off. Much of this information is covered in other posts, but it has been gathered here for the convenience of Accessible Android readers.

If the phone is on, but not responding, refer to the preceding post for troubleshooting ideas.

Adjusting Volume Levels

Blind and visually impaired users must keep track of two separate volume levels, one for the ringer and another for the screen reader and the media (i.e., music and videos).

1. To adjust ringer volume, press repeatedly on the volume-up and volume-down controls while the screen reader is not speaking.
2. To adjust screen reader volume, press repeatedly on the volume-up or volume-down controls while the screen reader is speaking.

For alternative methods, refer to the sections on vibrate/Silent mode below. For information on adjusting speech rate, refer to the post on Talkback.

Checking Ringer Volume

Briefly press the power button. Talkback announces the status of the screen and the volume level. Talkback also announces volume level when the screen locks automatically.

Answering Calls

Some Android phones have physical controls for answering calls. Others do not. Learning to answer without a physical control is simple, but takes a little practice. It is the same gesture used to unlock the phone.

1. If the phone has a physical Answer button, press it to begin speaking.
2. If the phone does not have a physical answer button, do the following:
a. Put the phone in portrait orientation.
b. Place a finger on the left edge of the touch screen about 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the bottom.
c. Slide your finger to the right edge of the touch screen, drawing an imaginary horizontal line. If you are successful, you feel a short vibrational burst near the beginning of the line and a longer vibrational burst at the end.

Some users mark the starting position with a piece of tape. Others use the top section of their thumbs to locate the starting point, which is at the top of the fingernail if the first knuckle is in the lower left-hand corner of the screen (portrait orientation).

Ending Calls

Several methods are available to end calls. Two are simple. Two others require more practice.

1. If your phone has a physical end Call button, press it to disconnect. Some models perform a slightly faster hang-up with two presses of the button. Remember to hold the phone away from your face and to keep your fingers away from the proximity sensor, which is often located in the upper left-hand corner of the screen (portrait orientation).
2. If you’re running Android 2.2, press the power button to end calls. Remember to check the appropriate box in the Accessibility settings to enable this feature.
3. If your phone does not have a physical End Call button and you are running Android 2.1 or earlier, you have three options:
a. touch the soft End Call button on the touch screen. It is located about halfway across the imaginary horizontal line that unlocks the phone.
i. For best results, practice ending a call by dialing your landline or a friend’s number and hanging up before the answering machine picks up. It helps to place a sticker or small piece of tape on the back of the phone at the button location. Keep in mind that, even when the soft button is touched, the phone does not always respond immediately. A couple of vertical swipes are often necessary.
ii. Be aware that the End Call button may not be on the screen. Some handsets have sensitive touchscreens, which may move as you handle the phone, so focus may shift to another app altogether. You can return to the In-Call Screen by pulling down the status bar as when you check notifications. Refer to the section on checking notifications below.
b. Use earphones to hang up. Slide the keyboard open; move focus to the in-call screen using the status bar; navigate to End Call; and press the selector. Without earphones, this process can be challenging because of an unfortunate series of events. The phone is moved away from the face to access the arrow keys. The proximity sensor stops preventing the screen from responding to movement or touch, but the face can not be moved out of range of the screen’s sensors because Talkback volume is low. The result is that soft buttons are activated and focus moves away from the desired screen, often requiring more than one attempt.
c. Use a speakerphone app, like UpSoundDown by Lionebra Studio, to comfortably work with the in-call screen. Keep in mind that the person on the phone with you can hear the screen reader while on speakerphone.

Backing out of Applications

While it is possible to exit an application, users don’t normally do so unless the app is creating problems or draining the battery. Apps are left open, and when Android notices they aren’t being used, the system closes them quietly.

Similarly, there is often no need to save a setting in either a particular app or the Android system, unless, of course, an OK or Done button is on the screen, almost always at the bottom with Cancel or Revert to the right of it. Generally, changes take place as soon as options are selected and checkboxes are checked. Sometimes they take place a few minutes later, or they take place after the phone has been turned off and on again.

Once a setting has been adjusted, users can jump directly to another app with a shortcut, return to the Home screen/launcher with the Home button, or simply back out of the screen they’re in.

To back out of the current screen, use the Back button, which may be a physical control or a soft button on the touch screen.

1. Press the back button briefly to return to the previous screen.
2. Press the Back button 6 to 8 seconds (long press) to return to the stock Home screen/Launcher. Even if your default home screen is the Eyes-Free shell, long pressing the Back button moves focus to the home screen originally on the phone. Some users report that long-pressing Back doesn't have this function on their devices.

Note: pressing Back often "exits" an app while pressing Home often leaves it running in the background, so if users are listening to music while a new email message comes in, pressing Back may stop the music while pressing Home or a shortcut may leave it running.

Checking Notifications

Notifications are special announcements that appear on the phone’s status bar. They let users know that voicemail and missed calls await attention, that new email or text messages have arrived, that updates are ready, and that apps have been installed successfully. Users can check them in two ways.

1. Use the Status bar on the touch screen.
a. Place a finger at the top edge of the screen. This is near the earpiece when the phone is in portrait orientation, or it is on the edge farthest from the keyboard when the phone is in landscape orientation.
b. Slide your finger all the way down to the bottom, stopping when you hear, “Status Bar” or "Notifications," depending on your screen reader.
c. Down arrow through the list of notifications. In many cases, pressing the selector on a notification moves focus into the app. For example, K9 mail can be set so that pressing the selector on an email notification opens the new message.
2. Use the stock Home screen/Launcher.
a. Go to the stock Home screen or to the Recent Applications screen by long pressing (6-8 seconds) the Back or Home button.
b. Press the Menu button.
c. Navigate to Notifications, and press The selector.
d. Navigate through the list of notifications. In many cases, pressing the selector on one of them moves focus into the app. For example, K9 mail can be set so that pressing the selector on an email notification opens the new message.

Clearing Notifications

Once users are aware of new messages, etc., they tend to move those notifications off the status bar to make way for new ones. To remove old notifications from the status bar, do the following:

1. Go to the Notifications screen, using one of the methods described above.
2. Then either
a. Navigate up to the Clear Notifications option, and press the selector to return to the Home screen, or
b. Slide your finger up from the bottom edge of the screen toward the top until the phone announces that the status bar is closed.

Stopping Talkback from Announcing Notifications

The phone speaks notifications as they come in, which some users find annoying. To keep the screen reader silent while the screen is locked and the phone is idle, users can make the following changes in Accessibility Preferences:

1. From the Home screen, go to Accessibility Preferences.
a. On the stock Home/Launch screen, navigate to and press the selector on All Applications; then move to Accessibility Preferences and activate it by pressing The selector.
b. From the Eyes-Free shell, down-stroke to Applications on the touch screen; then using the typing keyboard, type the letter A, scroll down to Accessibility Preferences if necessary, and press enter.
2. Navigate to and press the selector on Talkback Preferences.
3. Navigate to and press the selector on Screen Status.
4. Navigate to and press the selector on No Speech when Screen is Off. This setting prevents Talkback from announcing notifications when the phone is locked.

Connecting the Phone to and Disconnecting It from a computer

Sometimes users may want to connect their phones to a computer in order to copy music and other files to the phone's SD card. This process varies from handset to handset, so all of the steps in the following sequence do not apply to all users. Also, there seems to be some disagreement about what the best procedure is.

Connecting to the Computer

1. Plug the phone into the computer with the USB cable that comes with the phone, removing the wall charger from the end of the cable. In some cases, the phone is recognized by the computer, and you can begin copying files as you would copy them to a thumb drive.
2. If you are not able to copy files:
a. Go into the notifications screen on the phone (by unlocking the screen, sliding a finger from the top edge to the bottom, and scrolling through the notifications).
b. Navigate to and press the selector on USB, Connect, or Turn On, depending on your handset and Android version.
c. Navigate to and press the selector on Mount SD Card or turn ON.

All steps in 2 may not be necessary. Stop when you hear the connection chime on your computer.

Disconnecting from the Computer

1. Follow your computer's normal procedure for disconnecting a thumb drive (i.e., in Windows use Safely Remove, and on the Mac use eject). Some sources say this step is sufficient for disconnecting the phone.
2. Go into the Notifications Screen on the phone (by unlocking the screen, sliding a finger from the top edge to the bottom, and scrolling through the notifications). Then navigate to and press the selector on disconnect, Unmount, or Turn Off, depending on your handset and Android version. Some sources say Step 2 can be done instead of the procedure in Step one; others say this is done after; and still others say this is not necessary.
3. If you are uncertain about whether the device has been disconnected, ignore Steps 1 and 2, and simply power the computer down to let it and the phone disconnect correctly.

Entering Airplane Mode

While on a plane or in other secure settings, cell phone users are asked to turn off their devices’ communications ability. This is done by going into Airplane Mode. In this mode, devices can not send or receive calls and messages and users can not browse the web.

The simplest way to enter airplane mode is to do the following:

1. Press the Power Button 3 seconds.
2. Navigate to Airplane Mode.
3. Press the selector.

Exiting Airplane Mode

Once users land or leave other secure environment, they can enable calls, mail, texts, and web services.,

To exit airplane mode, do the following:

1. Press the Power Button 3 seconds.
2. Navigate to Airplane Mode.
3. Press the selector.

Going into Silent/Vibrate Mode

It is often necessary to silence the phone in certain situations, like at meetings, in class, or at church. Android users may silence the ringer, Talkback, or both. This requires adjusting some settings beforehand, so it is a good idea for users to think about how they want their phones to behave in Silent mode. The next few sections detail the various options available and how to put them into effect.

Silencing the Ringer

Do one of the following to turn off the ringer:

1. Press the Volume Down control repeatedly while the phone is not speaking. Talkback announces, “Ringer vibrate,” when volume has been turned all the way down.
2. Press the Power button down for 3 seconds, navigate to Silent mode, and press the selector. The screen doesn’t need to be unlocked.
3. When the phone is closed and the screen is locked, tap the Power button to wake up the phone, put the handset in portrait orientation, place a finger along the right edge of the screen about 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the bottom, and swipe to the left, drawing an imaginary horizontal line. This is the unlock gesture done in reverse. The phone emits a short vibrational burst at the beginning of the line and a longer burst as you reach the end

Silencing Talkback / turning off Media Volume

Do one of the following to turn off media/Talkback:

1. Press the volume down control repeatedly while the phone is speaking. The phone has to be awake, but may not need to be unlocked.
2. While on the Eyes-Free shell, place a finger on the touch screen and press the volume-down control repeatedly.

Silencing both the ringer and Talkback

Users can make adjustments in Settings or in Accessibility Preferences to silence both speech and the ringer. The two methods are described below:

Using Android Settings

1. From the Home screen, go into Settings.
a. From the stock Home/Launch screen, press the Menu button; then navigate to Settings and activate it by pressing The selector.
b. From the Eyes-Free shell, down-stroke to Applications on the touch screen; then using the typing keyboard, type the letter S, scroll down to Settings if necessary, and press enter.
2. Navigate to Sound and Display (Android 2.1) or Sound (Android 2.2), and press The selector.
3. Navigate to and press the selector on Vibrate Only When in Silent Mode.
4. Return to the Home screen by pressing Back several times or Home once.

Using Accessibility Preferences

1. From the Home screen, go into Accessibility Preferences.
a. On the stock Home/Launch screen, navigate to and press the selector on All Applications or sliding drawer; then move to Accessibility Preferences and activate it by pressing The selector.
b. From the Eyes-Free shell, down-stroke to Applications on the touch screen; then using the typing keyboard, type the letter A, scroll down to Accessibility Preferences if necessary, and press enter.
2. Navigate to and press the selector on Talkback Preferences.
3. Navigate to and press the selector on Ringer volume.
4. Navigate to and press the selector on No Speech in Silent Mode. This setting turns speech volume down along with the ringer.

Going out of Silent/Vibrate Mode

The steps for exiting vibrate mode depend somewhat on what settings users have adjusted. Generally, though, the following should work:

Turning on the Ringer

Do one of the following to turn ringer volume on:

1. Press repeatedly on the volume up button when the phone is not speaking. Talkback may announce the volume level after each pause.
2. Press the Power button 3 seconds, navigate to Silent mode, and press the selector to toggle out of silent mode.
3. When the phone is closed and the screen is locked, tap the Power button to wake up the phone, put the handset in portrait orientation, place a finger along the right edge of the screen about 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the bottom, and swipe to the left, drawing an imaginary horizontal line. This is the unlock gesture done in reverse. The phone emits a short vibrational burst at the beginning of the line and a longer burst as you reach the end.

Turning on Media/Talkback volume

If the phone is still not speaking, do the following:

1. If the eyes-Free shell is your default home screen:
a. Briefly press the Home button to get to the Eyes-Free shell.
b. Place a finger on the screen, and do not lift it, even briefly.
c. Press the volume up control repeatedly.
2. If the Eyes-Free shell is not your default home screen or if focus is not on the Eyes-Free Shell:
a. Unlock the screen if necessary.
b. Do something that ordinarily makes the phone speak: slide the keyboard out or in; scroll around the screen; enter into an app and back out of it.
c. While the phone should be speaking, press the volume up button. Remember voice volume goes up or down only if the volume controls are pressed while the phone is speaking. Remember too that you will not hear speech if your fingers are over the proximity sensor, located in the upper left-hand corner of the screen (portrait orientation).
d. Repeat Steps b and c until you hear speech.

Locking the screen

Android phones are designed to be used through the touch screen, but responsiveness to touch is not always desirable, as when the phone is being put in a purse or pocket. To make the phone go to sleep so that the touch screen or physical buttons do not respond to commands, do one of the following:

1. Either Briefly press the Power Button.
2. Or let the phone stand idle until it times out.

Adjusting the Lock Delay

By default, the phone must be idle 1 minute before the screen locks. This amount of time can be made longer or shorter. To change how long the phone must be inactive before it times out, do the following:

1. From the Home screen, go into Settings.
a. From the stock Home/Launch screen, press the Menu button; then navigate to Settings and activate it by pressing The selector.
b. From the Eyes-Free shell, down-stroke to Applications on the touch screen; then using the typing keyboard, type the letter S, scroll down to Settings, and press enter.
2. Navigate to Sound and Display (Android 2.1) or Display (Android 2.2), and press The selector.
3. Navigate to Screen Time-Out to adjust the delay before the phone locks, and press The selector.
4. Navigate to your desired setting, and press the selector to check it.
5. PRESS the Back key several times or the Home key to return to your Launcher.

Unlocking the screen

To unlock the screen so that it is responsive to commands, do the following:

1. Wake the phone up in one of two ways:
a. Tap the power button at any time, except during a phone call. If Talkback is enabled, it announces the time, says, "Screen on," and may provide additional information about the ringer volume level.
b. Slide the keyboard out or in at any time, especially during a phone call. If Talkback is enabled, it announces, "Screen on," and may provide additional information about the ringer volume level.
2. Put the phone in portrait orientation.
3. Place a finger on the left edge of the touch screen about 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the bottom.
4. Slide your finger to the right edge of the touch screen, drawing an imaginary horizontal line. If you are successful, you feel a short vibrational burst near the beginning of the line and a longer vibrational burst at the end. This is the same gesture used to answer the phone.

Some users mark the starting position with a piece of tape. Others use the top section of their thumbs to locate the starting point, which is at the top of the fingernail if the first knuckle is in the lower left-hand corner of the screen (portrait orientation).

Moving to the Stock Launcher

To jump to the phone’s original Home screen, press the Back button for 6-8 seconds (long press). Some users report being unable to do this with their handsets.

Moving to the Recent Applications Screen

To jump to a screen with icons for the last 6 applications used, press the Home button for 6-8 seconds (long press).

Returning to the Default Home Screen

To jump quickly to the preferred/default Home screen (often the Eyes-Free shell), press the Home button briefly (short press).

Sending an Incoming Call to Voicemail

It isn't always possible to take calls, as during meetings and important family events.

To silence a ringing phone and direct the call to voicemail, simply press the Power button.

Turning the Phone Off

Android phones are kept on indefinitely. They’re turned off to reset the device, a troubleshooting technique that clears up most odd behaviors.

To turn the phone off, do the following:

1. Press the Power button for 3 seconds. The device vibrates and the Phone Options screen comes up.
2. Navigate to and Press the selector on Power Off.
3. Press the selector on OK to confirm that you want to power down.

Turning the Phone On

To turn the phone on, do the following:

1. Press the Power button for 6 seconds.
2. Wait 1 to 2 minutes for the device to power up.

Using the Typing Keyboard

While many users type with their thumbs, the keyboards of slider phones are large enough to accommodate a form of touch typing. The adjustment period is 2 to 3 weeks long, and improved speed and accuracy amply reward the effort. Here are some general tips for using the keyboard:

1. Place locator dots on certain keys for orientation. Many phones have nibs on the F and J or D and K keys, but not all do. Some users have found it helpful to place their own nibs on these keys and on others to help find them quickly. Self-stick nibs are available at craft stores and from venders of products for people who are blind and visually impaired. The latter sells Locator brand, which is ideal for this purpose.
2. Expect typing echo to increase with speed. Talkback announces each key as it is typed. Normally, there is a slight delay between the key press and the spoken feedback; however this delay decreases as typing speed increases.
3. Use a form of touch typing, by placing your fingers on the keys as follows.
a. Left ring finger on the letter A.
b. Left middle finger on the letters S and D.
c. Left index finger on the letters F and G.
d. Right index finger on the letters H and J.
e. Right index finger on the letters K and L.
f. Right ring finger on the remaining keys.

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