Contributed by Tina Birenbaum
Setting up an Android phone for accessibility involves knowing where ports, physical controls, soft/virtual buttons, and other key features are located.
The Samsung Intercept is a slider phone. Most of the front is taken up by the glass touchscreen. This is the part of the phone that faces the user when the device is being operated. At the bottom of the touchscreen is a narrow chin with three physical controls. It is not part of the screen itself, but serves as a quick way to orient the device as it is being pulled out of a purse or pocket.
To become familiar with the phone’s physical features, do the following:
1. Position the device with the touchscreen facing you and the chin pointing down. This is standard portrait orientation.
2. Locate controls on the front of the phone.
a. When the phone is on and the screen is unlocked, a number of virtual or soft buttons are displayed, often in columns and rows. They’re visual images on the screen, not actual buttons you can feel, but they are activated by touch and are very sensitive, often responding to fingers that are too close to the screen. A few of these controls are routinely used. Four important controls run along the bottom edge of every screen. From left to right, they are Menu, Home, Back and Search. It’s helpful to place stickers on the back of the phone at each button position to make locating them easy while learning to find them.
i. The Menu button (sometimes called the Options Key) opens a page of application specific options, such as Call Log and Contacts when in the phone screen.
ii. The Home button moves focus to the Home/Launch screen (short press) and to a list of frequently used applications (long press).
iii. The back button moves focus to a previous screen (short press) or to the home screen (long press).
iv. The Search button opens an edit window for users to type (short press) or speak (long press) words and phrases to be searched for on Google and on the device itself.
b. On the chin are 3 basic physical controls. From left to right, they are Send, the trackpad, and End/Power.
i. Call sends a phone call and may be used to select an item.
ii. The trackpad is an indentation used to navigate menus and controls and to activate buttons or items. Move your finger over the trackpad in the direction you want focus to move. For example, to scroll right, slide your finger across the trackpad from left to right, or to scroll down, slide your finger across the trackpad from top to bottom. To select the item with focus, press down on the trackpad. If pressing on the center of the d-pad does not activate a control, then pressing the Call button or the enter key on the typing keyboard should work.
iii. End/Power hangs up a call, unlocks and locks the screen, and turns the phone off and on.
c. The status bar is at the top of the screen. To check for new Notifications, place a finger at the top edge of the screen and slide it down toward the bottom. Once accessibility is enabled, the phone announces, "Status bar," followed by a message like, "No notifications," or "Updates available." No other status-bar information is natively available through the touchscreen to users who cannot see it.
d. The unlock control is a horizontal gesture performed about 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the lower edge of the touchscreen. It and several variations are described below, but it's also possible to unlock by opening the keyboard and simply scrolling with the trackpad:
i. To unlock the phone, tap the End/Power button. The phone announces, "Screen on," and provides information about the ringer volume level. Place your finger on the left edge of the screen about an inch (2.5 cm) away from the bottom. Slide your finger to the right, drawing a horizontal line. The phone emits a short vibration as you begin and a longer vibration as you reach the right edge of the screen, Talkback announces, "phone unlocked," followed by ringer volume information.
ii. Swiping along that line from right to left while the screen is on and the phone is locked puts the phone in vibrate mode.
iii. The unlock gesture is also used to answer phone calls. Do not tap the Power button before swiping to answer. The Intercept also allows users to answer by pressing the Send button.
e. The proximity sensor is in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. When accessibility is enabled, it interrupts the speech synthesizer. Simply wave a finger over that portion of the touchscreen to stop speech.
3. Locate other physical buttons and connection points. Slide a finger around the top, right, bottom and left panels of the phone in a clockwise direction to identify the following:
a. Along the top panel is the USB client port. This is used to connect the phone to anything else, a power source for recharging the battery or a computer for transferring files.
b. Along the right panel are the earphone jack and the camera button. Long pressing this control takes a picture. The Camera Screen is not accessible.
c. Along the bottom panel is the microphone.
d. Along the left panel are the micro SD card slot and the 2 volume controls.
i. The micro SD card slot holds the phone's external memory.
ii. Pressing the left volume button increases sound level, and pressing the right volume control decreases sound level. Keep in mind that pressing the volume control while the phone is speaking or playing music adjusts the loudness of the screen reader or media stream, but pressing the volume control while the phone is silent adjusts the loudness of the ringer.
4. Explore the back of the phone. Run your finger down the back of the phone to locate the following items:
a. The camera view finder is at the top of the phone near the USB port.
b. The battery cover takes up the back of the phone. The cover is removed to replace the battery.
c. The speaker for media and the screen reader is a set of small slits near the bottom of the phone. If you’re only listening to music, placing the phone face down points the speaker up for louder and clearer sound.
5. Find the physical typing keyboard by laying the phone on a table (touchscreen up and chin to the right), then pushing back on the upper edge of the phone to slide the touchscreen out of the way. It consists of 46 keys laid out in 4 rows.
a. The top row starts with the Function key (also called alt), goes from Q to P, and ends with backspace.
b. The second row from top to bottom goes from Q to P and ends with up-arrow and enter.
c. The third row from the top goes from A to L and ends with left-arrow, down-arrow, and right-arrow. The F and J keys have nibs in the lower right-hand corner.
d. The bottom row starts with shift, goes from Z to V, includes the long spacebar, continues with B to M, and ends with period, and Menu.
While in use, the phone can be held vertically (in portrait orientation), with the chin at the bottom, as when a call is being made, or it can be held horizontally (in landscape orientation), with the chin to the right, as when the physical keyboard is being used. By default, the device is set to recognize whether it’s being used in portrait or landscape mode and adjusts the screen automatically. Blind and visually impaired users should disable Auto Rotate to prevent the screen from shifting erratically and to insure that important soft keys stay in one location.