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Android 4.1 SDK Jelly Bean New Features
Illustration by Don Barnett

Increasing accessibility


From:

Android 4.1 SDK Jelly Bean New Features

with Joseph Lowery

Video: Increasing accessibility

Accessibility is, or should be, a major concern of every web and app developer. Google has made accessibility a primary focus of Jelly Bean and followed through with built-in tools, APIs, and even a developer center dedicated to the topic. Let's take a look at the system wide accessibility features to start off. For the vision impaired, Android 4.1 includes a screen reader service called TalkBack to describe the results of actions, as well as a companion feature called Explore by Touch that audibly describes the interface as you touch the various elements.

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Android 4.1 SDK Jelly Bean New Features
1h 21m Intermediate Dec 07, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

This course introduces the new features offered to developers and consumers in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Author Joseph Lowery first explains how you can expect the update to roll out to devices, and then shows how to install the Android SDK on Windows and Mac, select a device emulator, create a sample app, and prep it for publication on Google Play. Along the way, the course explores the smoother interface (codenamed Project Butter), notifications, advanced text manipulation, and security improvements that will be of interest to Android developers, and describes how those features translate for consumers on the device side.

Topics include:
  • Tasting the flavors of Jelly Bean
  • Developing with the updated media capabilities
  • Integrating input device feedback
  • Increasing accessibility
  • Setting up a Jelly Bean project
  • Testing your app on a device
  • Working with the emulator
  • Utilizing improved voice search
  • Interacting with Google services
  • Enabling near field communication with Android Beam
Subjects:
Developer Mobile Apps
Software:
Android
Author:
Joseph Lowery

Increasing accessibility

Accessibility is, or should be, a major concern of every web and app developer. Google has made accessibility a primary focus of Jelly Bean and followed through with built-in tools, APIs, and even a developer center dedicated to the topic. Let's take a look at the system wide accessibility features to start off. For the vision impaired, Android 4.1 includes a screen reader service called TalkBack to describe the results of actions, as well as a companion feature called Explore by Touch that audibly describes the interface as you touch the various elements.

To enable it, you will first have to open Settings, that I have here on one of my home screens. So I'll swipe over to that and tap Settings and then I'll scroll down, almost to the bottom, where I see Accessibility, and tap that. Next tap TalkBack right up top. When that opens, tap the ON/OFF switch in the upper right, by default it's set to OFF. That will display a dialog box asking you to confirm your choice. Once you tap OK, TalkBack will kick in. So let's tap OK.

Now every action that I take will be echoed by TalkBack. So if I change my Ringtone volume, [Audio] I'm told of the action and this specifies to what percentage I change it. Let me raise the volume a little bit. [Audio] Now if I want to navigate through the system there are a series of special gestures you can use. To use an icon, I'll need to tap it not once but twice. Let's click the TalkBack settings at the bottom of the page to go to that screen.

I find it's best for most icons and options to highlight it first and then double tap. So I'll tap it once to highlight. [Audio] And you can hear TalkBack read it back, and then again twice. [Audio] Now here is a pretty big list of options. It says there are 16 at all and we're seeing 1 through 9. So how do you see the rest? Well, you can't use a simple swipe up to scroll, that would cause the last item you touched to be read.

To scroll when you're in TalkBack mode, you'll need to use a two finger swipe. [Audio] I want to point out two options in the TalkBack settings. The first is Launch "Explore by touch" tutorial, found almost at the bottom of the screen. We won't go into it, but I recommend that you work your way through it in order to better understand the wide range of gestures used in this mode. Now I do want to go into Developer Settings, however. Let met first highlight it.

[Audio] And now I'll double tap it. [Audio] As you can see, and hear, there are three options here which you can set to trace what's happening in TalkBack mode during a debugging process. First you can set the Log Output Level. If I tap it once. [Audio] And double tap to open. [Audio] You can see all seven levels ranging from NONE to VERBOSE. Let me Cancel it.

[Audio] You can also highlight the event sources in the log to see what's triggering the TalkBack. And finally, you can display the actual speech output in the log. Now if you're following along on your device for the first time, you may be wondering how to get back to the previous screen. Well, you can try double-tap back. That's often a little tricky. Luckily, there's a special gesture for going back a page, and that's swipe down and to the left, just like you're going to the previous page of a book.

[Audio] Let's do that one more time. [Audio] And now I'm going to highlight the ON/OFF switch. [Audio] And then double tap to disable the feature. [Audio] To confirm, I'll highlight OK. [Audio] And then double tap. I mentioned that Google has a great deal of information about accessibility.

You can find that on the developerandroid.com site. There's detailed information about accessibility APIs, how to build an accessibility service, and even a checklist. I think you'll find, like I did, that it's a terrific resource.

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