Decoding Mobile Technologies:
Review of accessibility features of Android, iOS, and other mobile operating systems
Today’s Agenda

Introduction

What you’ll learn

Review of accessibility features available in today’s most popular
mobile operating systems

Summary

Q&A
Introduction
Korey Singleton, Assistive Technology Initiative Manager

Mission of ATI: …provide individuals with disabilities an
accessible university environment by supporting access to all
technological, architectural, and educational resources
available at George Mason University through the
incorporation of assistive technologies...

More information about us at http://ati.gmu.edu
Learning Objectives

Learn about the built-in tools/features that enable
access to mobile technologies for individuals with
disabilities.

Discuss the differences and similarities, in terms of
accessibility, between the different mobile operating
systems.

Understand and identify which mobile operating
systems provide the greatest level of access to users
of a specific disability type (e.g., vision loss).
Content Questions

In what version of the Android operating system did accessibility
start to be incorporated?

Oratio for Blackberry is available for most Blackberry
smartphone?

Which smartphone manufacturer markets the Symbian OS?

Which mobile OS’ are supported by Google and Apple,
respectively?

iOS supports wireless (Bluetooth) refreshable braille displays?
Let’s Get Started
Understanding the market for mobile technologies
Market Penetration (Business)

Smartphones now
represent more than half of
all handheld wireless
devices used by corporate
wireless users…up 22%
from 2010[6]
Types of Devices – Business users[6]

RIM’s blackberry remains the
leading smartphone OS. iPhone
is the fastest growing.

Blackberry has about 69%
market penetration, increasing
to 81% among businesses with
1000 or more employees.

Inverse is true among smaller
companies, there is increased
usage of iOS and other mobile
operating systems.
Market Penetration (Personal Use)

TNS Global reports[1]:
Evolution of mobile technology has fueled rapid consumer
adoption
 Smartphone penetration among individual wireless households
up from 1 in 4 US households in late 2009 to 1 in 3 US
households just a year later


Most notable uses in US…personal email and text messaging[3]
Types of Devices – Personal users[6]

RIM’s blackberry remains the leading smartphone OS among
personal users as well with about 36% market share. iOS and
Android are close behind with about 25% and 24% ,
respectively.

Android is the fastest growing mobile OS in the US among
individuals 13 years and older.
Future Trends

Workplace considerations - According to the IDC, smartphones outsold PCs
for the first time in Q4 2010. [4]

Higher Education considerations
 Barnes & Noble campus bookstores recorded a 3000% increase in
eTextbook sales in 2010…industry projections forecast 60% of textbook
titles available digitally by 2014. [2]
 Students report lower costs and lighter carrying load as primary reasons for
adoption of digital textbooks. [5]

General Use - Worldwide tablet sales have exploded in the past year. One of
the reasons for that growth is believed to be the adoption of iPads as teaching
tools in k-12.[9]
Mobile OS Review
Android OS, iOS, and others
Android Accessibility
Important Facts about the Android OS

Fastest growing mobile OS in the US[1]

All Android versions starting with v1.6 or later have built-in support
for speech output and accessibility

There are 50+ different types of phones worldwide that are running
some version of the Android OS
 Major problem in terms of accessibility: Android versions are
not standardized across all manufacturers, platforms, etc.
Depending on model of phone, one user could have v1.6, while
another has v2.2 (latest release).
Android OS

Why is this a problem?
 User experiences may differ – Carriers and device
manufacturers will sometimes create customized versions of
the Android OS. For example, HTC ships phones that include a
custom user interface called HTC Sense. Samsung, LG, and
Motorola could also change the user interfaces if they choose.

There is no guarantee that devices with customized Android
operating systems include accessibility support.
Vision

Enabling Basic Accessibility

By default, accessibility is turned
off. Users with little to no vision
will likely require sighted assistance
to turn on this feature. Once
enabled, however, it will remember
the setting.

Can be enabled through
Menu/Settings/Accessibility
 Voice Input/output allows for
customization of speech settings
Vision cont.…
Important Note: Certain Android phones may
not have Talkback installed. When turning on
Accessibility, OS will prompt user to go to
Android Market, download and install the
application.
Check box to turn on Accessibility, then
turn on the following:
•
Talkback – enables speech output
•
Kickback – enables vibration (haptic
feedback) along with speech
•
Soundback – enables additional
sound notifications when activating
a control
Another Option for Setting Up Accessibility

Installer guides from IDEAL Apps4Android

Installs several accessibility apps:
 Eyes Free Suite (Talkback, Kickback, Soundback, Eyes Free
Shell, Talking Dialer, Walky Talky, Intersection Explorer)
 In addition to the Eyes Free Suite, several 3rd party apps
like K9 Mail, IDEAL Magnifier, IDEAL Item ID, and IDEAL
Web Reader are installed.
Another Option for Setting Up Accessibility
cont.…





Eyes Free Shell – User interface designed to to make it easier for individuals with low vision
and blindness to navigate the Android OS
Talking Dialer – accessible dialing interface
Walky Talky (walking) and Intersection Explorer (auto) – accessible GPS applications
3rd party apps
 K9 Mail – accessible email application
 IDEAL Magnifier – basic magnifier using phone’s camera
 IDEAL Item ID – bar code scanner
 IDEAL Web Reader – accessible web browser
Important Note: User experience depends on the phone model. Individuals with vision loss
will likely require sighted assistance in setting up some of the apps.
Hearing

Basic Features:
 Notifications Panel – Alerts the
user to battery status, incoming
emails, SMS messages, voicemail
messages, etc.

Audible, Visible, and vibrating
alerts for all notifications

Hearing Aid Compatibility Mode
(HAC)
 Allows user to amplify in-call
volume
Hearing cont.…
•
Notable Features:
•
•
Visual Voicemail
• Allows you to view all of
your voicemails at once,
read in order of
preference
• Control playback
Check with carrier for costs:
Sprint Voicemail-to-Text
transcription costs
$1.99/month
Hearing cont.…

Notable Features:
 Video Chat and/or Video
messages using ‘Qik’
 Users have the ability to
chat in real-time using
front (certain models) or
rear-facing cameras
 Or, send video messages –
Can be created on phone
and saved to user account
at www.qik.com
Physical & Motor

Basic Features:
 Tactile Buttons (Power, volume
keys, call button, other keys
depends on model)
 Hands-free speakerphone
 Downloadable, Assignable
ringtones
 Auto-sync (contacts, calendar
events, mail)
 3rd party apps required to sync
podcasts, music, movies, etc.)
Physical & Motor

Notable Features:
 Speech-to-text
capabilities – Available
as a separate app like
Voice Search or Voice
Dialer, also imbedded
in default onscreen
keyboard (i.e., Evo 4G)
Physical & Motor

Notable Features:
 Swype Keyboard (example shown is Evo 4G) – Alternative
keyboard input method where using literally drags finger
across keyboard to choose characters
Physical & Motor

Notable Features:
 Talkback, Kickback, Soundback – While these features were
designed with low vision/blind users in mind, they could be
especially useful for individuals with physical/motor difficulties.

For example, Talkback can read notifications, emails and
messages (with 3rd party support), thus enabling a user to receive
certain information without having to pick up the phone.
Physical & Motor

Notable Features:

Long Press – You can use a long press to open menus that are specific to the
active item - think of it like opening a context menu on a PC.

Examples –
1.
Performing a long press on a song in the Music player application in
Android 2.2 will open a menu that allows you to add or remove it from a
playlist.
2.
Long press of the Home key opens the most recently used applications
3.
Long press of the Search key opens the Voice Search app
Accessible Android Phones[12]

T-Mobile G2 (v2.2)
LG Ally (v2.1)
Samsung Epic 4G (v2.1)
Motorola Droid (v2.2)
HTC Dream (v1.6)

Not so accessible Android Phone – HTC Evo 4G

Demo – Android OS Accessibility features previously discussed
Demo – HTC Evo 4G vs. Samsung Epic 4G (specific focus on navigation
using speech)





Review Questions
1.
In what version of the Android
operating system did accessibility
start to be incorporated?
2.
Which mobile OS’ are supported by
Google and Apple, respectively?
Any questions about the Android OS?
iOS Accessibility (i.e., iPod, iPhone, iPad)
Important Facts about the iOS

Arguably, the most exciting mobile OS in the world!!

Versions are same across all platforms (i.e., iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad).
 What does this mean?
 More uniformity in terms of accessibility
 No learning curve - If you know how to use one device, it is easy to
use another
 User experiences are the same!

Apps that come with OS (i.e. mail, messaging, calendar, contacts, notes,
calculator, internet, app store, maps) are accessible
Vision

VoiceOver – Same gesture-based
screen reader that is available on
Mac OS
 Available on the iPad, iPhone
3GS/4G, and iPod Touch

Support for up to 21 different
languages

Very important feature: Can be
enabled without sighted
assistance using a compatible
screen reader and latest version
of iTunes
Vision cont.…

VoiceOver reading
features:
 Voice rate adjustment
 Rotor adjustment – Text
navigation by
character/word
 Speak auto-text
 Full support for all built-in
applications (i.e., Phone,
Mail, iTunes, Safari, Maps)
Vision cont.…

Zoom/Contrast Settings:
 Very important feature: Can be
enabled without sighted
assistance using a compatible
screen reader and latest version
of iTunes
 Allows full-screen magnification
 Double tap with 3 fingers
instantly zooms in and out 200%.
Double tap and drag 3 fingers to
adjust magnification between
100% and 500%
 Reverse video can be used with
both Zoom and VoiceOver
Vision cont.…

Other notable features:
 Tactile buttons
 Audible, visible, and
vibrating alerts
 Support for Bluetooth
compatible refreshable
braille displays. Braille
displays with input keys
can be used to control iOS
Hearing

Support for playback of captions
(open, closed, subtitles)

Instant messaging/chat
 Apps available in App Store (e.g.,
AIM, Yahoo. MSN, Google Talk)
 Multimedia Message Service
(MMS) – supports text messages
with multimedia attachments

TTY Support – requires iPhone TTY
adapter
Hearing cont.…

Audible, Visible, and vibrating alerts

Visual Voicemail
 Allows you to view all of your
voicemails at once, read in order
of preference
 Control playback

Mono Audio – route both audio
channels into each earbud so that
you can hear both channels in each
ear (very useful for individuals with
hearing loss in one ear)
Hearing cont.…

Notable Features:
 Video Chat using Facetime
 Users have the ability to
chat in real-time using
front-facing cameras on
the Mac, iPhone, iPad, or
iPod Touch
 Free for iPhone and iPod
touch users, $0.99 in Mac
App Store for Mac users
Physical & Motor

Stereo headset – control
music playback,
answer/end calls

On-screen keyboard with
predictive text entry –
learns as you type, allow
user to increase text
input speed over time
Physical & Motor cont.…

Voice Control
 Supports 21 different
languages

Allows user to play
music and make phone
calls
Physical & Motor cont.…
Tactile Buttons
 Hands-free speakerphone
 Downloadable,
Assignable ringtones
 Auto-sync (music,
movies, podcasts,
contacts, calendar
events, etc.)

Physical & Motor cont.…

Demo – iPod Touch and iPad 16GB WiFi
Review Questions
1.
Which mobile OS’ are supported by
Google and Apple, respectively?
2.
iOS supports wireless (Bluetooth)
refreshable braille displays?
Any questions about iOS?
Other Mobile Operating Systems,
Resources, Etc.
GARI Project

Stands for ‘Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative’
 http://www.mobileaccessibility.info

GARI Project is a way for manufacturers of mobile devices to
provide consumers with disabilities and other limitations with
a universal accessibility features database that can be used
when learning about what a particular mobile device offers in
terms of accessibility.
Nokia/Symbian OS
Symbian is the mobile OS for all Nokia handsets. As Nokia is the
leader in smartphone market share (~36%) worldwide[8] and it
is popular everywhere…except in the US.
Nokia/Symbian OS cont.…

Nokia emphasizes accessibility!
 http://www.nokiaaccessibility.com

Member of the Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative
(GARI) Project – http://www.mobileaccessibility.info
Nokia/Symbian OS cont.…
Vision
 3rd party Text-to-speech
available using Nuance
Talks & Zooms or
Mobile Speak ($89)

Mobile Speak demo
Nokia/Symbian OS cont.…
Vision
 Nokia TTS Reader
 Reads text messages,
multimedia messages, and
emails
 Available on compatible Nokia
Series 60 phones

Nokia Magnifier ($89)
 Uses existing camera
functionality
 Available on compatible Nokia
Series 60 phones
Nokia/Symbian OS cont.…
Hearing
 Lower RF emissions for
hearing aid compatibility
 Most models are compatible
with TTYs
 Nokia Wireless Loopset for
hearing aid users
 Newer Nokia E5 handset
comes with Mobile Captions
Service preinstalled – allows
user to receive captions
directly on their cell phone
Nokia/Symbian OS cont.…
Mobility

Dished keys to make it easier to use a mouthstick or other device to dial

Audio/voice interaction with user interface eliminating need to see or grasp
phone

Speakerphone with voice-activated answering

Speech-independent name dialing

Voice dialing, voice recorder, and voice commands with integrated hands-free
speaker

Bluetooth functionality

Eyelets for connecting lanyards
Nokia/Symbian OS cont.…
Cognition






Dial-out buffer memory allowing for
more time to complete a process
Phone books with images for easy
identification
Audio, visual or vibrating alerts
Keys provide audio, visual and tactile
feedback when pressed
Pre-recorded voice commands to
control phone functions
Distinct sounds and on-screen icons
alert you to network strength and
battery level





Friendly screen layouts
Familiar language and descriptive
icons
Functionality that’s consistent from
screen to screen, menu to menu
Help menus designed to anticipate
the information being sought
Keypad shortcuts to make every step
quick and efficient
Other Tools available for Symbian OS

Mobile Magnifier ($89)









Magnification levels from 1.25x to 16x
Can be used with or without speech
Font-smoothing for easier readability
Three different layouts: full-screen, split
and distributed view
Different color schemes, including
inverted color
Automatic panning and cursor-tracking
Automatic zoom function that detects
areas of interest on the screen
Works with Windows Mobile and
Symbian OS
Available through AT&T Partnership
Other Tools available for Symbian OS cont…

Mobile Speak ($89)












Make and receive calls, emails, text messages.
Manage your contacts and call lists.
Review the numbers entered in the dialer screen, and check the caller ID on incoming calls.
Browse the Internet.
Manage the calendar to schedule appointments and keep track of them using alarms and reminders.
Create text and voice notes.
Perform calculations.
Listen to music and podcasts.
Configure phone settings, profiles and ringtones, speed dial keys and voice tags.
Share data between your device and other mobile phones and computers.
Works with Windows Mobile and Symbian OS
Available through AT&T Partnership
Nokia/Symbian OS cont.…
AT&T Partnership
 Started in 2007, AT&T customers can purchase a supported
Symbian Series 60 or Windows Mobile Standard
smartphone with a Code Factory screen reader or screen
magnification application from AT&T.

Currently supported devices (taken from AT&T website):
 Nokia Surge™(6790)
 Nokia E71x
Nokia/Symbian OS Updates
Current State: Until this year, Symbian was the primary OS for
all Nokia handsets. As Nokia is the leader in smartphone
market share worldwide[8], it is popular everywhere…except in
the US.
Until Sept. 2010, the Symbian OS was sold primarily on Nokia
and Sony-Ericsson handsets. Since that time, Sony-Ericsson has
adopted Android[7] and Nokia has partnered with Microsoft to
market Windows Mobile 7[8] as their primary mobile OS.
Nokia/Symbian OS Updates cont…
What does this mean for Symbian’s future?
Not entirely sure right now. There are still millions of Symbian
users out there worldwide and many more phones that will still
be sold. However, it seems to have very little future of ever
gaining a foot hold in the US Market.
Windows Mobile OS

Recently released version – Windows Phone 7 (WP7)
 Microsoft started over – This version was a complete rework of the Windows Mobile platform
 As a result, none of the applications that ran on previous
versions will run on this one.
 Different levels of accessibility expected – Similar to
Android, the OS will be supported by major manufacturers
like HTC, Samsung, LG, Dell, Nokia, and LG.
Windows Mobile OS cont.…
There are basic accessibility
features:


Speakerphone, Bluetooth, Phone books
with images for easy identification,
Audio/visual/vibrating alerts, SMS
messaging, IM, predictive text, gesture
support, and other features that may
depend on the model of the phone
Most Notable features:
 “Live Tiles” – Offers friendly home
screen with large tiles/pictures, large
print notifications (i.e., email,
messaging, social media, etc.). The
ability to pin contacts, apps, etc. to the
home screen makes for easier
navigation.
Windows Mobile OS cont.…

More Notable features:

TTY Support

Speech recognition support for
making calls, searching the
web, or opening applications
Windows Mobile OS cont.…
Windows Mobile 6.5

Windows Mobile 6.5 is still available on
some newer model phones (.e., HTC Touch
Pro 2 from Sprint, HTC Imagio from Verizon,
Samsung Jack from AT&T). Older models
still enjoy some support as well.

This version of Windows Mobile was
considered to be very accessible.
 Required 3rd party apps like Mobile
Speaks and Mobile Magnifier to provide
full access to the OS for individuals with
low vision and blindness

Important Note: Support timeline??
Blackberry OS

Blackberry Accessibility mentions many of the same features that support access to their products
for individuals with disabilities (i.e., vision, hearing, mobility, cognitive).

Most notable features:
 Physical keyboards, Tactile buttons
 Audible, visible, and vibrating alerts
 Contrast settings, etc.
 Text messaging (SMS or MMS)
 Support for closed and/or open captioned
multimedia (select Blackberry models)
 Predictive text, auto-text
 Shortcut keys
 Voice notes, voice dialing
3rd party text-to-speech with
Oratio (Humanware, Inc.)
•
•
•
•
•
•
Manage instant messaging, emails,
SMS and MMS.
Make and receive calls with access to
caller ID on incoming calls.
Manage contacts and call log.
Schedule appointments and tasks
with alarms and reminders.
Access to the phone's settings, ring
tones and speed dials.
Only available on Blackberry Curve
8250 smartphone from AT&T [10]
Clarity Theme for Blackberry
Smartphones
•
Available for free from Blackberry App World
•
Simplified, easy-to-use Home screen interface
•
Large, text-only icons on the Home screen
•
High-contrast screen displayed in dark on light
or light on dark
•
Clickable header that allows you to easily
switch between Date and Time or Battery and
Network level views
Review Questions
1.
Oratio for Blackberry is available
for most Blackberry smartphone?
2.
Which smartphone manufacturer
markets the Symbian OS?
Any questions about any of the other
mobile OS’ that we just covered?
Summary
 Trends
 Most
in mobile technology
popular mobile OS’
Blackberry (workplace)
 Android OS (personal/business)
 iOS (personal)

 Most
Accessible??
References
1.
Android fastest growing smartphone OS in U.S., survey finds - Computerworld. (n.d.). . Retrieved May 7, 2011,
from
http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9199499/Android_fastest_growing_smartphone_OS_in_U.S._survey_fi
nds
2.
E Textbooks A Fast Growing Trend For Entrepreneurs And Tablet Makers - Pressed - Portfolio.com. (n.d.). .
Retrieved May 8, 2011, from http://www.portfolio.com/views/blogs/pressed/2011/02/25/e-textbooks-a-fastgrowing-trend-for-entrepreneurs-and-tablet-makers/
3.
Mobile Trends: Smartphone Usage and Penetration in Latin America and the United States | Antonio Altamirano.
(n.d.). . Retrieved May 7, 2011, from http://www.altamirano.org/mobile-technology/smartphones-penetrationusa-latin-america/
4.
Smartphones Outsell PCs. (n.d.). . Retrieved May 7, 2011, from
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/smartphones_outsell_pcs.php
5.
The Future is Here: e-Textbook Sales Increase 3000 Percent | Barnes & Noble College News. (n.d.). . Retrieved
May 8, 2011, from http://www.bncnews.com/the-future-is-here-e-textbooks-grow-3000-percent
References cont.…
6.
TNS survey: Smartphones gain traction for both businesses and consumers. (n.d.). . Retrieved May 7,
2011, from http://www.tnsglobal.com/news/news-EBE5DD9AE77B4A09AB7FA6B1AF0E4BE2.aspxIDC
smartphone shipment figures for Q1 2011 - All About Symbian. (n.d.). . Retrieved May 10, 2011, from
http://www.allaboutsymbian.com/news/item/12858_IDC_smartphone_shipment_figure.php
7.
Sony-Ericsson Chooses Android Over Symbian: So What?: Tech News and Analysis «. (n.d.). . Retrieved
May 10, 2011, from http://gigaom.com/2010/09/27/sony-ericsson-chooses-android-over-symbian-sowhat/
8.
Why Nokia can’t crack the U.S. market - Sep. 16, 2010. (n.d.). . Retrieved May 10, 2011, from
http://money.cnn.com/2010/09/16/technology/nokia/index.htm
9.
Tablet Sales to Spike in 2011, Forrester Says - NYTimes.com. (n.d.). . Retrieved May 11, 2011, from
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/04/tablet-sales-to-spike-in-2011-forrester-says/
Contact Information
Assistive Technology Initiative (ATI)
George Mason University
Aquia Building, Room 238
Hours: M-F, 8:30am-5:00pm
Office Phone: 703-993-4329
TTY: (703) 259-0179, Fax: (703) 993-4743
E-mail: [email protected]
Web: http://ati.gmu.edu
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Accessing Mobile Technologies: