We are pushing out a series of updates via Android Market for TalkBack and the Eyes-Free Shell. Here is a brief overview of end-user visible changes.
Going by the principle of things should just work as expected , we have long resisted giving in to having a complex set of user preference settings for TalkBack and friends --- in my experience, if you introduce such a settings menu early on, we as software engineers tend to punt on all complex decisions by turning each question into a complex user-facing dialog. That said, it is now time to gradually introduce end-user settings for some aspects of the various accessibility tools.
Welcome new application AccessibilityPreferences to Android. What this application does:
- From an end-user perspective, it provides a single place where you will find preference settings corresponding to each accessibility tool you have installed on your phone.
- For developers of accessibility tools, it provides a simple means of registering a custom program for managing end-user preferences for that tool.
TalkBack installs its user preferences under this tool. You can tweak a number of settings that affect TalkBack behavior including:
- Control whether TalkBack speaks when the screen is off --- useful to silence status messages when you have the phone turned off.
- Control whether TalkBack speaks when ringer volume is set to 0, i.e., phone is in silent mode.
- Control whether the proximity sensor is used to shut off speech.
Over time, we'll add more settings here as appropriate --- but expect us to be conservative with respect to how many settings show up.
Updates To The Eyes-Free Shell
Here is a summary of updates to the Eyes-Free Shell:
- Changes the proximity sensor logic so that it is only active when the shell is active; this should be more battery efficient
- Fixes a race condition bug that can trigger when the shell is being exited as an application is being installed/removed
Here is a summary of changes to TalkBack:
- TalkBack now includes application-specific speech strategies for some popular applications. This provides context-sensitive spoken feedback.
- Applications that have such speech strategies defined include Facebook, Stitcher and GoogleVoice amongst others.
- Implements a settings screen that can be used with Accessibility Preferences
- Available settings:
- Ringer Volume (Speak at all ringer volumes, No speech in Silent Mode, No speech in Vibrate and Silent Mode)
- Screen Status (Allow speech when screen is off, No speech when screen is off)
- Speak Caller ID (checked/not checked)
- Proximity Sensor (checked/not checked)
In addition, TalkBack introduces the ability to add application-specific plugins --- expect to see more advancement here in future releases.
AccessibilityPreferences Hints For Developers
If you're a developer of an AccessibilityService, you need to:
- Implement a preferences screen for your application.
- Implement this with intent filter:
<action android:name="android.intent.action.MAIN" />
<category android:name="android.accessibilityservice.SERVICE_SETTINGS" />
Share And Enjoy,