Talkback Android Accessibility for Multilingual Apps
Nearly 2.2 billion people suffer from vision impairment globally. If you are planning to launch your app in multiple markets, then integrating accessibility features and services as early as feasible into the Android internationalization process might help you expand the reach of your app. This guide will demonstrate how to build accessibility into your Android app so that it can support all users regardless of vision impairment.
This will demonstrate android accessibility and talkback along with exploring its various features. These include:
● Navigating a Screen With Talkback
● Internationalising Numbers
● Internationalising Date Formats
● Supporting Multiple Languages
● Content Descriptors
● Support design/layout
In addition to this, an Android app development company in the UK may assist you in creating a multilingual app or integrating the features to maximise the potential of untapped markets.
Let’s understand what Android Accessibility is.
What Is Android Accessibility?
This is the ability of Android devices to make the user interface accessible to people with visual disabilities. The goal of Android accessibility is to provide an experience similar to that of a typical touchscreen smartphone for users who cannot use their hands.
The modern accessible approach to mobile development is to integrate accessibility requirements into the earliest phases of design and development, and all stages of testing.
Android Accessibility Features Include:
Android has several accessibility features and services under its Settings, most notably the TalkBack screen reader.
The accessibility features offered through Android allow users to customize their devices based on their needs and preferences.
Text-to-speech (TTS) technology can read text on the screen in various languages.
Gesture controls let users swipe left or right on the screen to move between apps. Gestures can also be used as shortcuts, such as opening an app by swiping up from its icon.
Voice recognition software reads aloud whatever’s on the screen at any time — no matter how much text there is!
What is Talkback?
Talkback is a voice-controlled screen reader application for Android devices. The app allows users with visual impairments to read the text on the screen
The app can be used with other screen readers like Orca or VoiceOver. It also has a built-in dictionary that allows users to look up words by simply saying them aloud, so they don’t have to remember what each word means from context.
Navigating a Screen With Talkback
Talkback is an accessibility feature that allows users to navigate apps on their smartphones and tablets by speaking aloud and listening for an associated action. Talkback is not a replacement for keyboard input but can be used in conjunction with speech recognition software.
Users browse a mobile app screen by swiping from left to right. Following each swipe, Talkback announces the items on the screen. When the user swipes from top to bottom, Talkback stays focused on that element and suggests related actions. Talkback also supports right-to-left (RTL) layouts, making touch gestures easier for users who read from right-to-left languages or have difficulty using touch screens with one hand due to disability or other affliction.
Here are the steps to use this feature:
1. Select the Talkback icon in the Menu bar.
2. If you are navigating with Talkback, select the TalkBack navigation mode. This will turn on TalkBack and make it easier for you to use TalkBack to navigate your screen.
3. Open an application or program and then move your cursor to any point on the screen that you would like to navigate with Talkback.
4. When you have found what you are looking for, press the Spacebar or click an object or button on your screen (like a button) and then speak your command for that item (e.g., “Move Up” or “Print”).
5. When you have finished speaking, press Stop, Return or Esc to end talking and return to normal navigation mode (no longer using talkback).
Talkback reads out numbers using various units depending on the locale and formatting of the number.
The following steps are used to internationalise numbers:
1. Identify the country you want your number to be used.
2. Create a new record for each country you want to use.
3. Internationalise the record by setting its currency, decimal separator and thousands separator to match your chosen country’s format of these values.
4. Create an account for each country that will be able to see your number (the account should have the same email address as your Talkback account).
5. Set up a translation table so that Talkback can automatically translate between your chosen currency and other currencies it supports (this is done by clicking on the “Translate” button when creating a new account).
Internationalising Date Formats
Talkback can also announce dates according to the phone’s locality. However, it’s key not to use hard-coded strings for this to happen. Use the DateTimeFormatter class to take advantage of Talkback’s localised dates.
Here are the steps involved:
The Talkback feature is a great way to have an instant conversation with your users. It’s also a great way to internationalise your product:
1. Internationalise the date format. The first step to do is to change the app’s date format. This can be done by adding a new feature to your current app or by creating a separate app that contains only the feature and its calls (i.e., the Talkback feature).
2. Add a message for each call. For each of these calls, add a message for the user in their native language or dialect (e.g., “The date is %s”).
3. Test! After you’ve added all of these messages, test them using different languages and dialects and see how they work together with your other features (e.g., chat).
Supporting Multiple Languages
Imagine you had a piece of text in your app, for example, an address or a name, which is fixed and should be shown in a specific locale, irrespective of the phone’s set locale.
The latest version of Talkback can automatically switch languages. For example, it can identify the language of the text, English (“Hello”) and Hindi (“नमस्ते”), and is also able to announce the text accurately.
To support multiple languages with your Talkback installation, follow these steps:
1. Log in to your account on the site.
2. Click on the “Settings” menu item.
3. Click on “Language Settings” under the “General” heading.
4. Select the desired language from the drop-down list at the top of this page.
Talkback can recognise view items on Android and announce their kind and description using accessibility APIs. For every image or button that doesn’t have text for the screen reader to read, you should add a content description. You can set the content description to @null if the element is not required to understand what is displayed on the screen. This will enable TalkBack and other screen readers to completely skip the element and move on to the next item in the view.
Some languages, including Urdu, Hebrew, and others, are read left to right. Talkback can recognise these languages automatically and announce the view elements in RTL rather than LTR.
However, the layout must support RTL or Talkback won’t work. The TextViews are currently fixed to the left and right sides of the parent view.
Steps for Supporting Design With Talkback
Step 1: Set up a design chat room for discussions about the design of a product or service.
Step 2: Invite your team to participate in this conversation, so that everyone can discuss the same thing at the same time.
Step 3: Use a chatroom tool like Slack or Google Hangouts to facilitate this conversation.
Step 4: Set up a separate page where you can post links and screenshots, so users can reference them easily.
This blog showed us how to use the Talkback service for Android Accessibility’s internationalisation of apps. By incorporating accessibility features early on in the Android process, you can increase the visibility of your app and, potentially increase usage.
If you want to make an app with these kinds of features you can talk with Ficode Technologies, a custom android app development company in the UK. You can also avail of our Manual Software Testing Services and Manual QA Services in the UK.
Don’t hesitate to send us your queries at email@example.com our team will be happy to assist you.