Smartphone for blind person – experience the real operation

Smartphone for blind person – experience the real operation


To the Editor often come different articles – some naive, some perfectly written, but repeated already told stories. Sometimes come texts that are striking. So, I wanted to write a very long article about how blind people use modern devices. We even recorded a podcast about it – but the reaction was very strange blind, they all attacked the one who helped me. Why I chose it, not theirs. Better than he?

Nothing. Just a man with whom I spoke on twitter and he agreed to help. Trouble he then had lots of emotional tweets read about him was difficult. To a blind man from the other blind. It is possible that this is a problem in our society. I do not know. But on the topic when I refused. When I came to this text, I was on a trip to the factory Lenovo. Long thought, as will be perceived that the person chosen as the smartphone product of this brand. And then just gave up on it. Any how will look. It is important that the text is useful and unique. I have not read this anywhere. I do not know of the world, like most sighted people. Although it is part of our world.

So I have to ask you – do not criticize the author, he dictated the text as I could. Give him five better support him – maybe he will write other articles, which we gladly publish.

Lenovo P780 in the hands of the blind

Today suggest that we return to a recognized hit 2013 – Lenovo P780 smartphone and look at it with a new and unfamiliar to many parties. This review will not screenshots, colorful photos, application details and everything else that does not matter to the user with vision, at least in the first stage of dating touch smartphone.

For many blind transition from dying push sensor devices – a complex question, I would say, turning. Habitual years Nokia’s Symbian obsolete and almost disappeared from the market. Alternative – the only sensor that in the hands of the blind forces to change habits and philosophy interact with the gadget. At some point I realized I was not ready to continue to wait until the market will modern functional push-button unit, fully accessible to me. I’ll tell you about what drew helped or hindered in my first touchscreen smartphone.

There is hope that my observations will fall into the hands of the manufacturer, so that engineers and programmers look at their work through the eyes of the blind.

Marketing Works

So, I got into the hands of Lenovo P780 with four gigabytes of internal memory and serial firmware on board. The reasons that I fell for this model, do not differ from those that other users. Powerful battery for four thousand blind – this, believe me, very strong “for” guarantee of confidence and stability, the ability to use the phone and a lot of useful programs without problems to disable GPS, vlan, Bluetooth and extra applications. Every half-hour conversation, an hour of music, half an hour browsing social networks and Youtube, radio twelve hours (sleep under it and always listen to the truck) – in a TT smart live three days without any savings.

It’ll take quite a powerful processor, after which the old Nokia E50 to take over no longer want, and frisky GPS-module, which is extremely useful for reliable navigation blind. Two slots for SIM cards also have value when.

There were some doubts about the five-inch screen, which initially seemed big for my modest goals, but as it turned out, the size advantage turned into tactile perception buttons, shortcuts, widgets, and text quite large fingers. It is with podglyada you can get exactly the desired label small display, and for the guidance and formation of a blind tactile memory needed screen space.

Relationship to the touch

In general, the gadget gives you a feeling of owning the machine and a decent standard of build quality. No squeaks, not loose. All brutal, it is clear to my fingers and not too experienced in the art of brains. At the same time, it is a computer, not a phone with the prefix “smart.” Once you get used to this idea, the unit becomes much dearer.

There is an opinion that swing the volume control on the right edge – it is somewhat inconvenient. Personally, I had an arrangement like – done right thumb righties. But the on-off button, I would not put on the right side of the top edge, and the left, swapping places with its headphone jack. The fact that this button is for the convenience of a blind person also serves as the call is completed – in the settings P780 bears a very handy option. To reach her right index finger, still need some effort. Take your smartphone in your left hand, and you will understand the difference. Handed it convenient. Probably the best compromise or accommodation would be key in the middle of the top edge.

Touch buttons Menu, Home and Back, which prejudiced many blind, did not cause me any trouble. They are located at a convenient distance from each other, so that after a couple of hours fingers unerringly found their bottom.

Under easy opening aluminum cover everything was clear as day. No brittle holders and slots for training nails. Dual sim card and memory card fit into place easily grope easily retract and extend. Here the nest to stick present cherished Reset button just in case of emergency.However, to touch her, I found immediately.

In the tactile and mechanical aspects I have no more reasons to find fault with P780 – machine close to the ideal. On Top headphone jack and covered with a plug connector USB, sorry about what some people – is, in my opinion, is just a matter of habit.

Features of behavior

Read about the problems with the work of individual users in the second microphone noise reduction system, due to which the source is no longer hear your voice. Within four months of use Lenovo P780 in working daily routine with this problem I did encounter. But it was only in the moments when he spoke in the supine position and the machine has been turned to the right edge of the earth. Funny, but when you turn on your side, accepting a sitting or standing position problem magically disappears. What microphones work somehow depends on your position relative to the ground – virtually a medical fact. Chinese do not like to be lazy and lazy people do not respect.

Other strange behavior of the gadget is not found. Several cases of arbitrary reboot the machine, a single system to hang and a single failure blocked off by pressing the smart phone – that’s all that could be put in the category of rebuke manufacturer hardware problems.Compare with P780 promoted Korean Galaxy S3 mini my daughter and I understand how my Lenovo much more stable.

New habit – a new philosophy

I really liked the response function by applying smart phone to your ear, which, as I understand it, is implemented in the system Android.In conjunction with the completion of a call button off it gives independence from the sensor in the most common situations, the incoming call.

Hand to grasp five-inch Lenovo used quite bystro.No when I took the P780, I had forgotten that such use with one hand and a set of SMS without taking the unit out of pocket. This is the fee for the size and lack of buttons. Also took the habit to use in the truck during the shaking fingers when a split second can lose contact with the screen and there is a chance discovery applications.

If you are blind and decided to move the sensor, prepare for the choice: either people will next hear everything that reproduces the speech synthesizer of your gadget, or get used to the headphones. Tricks with leaning against a smart button to your ear to hear the softly tuned just for you voice synthesizer and physical buttons to set the new team, the sensor is not a ride, as the unit will respond to a random person or leaning against the ear. I use headphones in public places and getting used to the constant hands-free mode.

Nokia has developed since the time of the habit of putting the machine into his trouser pocket screen to the body, for once stumbled on a table leg and damaged matrix. When wearing the same style Lenovo p 780 sometimes willfully wakes state, apparently in response to body heat. So the old habit had to leave.

What else have to get used? Well, for example, to a set of additional digits during a call when calling a bank, mobile operator or taxi service. If on the keypad smartphone is done by hardware buttons on the touch of talk on the screen further called digital keyboard. Blind can hardly manage it, severing the head from the machine, as is usually the time of the conversation screen is locked and unlocked will have to keep some distance from the person in order to avoid uncontrolled taps. Thus it is necessary to hear and the sound of the pipes, and speech synthesizer odnovremenno.Zatrudneniya this particularly sensitive without headphones in noisy environments. Found no other way but to use hands-free mode. Probably a universal solution, a little smoothing the situation would become permanently open once or custom numeric keypad on the screen connection.

But during the call in the same window you can enable recording of the conversation on tape, use the hold, dial a third party, switch between headset and handsfree. In general, it is the question of change of habits.

Level of accessibility

Right out of the box Lenovo P780, like most other smartphones on Android, is not programmatically accessible for the blind, because screen readers Talk Back from Android is not preinstalled. Apparently, the manufacturer at this stage of his shell program does not consider it a priority direction. Nothing – and his time will come. As a guideline would result in an example Samsung and Nexus.

The problem of accessibility of the box only be solved with the help of a sighted assistant. You must login to Google (for this you will need a mailbox gmail) and then download the program to Play Market. After installing the Talk Back smartphone launched the Russian-language voice acting please. As it turned out, co talking to me the remote server Google, and broadcasts from Russian speech synthesizer. If you disable the mobile Internet or Wi-Fi, voice is lost and can not even go back to the coverage area of ​​Wi-Fi. I did not get to make it work whenever necessary. Talk Back from Google has no built-Russian synthesizer, and it is not the fault Lenovo, although some manufacturers, such as, Samsung, have in their arsenal embedded speech synthesizers own design.

In my case, with assistance in the application Talk Back I could enable the study of touch, use a textbook TB, giving a basic understanding of gesture control. After rebooting gadget Russian speech was lost and turned bourgeois smartphone.

For stable voice was raised voice Alena from Acapella. He is in Play Market and costs less than 4 euros. Alain, in my opinion, is stable, legible and closest to the living voice. The only time when it is observed fly – the machine is connected to the notebook mode flash drive.At the time of switching Alena as any third-party synths, pauses, and in its place comes alive synthesizer Google. Wakes up all the same remote Russian voice Talk Back, in other cases – English-language or machine into silence. Once the cable is disconnected, the synthesizer is running again. This is not a problem Android, Talk Back or Acapella, and is likely to feature the device Lenovo. On the other hand synthesizer “Captain” picture was the same. On a number of gadgets from other manufacturers colleagues on sight, this situation is not detected, and, in general, I think it is unimportant.

All manipulations with Talk Back and speech synthesizers produced in the “Special Features”. I want to note that the shell Lenovo P780 does not use all the features of this configuration section provided in a pure Android 4.2. Manufacturer spetsvozmozhnosti cut and sent some important options for the blind in the other sections of the settings:

  1. No inclusion of gestures increase, triggering a magnifying glass. It’ll take no options enable large text, which, however, found in another section of the settings. Both functions are relevant for the visually impaired, with the remainder of view.
  2. Hangup button off, smart response, management and Auto-rotate display password – all these items of special abilities transferred to other sections of the settings, although they are relevant and where the blind will adapt the machine for themselves. It would be convenient to duplicate them.
  3. No fast start, launching Talk Back at any time of the smartphone. In other words, there is no choice between startup when turned on and running during operation. Talk Back or working through the default startup or disabled in general, and to activate it you must take the help of a sighted person. Gestures on and off Talk Back differ, and therefore, the phone needs to quickly adapt to the needs of the blind and the sighted person. When departing Talk Back, and this happened a couple of times, for its resuscitation had to reboot.

Domestication and adaptation unit

At the first stage of development of the smartphone I had to abandon corporate Lenovo Launcher. Found that native factory shell is not voiced transition between desktops. Applications menu completely devoid sound even after disabling animations and does not respond to the vibration found shortcuts. It was a critical moment when I doubted that the smartphone will be tamed. The situation was resolved after you install a third-party Nova Launcher, which made the shell unit fully accessible.

With the notification bar the situation is better. Highlight here that you want to get used to, is the isolation of the control buttons internet, Bluetooth, navigation, flight regime of their inscriptions. If you hover over each of the five buttons arranged horizontally, they respond with numbers from 0 to 99. Text Labels groped below, and they are read only together, in a single line. A good workout memory to remember the meaning of each button, but it would be better labels were attached. Settings button phone, which is still below also not announced, but the removal of all notifications signed, as expected.

To help the notification panel I installed native and fully accessible widget power, where not enough, perhaps, only to enable / disable mobile internet. By the way, sorry. After synchronization widget controls and the Internet via GSM – no.

All settings Lenovo P780 were completely accessible to blind fingers and ears. The only slight complication – change the sound profiles.Here their names, as in the control panel buttons and cut off from screen reader to read a row in one line. Had to remember the sequence and mark the location profiles corresponding checkbox next activation. Later realized that it is a single procedure, because the vibrate and ring mode selected from the menu, turn off the phone, and the phone can automatically adjust the volume in your pocket and out.

Not too pleased with the implementation of the bunch phonebook, contacts, call history and dialing. In my opinion, this unit lacks a unified control logic blindly. For example, the menu dial keys when the Talk Back pressed double-tap, and similar functionality when creating a message to the person that is not in the address book, realized with a single click. Thus for dialing calls sounded button when their fingers are on the screen and keyboard silent messages and responds only when the finger leaves the button found at random. I would like to deal with a single algorithm in a very similar situations use the phone.

Another example – the comparison of lists of contacts and call log. Seemingly identical in application logic actually worked out differently. If the log next to each subscriber has a button, very convenient signed calling his name, the contact manager it is announced only a numerical value. First have to direct your finger on the contact, and then diligently to find the button for the call is strictly horizontal motion to the right. In practice, several times I was wrong when you call from the manager contacts. Trifle, of course, but it slows the daily work of the blind with the smartphone in its base assignment number.

Selecting a SIM card in a separate window when the telephone rings almost gives the owner a chance to make a mistake, you will not tell about the messages where unsigned submit button with different SIM cards just arranged one above the other to the right of the text input field. I did not even realized that the two of them, and at first could not understand why the messages leave the backup SIM card.The best solution would be to implement this function in an additional notification window similar to the algorithm of the call, or at least a simple signing keys.

Another drawback accessibility interface showed up in the notification window when a new SMS message. In the lower part there are four buttons: call, delete, and answer OK. The first two of them are not signed, with two other all right. Remember the value of each and get used simple, but what extra work the user if there are experts Lenovo, could lead the basic functions and interface control for uniformity?

Voice Search, which helps rapid deployment of SMS messages, posts on social networks, addresses and search queries in the P780 too.Skeptics who claimed that the service only works when the Internet, were confounded. But still found an ambush. Surprisingly, the voice input works everywhere except the most desired place for me – contact manager. Here on the left of the spacebar standard keyboard stuck key Google slashes. Keyboard to update the latest version of the situation has not changed in any way, which means the specifics of the device firmware. For the Blind is a serious disadvantage, and for producer – bug, especially if we take into account that in the same voice and Samsung Nexus contacts search function on the same keyboard has.

Problem can be avoided by finding contact voice search Google, but this way for me to be cumbersome and inefficient. Output found by establishing separate desktops shortcuts and folders for organizing contacts shortcut.

Manufacturer will not prevent rework P780 on the signatures to the most frequently used buttons, for example, the search is connected to and create a new contact in the phone book, searching and creating new SMS messages, filter calls sim cards in the magazine, investments in creating a message. Personally for me to court and signing would control buttons FM-radio and a voice recorder.

In working with social networks Lenovo P780, in general, turned a blind-friendly and much faster to use than push predecessors.However, here is what to improve. For example, the account must sign the menu buttons: Home, alert, informed and J. There are some oddities, and to use the keyboard to create a new tweet. For example, when you move the finger to the character he voiced, but when entered finger margin smartphone silent. There is no character removing device names only letters, and Russian for some reason does not respond. Prepared to send a tweet on the screen is unreadable. Rely on intuition, because the text of the tweet can be read only after its publication. VKontakte in this sense works almost flawlessly. Here the editing window is implemented in analogy with SMS problems with voice acting administered entered and deleted text no.

The beauty of Android in the richness of choice of external applications, among them the blind owner can always find more affordable.Play-music applications music I prefer a more intuitive player mounted in Total Commander, a built-in browser – available “fire fox.” Not yet chose a suitable e-mail-client. In embedded applications were available headers, but the content of the message bodies, unfortunately, can not be read.

Two sides of the same coin

Overall, Lenovo P780 made me a double impression. Close to the ideal tactile appeal, excellent technical capabilities, stability in operation, a functional Android – this is definitely a positive side of my experiences. She did not stop to enjoy every day. The other side – the lack of availability of the box, cropped and blurred by setting specific functional perhaps unfriendly native launcher unexamined algorithm access to basic functions of calls and messages, unsigned or torn from the signatures button. All this interferes with daily use, makes fight, act intuitively find workarounds, and, of course, essentially lubricates the holistic impression of this remarkable model.

I admit that part of the defects should be put on the look of the OS Android, which is said to have accessibility for the blind still lags behind iOS. If the correct information about the upcoming system update for the device immediately prior to version 4.4, then a number of problems can be removed by self-signing keys. At the time of writing the update on my gadget has not been received. I look forward to.

Lenovo P780, at least worthy of attention for blind users, especially those who love and know how to adapt the environment with their hands. Those who are used to getting ready flawless solutions, I advise to wait for the moment when the company Lenovo consciously undertake the implementation of the special capabilities of the operating system, for the availability of the shell and applications used.