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setting up Droid 2 for my blind sister

OP OneStepAhead

5th September 2010, 07:01 PM   |  #1  
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My sister lost her vision last year at the age of 24 due to diabetic retinapothy. She is missing be able to text message, facebook, celeb gossip... you know, the important things in life We initially bought the Droid X for her, but It's going back in exchange for the Droid 2, which should be here on 9/9/10.

Problem with the X is the Android Eyes Free Shell and the Talking Dialer make use of either a trackball or a directional pad. The Droid X has neither. It's also difficult to navigate pretty much everything blind without a d-pad. Should of thought of that earlier. Oh well, the exchange process is very easy. The Android Eyes Free team developed the software around the Nexus one i assume, which has a trackball. Personally i think a d-pad is better for a blind person, as you can press down once to go down once. A trackball you might go down 2 or 3 depending on how much you rotate it.

I'm going to be updating this thread with our progress as well as what steps we took along the way. Hopefully this will end up being helpful for someone else in a similar situation. Blind people DO use the internet (even youtube!).

Here are the initial changes I want to make:
  • Locating Touch Sensitive buttons

    I will go to a craft store and find something to put below the 4 touch sensitive buttons on the front of the phone, this way she will be able to find them. Im thinking 4 drops of some puffy glitter glue or something to that effect. Being diabetic she's also lost somesensitivity in her fingers, so something with texture will be needed.


  • Removing the Lock Screen

    Slide to unlock is basically an impossible task for a blind person. The Droid 2 uses the stock vanilla lock screen I believe, does anyone know how to remove it? I could potentially replace it with a "shake to unlock" or whatever, and ideas here are appreciated.


  • Answering the phone

    Again, here slide to answer isn't going to fly. Does anyone know: If you slide the keyboard out while the phone is ringing does it answer the call? Most slider phones I've seen operated like that, I'm hoping the Droid 2 does too. She will also have a bluetooth headset which should make it easy to answer, but if your blind trying to find your bluetooth headset in time to answer the call can be a problem, so i'd like her to be able to answer the phone without a headset as well.


  • Hanging up the phone

    Can you slide the keyboard shut to end a call? What happens if your on a call and you slide the keyboard out and then closed, does that hang up the call? Another solution would be to make it so the power button hangs up the call, surely it can be remapped do that. Or is there an end call button somewhere on the hardware qwerty?

Ok, those are the first major things. Actually dialing a call is no problem once we get past the lock screen issue. She can double tap the home button to launch the voice dialer, or she can use the Android Eyes Free "Talking Dialer" to dial a number with her finger using swipe motions. It's pretty neat actually, give it a try if you haven't already. The Eyes Free Shell and the Moto Voice Command will take care of pretty much everything else.

Thanks in advance for your help!
Last edited by OneStepAhead; 5th September 2010 at 07:08 PM.
5th September 2010, 09:52 PM   |  #2  
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I can confirm that the Droid 2 does NOT answer when sliding the phone open and does NOT hang up when sliding closed. Just tested this.

Edit: forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=762101
View that thread and search the app "no lock" in the market. Seems to do what you are looking for in the marketplace. You may also want to contact the developer to see about source code or see if it was a .apk that was removed.

Also in response to the glue idea:
I would test on another device because the screen has to be able to sense your impulse as well because it wont trigger unless it has a touch by a human hand. My guess it it reads the electronic pulse by the skin and that is how it picks it up.
Last edited by theecho; 5th September 2010 at 10:12 PM.
6th September 2010, 02:32 AM   |  #3  
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about the unlock screen, I can say is once you do it enough times you know where is on the screen, I usually unlock mine while its not even all the way out of my pocket, also it vibrates when you touch the unlock area and it vibrates again as you pull it to the right...hope this helps
8th September 2010, 02:23 PM   |  #4  
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I don't have an Android phone yet, but I've seen a nice replacement for the stock locker, called WidgetLocker. You can modify it a lot (add your own apps, widgets etc.) but the most important thing for you is that you can move the unlock slider down to the bottom of the screen so it would be easier to unlock it.
Of course, the best solution is to remove completely the locker, but I don't know whether it's possible, so I'm just giving you another option
11th September 2010, 03:04 AM   |  #5  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamill

I don't have an Android phone yet, but I've seen a nice replacement for the stock locker, called WidgetLocker. You can modify it a lot (add your own apps, widgets etc.) but the most important thing for you is that you can move the unlock slider down to the bottom of the screen so it would be easier to unlock it.
Of course, the best solution is to remove completely the locker, but I don't know whether it's possible, so I'm just giving you another option


This page has been a big help: http://eyes-free.googlecode.com/svn/...ss/basics.html

Above link talked about No Lock, an app on the market that removes the lock screen. Although it turns out she is actually able to unlock the phone blindly, but it usually takes her a few tries. For now we are going with no lock...

Also the Droid 2 has an option in the Accessibility page to enable "use power button to end call" so that has been a big help.

So far the biggest problem with the Droid 2 is the keyboard really sucks for a blind person. The navigation keys are kind of awkwardly placed, and the keys are very flat. I wish I would of known about the LG Ally, as the appears to be the best Android phone for a blind person. Has physical buttons on the front to start/end calls, and the keyboard is WAY better (for a blind person anyways). Unfortunately Verizon only lets you exchange a phone 1 time, and we already bought the Droid X. So looks like I'd have to sell the Droid 2 and buy the LG Ally on eBay. Not sure if we are going to go that route.. might just try and make the best of it with the Droid 2.
12th September 2010, 02:38 AM   |  #6  
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I have a LG Ally wits a protective rubber case, invisible shield screen protector, and 2 batteries which I'm not currently using. I'll do a straight up trade for your Droid 2.

Sent from my DROID2 using XDA App
20th September 2010, 11:22 AM   |  #7  
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Made my account to reply to this (And because I got my Droid 2 2 days ago). Will be watching this thread. My son is 2 and nearly blind. We are exploring any and all ways to work around it. I'm currently learning braille so I can teach him, and looking into how to make phones and computers more usable for him. Hopefully your sister handles what's happened well and finds ways to keep up her life, goals, and hobbies

Thanks for posting this. Good luck with the project and keep us updated, please!
13th January 2011, 05:07 AM   |  #8  
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Question Need some help here too
Hi there,

This seems to be the only forum that I can find on this subject. I will definitely be checking out the LG Ally but I'm also looking at the Droid 2 Global (which my partner has bought for himself and I have been testing out).

I am a blind person with little vision and I have to find a smart phone that works for me, as I have hit the point where I need to access my work email, work calendar, and browser functions do be more efficient and effective.

The blackberry is out, as it doesn't work for blind people through Verizon.

The IPhone, though just coming out from Verizon, does seem to have a great VoiceOver application which works great for a blind person. However, I'm not sure I'm patient enough to type without a keyboard--though it is possible for a blind person to use it.

Your points about the LG Ally are helpful for me. Does it have an accessibility application like the Droid 2 Global?

In testing out the Droid Two Global, I have enabled the "accessibility application" and checked the read out checkbox in the settings. It has abled me to see most stuff and some of the pieces you put up on the post will help. What I am struggling with is the following:

When I access any part of the browser application, it doesn't read the page of the web site or any of the links. I'm wondering if there are key combinations I am not femiliar with that would make this work or does it do it at all?

Also, the calendar is not reading things to me as well. Any ideas?

In general, is there a button that I can press, that will get it to repete something or to read a screen. I currently am just arrowing back and forth to choose something. I also can hit the OK button when typing a message to read what is in the edit box.

The last issue, though I think it would get much easier as I used it, is that to dial just a phone number seems to take a bit longer. But, I just tried using the voice dialer and it quickly got much easier. lol

I also wonder if the Accessibility application is the only one you are installing. Should I be installing something else to give me more functionality

Sorry for the long-winded questions but I really can't seem to find other assistance on this.

Thanks,
Jeremy Grandstaff
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13th January 2011, 08:03 AM   |  #9  
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Hi Jeremy,

I think you will get the best answers to your questions on Google's eyes-free group (I'm not allowed to post outside links on this forum, or I would have given you the URL).

On that list many blind Android phone users report accessibility issues and workarounds, and the list is monitored by Google's Android accessibility developers. Android web accessibility is indeed still very limited, as is text editing support.

Best regards,
14th January 2011, 04:53 AM   |  #10  
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Smile Posted my question also to the eyes-free group
Thanks for the reply. I did post my message to the Google eyes-free group, but felt I would get a fuller response here as well.

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