Reading inaccessible screens on Android

As I use Android on everyday basis, I come across app screens where their content is not recognizable by screen readers such as TalkBack. While the best way to deal with such cases is for the developers of those apps to fix their accessibility problems, I figured out a way to read such screens by utilizing a single app in concert with Android’s “Share screen” feature. Read on to find out how this works.

What you need

  • A device that runs a version of Android that incorporates
    the “now on tap” feature (Android 6.0 or 7.0).
  • An app called Eye-D, downloadable from the Google Play Store.

How you do it

  • Install the Eye-D app first.
  • Open an app or a screen where TalkBack cannot read the content.
  • Make sure the content you want to read is on the screen. Obviously, this will be a bit of a guessing game if you cannot see the screen.
  • Long-press the HOME button (double-tap-and-hold with TalkBack) until the “now on tap” comes up. If you have not used it before, you may need to accept some initial prompts.
  • Find the “share screen” option and double-tap it.
  • When the list of sharing options comes up, locate Eye-D and activate it. After a second or two you should hear the description of the screenshot along with the text the app was able to extract from the image.
  • Explore the recognized text or press the BACK button to return to your app.

Tip: if you had difficulty locating the “Eye-D” item in the list of sharing options, you may want to pin it to the location of your choice by long-pressing it and choosing the “pin” menu item.

While the text extraction method above does not make the apps themselves more accessible, it certainly offers a quick way to see what information you may be missing or even learn a thing or two from images that people posts on social networks such as Twitter or Facebook.

What do you think?