Creating a Shortcut for Accessibility Settings on Android

I do a lot of accessibility testing on Android and iOS devices and need to turn the screen readers on and off regularly. While iOS allows you to triple-click the home button, that simplified function is not yet available for Android. However, you can make it much easier by placing a shortcut to the accessibility panel onto the Android desktop. This short tutorial will walk you through it with a Google Nexus 7 .

Creating a shortcut to the accessibility settings

Our final goal is to put a shortcut to the accessibility panel on the android desktop
Our goal is to have the accessibility panel easily available. This is the final result, I’ve outlined the shortcut with a yellow border to show where it can sit.

Step 1 – Open the widgets screen

Within the widgets options, find the settings shortcut
Click on the gallery button to display the full list of applications and widgets. Select the “Widgets” link at the top of the screen. This will bring up a series of screens that contain the available widgets. Swipe through the carousel until you come across the “Settings Shortcut” panel.

Place your finger on the settings icon and pause for a second. The icon will activate and you will be able to drop it onto the device’s desktop. Lift your finger when you’ve chosen your preferred location.

Step 2 – Select Accessibility

List of settings categories that can be added as a shortcut. Accessibility is the first item.
The final step is to choose “Accessibility” from the list of settings panels for your shortcut. You can repeat this process to add shortcuts for sound, wi-fi, and more.

Placing this shortcut on your desktop will save a few taps as you can now access the Accessibility panel directly. Here’s a video showing how to activate TalkBack and place the shortcut on your main screen.

For more information on the accessibility options, watch this video Victor Tsaran and I created. It shows how to highlight event sources and to display speech output.

Published by Ted

Accessibility is more than making sure images have alternate text. I work with engineers, product managers, and designers to understand how accessibility impacts the users, set realistic deadlines, and create the solutions to provide a delightful experience to all users, regardless of their physical, sensory, or cognitive ability.

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  1. You’re not stuck with BlinkFeed if you don’t like it – the rest of the homescreen panes are the standard type with shortcuts and widgets and you can set one of them to the be default one (the one you get to when you tap Home). You can’t remove the BlinkFeed panel altogether, though.

  2. Thanks very much for putting this information out there. Getting to specific system settings can be a nightmare from an accessibility standpoint, no matter which setting. It’s great to know how to put widgets that take you straight to the specific system setting you need to access without having to drill down to get there

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