Built-in Switch Access for Android...?
Google has incorporated switch access in its newest release of Android 5.0 Lollipop [something we’ve been delivering since 2011, with our first version of the Tecla Access app for Android ;) ].
We checked it out, but can't help but ask... is it ready? We spent a few days testing and were less than satisfied.
Issues with Switch Access in Android 5.0 Lollipop
In our initial testing, we encountered several issues. The most problematic one is the inability to scan the keyboard, making typing impossible when using Auto-Scan. Other issues we found were:
- Scanning didn't always start. Sometimes we needed to press the switch multiple times to get it started
- The scanning order is inconsistent. The scanning cursor jumps from the top to the bottom, from left to right, in unpredictable ways
- The scanning cursor can be easily lost, as it often merges with the background
- The screen may dim out during use
- Non-clickable items may be scanned
But I already upgraded to Lollipop... now what?
If you've already upgraded to Lollipop and are having trouble navigating with the current Tecla Access app, you can use Lollipop's built-in switch access until our next product, Tecla Next, arrives in early 2015. Unlike Lollipop, Tecla Next will provide a consistent switch access experience.
In the meantime, here's how you can best use Lollipop’s switch access with the Tecla Shield set to Switch Control (or white) mode. Follow these quick instructions on how to get your Tecla Shield working with Lollipop using a single switch and auto-scanning:
- Ensure your Tecla Shield is in Switch Control mode (indicator light should be white and blinking rapidly).
- On your Lollipop device, turn on Bluetooth under Settings. You'll see the Tecla Shield listed as TeclaShieldDOS-XXXX.
- Click on TeclaShieldDOS-XXXX to pair your device with the Tecla Shield.
- Once they are connected, a notification will appear, asking you to add the Tecla Shield as a trusted device to unlock your device. Select “Add trusted device.” Choose Bluetooth and you'll then see Tecla Shield listed. Click on it.
- Go to Language & Input. Select Current Keyboard and ensure the "Hardware: Show input method" setting is enabled.
- Go to Accessibility.
- Tap on Switch Access, then Settings.
- Enable Auto Scan.
- Click on Key Combo to assign buttons attached to the Tecla Shield to actions. With Auto Scan, you need to assign a switch to AUTO SCAN.
- Go back to Switch Access and enable it.
- A dotted green frame will appear when you then press the switch.
For more information check out the official documentation from Android Accessibility: