On April 9, Google announced in a blog post they are now offering a Braille keyboard for Android. The move is expected to make the Android operating system (OS) more accessible to those who are visually impaired.
As reported by The Verge, the new keyboard, called TalkBack, uses a six-key layout with each key representing one of six Braille dots. When tapped in a certain combination, it will form letters and symbols.
There won't be a need for developers to tweak their applications because the new keyboard works across all Android apps. And, according to Google, supports Braille Grade 1 and Grade 2. It is, however, only available in English.
New Braille keyboard for Android is for greater accessibility
According to the blog post, the Google team collaborated with braille developers and users throughout the development. "So it'll be familiar to anyone who has typed using braille before. It uses a standard 6-key layout and each key represents one of 6 braille dots which, when tapped, make any letter or symbol. To type an 'A' you would press dot 1 and to type a 'B,' dots 1 and 2 together. "
"The keyboard can be used anywhere you would normally type and allows you to delete letters and words, add lines, and submit text," it added. Users can choose to turn off the keyboard switching between international keyboards.
For those interested in trying it out, you can turn on TalkBack in the Accessibility section within your device's Settings, and follow these instructions to set it up. Once set up is complete, you can just use three fingers to swipe up on your screen and to try to practice with their gesture tutorial.