Mobile Assistive Technology Gesture References
During a recent consultation on a mobile project, I broached the topic of gestures that are used by assistive technology on various devices. I gathered links to resources for my client and figured I’d share them here as well.
- Apple has gathered together the gestures used by VoiceOver on iOS in its document Test Accessibility on Your Device with VoiceOver.
- Google has a similar document for TalkBack on Android, though without the benefit of screen shots for those of who need the help, in its document Use TalkBack gestures.
- Microsoft uses Narrator on its mobile phones, and it also has its own set of gestures: Hear text read aloud with Narrator (the Narrator keyboard shortcuts should apply for hybrid devices too)
I also found some cheat sheets that are a bit more visually clear (making it easier for someone like me to quickly review) for both iOS and Android. Interactive Accessibility makes them available as three PDF files (one includes details on using the iOS Bluetooth keyboard with VoiceOver, so no Narrator doc): iOS & Android Screen Reader Gesture Reference Cheatsheet
Finally, please bear in mind that HTC devices use HTC Sense and Samsung devices use TouchWiz, both of which are custom UIs that live on top of Android and can break some or all of TalkBack. Consider this when testing.
Of course, if you are writing an app and you want to make some custom gestures (a la Tinder with its
swipe right becoming so popular it has entered the non-tech vernacular), you should read this article: Why Implementing Swipe Gestures Causes A Mobile Accessibility Issue
If you go so far as to make a custom gesture that doesn’t conflict with one already in use by assistive technology, don’t be a jerk by patenting it. That’s not cool.
This is great! Thank you!
hi Adrian and thanks,
Do you know why iOS and android don’t use two fingers gestures swiping right or left?
Zachary, I genuinely have no idea. Is there some reason you are asking, some expectation set elsewhere?