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Ranting About Touchscreen

A rant against touchscreens.

Alright, as the title suggests, it is going to be a rant, with no solutions offered, no workarounds, just pure venting frustration.

You might wonder though. Why would I lash out at a technology which is basically everywhere at this point? What is the point of doing that?

The point is, I’m blind.  And though I do use a touchscreen phone, I feel dreadful if I had to do anything more complicated than check the messages, or do a phone call. Why is that? because typing sucks. My speed to operate this device sucks. The accuracy of typing sucks. The fact that when I’m doing something on my phone slowly, people think that I need help, so that sucks too.

Besides, once you start the screen reader on Android phones, (can’t speak for Apple. I haven’t used their devices, and have no plans to use them in the near future,) the phone is unusable for a sighted person.

Let me explain. The thing is, unlike people with sight, I can’t see any icons and such. So, I wouldn’t be tapping after looking at the location of an icon on my screen. As a result, once the screen reader is started, (which is called talkback, and comes with the Android out of the box, you can read about it in more detail here,) the gestures are enabled.

What does that mean? Simple. A simple gentle tap on the screen, as most people are used to, will not work anymore. To scroll through the apps and such, I have to swipe from left to right, or vice versa. To select an app, I must double tap it. (You can read about the gestures here, if you’re interested.)

So far, so good. But when we get to typing, it sucks. I mean, it sucks for me big time. I’ve seen other blind people handle it, but I don’t know how do they do that. I just don’t like typing on a touchscreen.

It goes like this. Once you double-tap on an edit box, the keyboard appears. I don’t know how it looks. But it appears as a normal qwerty keyboard of computer.

I have to type by putting my finger on an alphabet, and dragging it across the screen, as talkback announces the alphabets on which my finger appears. If I do want that alphabet to be typed, I lift the finger off, and it gets typed.

Naturally, it is slow as hell. I mean, compared to my keyboard typing, while I can only type a few words in 10 seconds, I can end up writing several lines in those 10 seconds on a keyboard.

The inaccuracy comes from several parts. First, I could end up lifting my finger on the wrong character. I could end up hitting the wrong character while lifting the finger. I could end up keeping the finger too long on a character, which would open up some other options.

Which means typing phone numbers is a chore, typing a search string is a chore, and of course, typing messages is a chore. (Don’t get me started on autocorrect. Seriously, people were accusing me of being a drunken sailor due to the curse words which got inserted by the damn autocorrect.)

But what about voice input?

Honestly, this has to be the worst solution to this problem. When it works, it works great. Alas, the success rate is very, very low.

Don’t believe me? Try searching these things out with voice input on YouTube on your phone.

“BlazBlue lust sin”

“BlazBlue re:stung”

“BlazBlue alter theme”

“BlazBlue hakaishin”

“Tekken Dark resurrection Tiamat”

“Sasuke Uchiha”

I’ve managed to get some success with most of these search strings. But the last one? Not once. Literally, not once did the voice input get it right.

It would have been great if I could get an Android phone with a keypad. I mean, I wouldn’t even mind paying for this custom-made phone. And it is not like it wouldn’t work either. If you plug a keyboard into your phone, you learn that Android works nice with the keyboard. It wouldn’t take much effort to adapt it to work with a keypad.

But ordering such custom phones is not an option, so this is just another thing which sucks.

Hopefully, you’ll get an idea of why I hate touchscreens, and why I don’t type my blog posts on my phone. I mean, they’re terrible already, if I typed it on my phone with all those mistakes, no one would read those.

“At least you’re aware of how terrible your writing is.”

y—yeah. I’ll… I’ll just end it right here.

Follow me on twitter:

My twitter.

And I’ll see you on the next article.

Published by Tanish Shrivastava

I'm a guy who likes programming, chess, and writing.

8 thoughts on “Ranting About Touchscreen

  1. Thanks for always enlightening me to the challenges in everyday things I take for granted. You always fill me with gratitude and inspiration on how you take things in stride. And dammit I can relate to freaking voice search. My biceps were growing abnormally huge (ugly) and I wanted to show videos of it to my partner, and it was a damned trip trying to search ‘synthol man’.

    Anyway, keep on keeping on, Tanish!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the article. People often think that voice search is this new magical thing. But they forget that we don’t live in a science fiction movie yet. It is far from perfect.

      Besides, the problem of data collection is also needs to be considered, as your voice data is collected by the companies.


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