Browsing the web with chrome and talkback 2016

This tutorial is for android 6 or later. If using android 5.1, click here for the old tutorial.

Configuring talkback

In order to use the web effectively, Make sure your keyboard and gesture settings are set as described here. Set talkback’s swipe up gesture to activate previous granularity and the swipe down gesture to go to next granularity. Tap settings, accessibility, talkback, settings, manage gestures, and make the changes here for swipe up and for swipe down. Once this is done, swiping down or up will change to navigation by character, word, and so on. In marshmallow, this is usually the default.

Next, set your keyboard to the default keymap. If you have been using classic all this time, switching to default may come as a nasty shock at first.; However, you will appreciate the extra features once the learning curve is through.

Gesture navigation

When you load a page in chrome, use the down/up gestures to navigate the page by element. chrome offers you heading and landmark, link, and control navigation. Control and link are self-explanatory. Heading and landmark replaces section navigation in marshmallow, and works far better than section navigation did. List navigation is gone. If you’re thinking that three web navigation elements is just a bit stingy, see the section on keyboard browsing. It would be nice to see substantially more elements receive gesture support, and to have the ability to configure the granularities menu to include the elements you want in the order you want.

Now, try this on your mobile device. Open the Inclusive Android homepage. Use the vertical gesture (swipe up or swipe down) to find headings and landmarks. Then, flick right to move down the page heading by heading until you reach the "latest apps and game entries" heading. In order to read the contents of that section, you'll have to use the gesture again to cycle to default granularity. Then you can flick right link by link to see the most recently added apps. These gestures work much more reliably for me than the firefox gestures, but I find the extra step of having to cycle a bit tedious. The firefox solution is more elegant in it's way as you'll see in a moment.

Keyboard navigation

While you were off configuring your keymap, you might have glanced down the list of keys and functions and thought, “ah! I see where he’s going with this.” For those of you who ignored the keyboard settings, go take a look. Using the keyboard, talkback will navigate by numerous elements including: individual heading levels, various form control types, tables, lists, and so on. For example, you can press alt H or alt shit H to move back and fourth through the headings, or you can use alt 1 to jump to any heading level one on the page. You can use alt T and alt shift T for tables, alt e and alt shift E for edit boxes, and much more. For an exhaustive list, see manage keyboard shortcuts in talkback settings.

Browser features

chrome's interface is blissfully uncluttered with most of the screen devoted to displaying pages, an address and search box, a tabs list button, and a menu button containing most of the actual browser functionality you'd expect. A link to keyboard shortcuts for chrome features can be found in the sources list below.

In marshmallow , the find in page feature is now accessible. You get to find in page by tapping more options, then find in page, or by pressing control F on your keyboard. I have not perfected a technique for doing this with the touch screen; However, using the keyboard, you first type what you want. Tab to next and press enter, Talkback will speak the instance of your search. You can press alt enter to activate if the instance is a link or object. You can use alt left or alt right arrows to see items nearby to your instance for context. Or, you can press enter on it’s own to go to the next instance. If you want to go to a previous instance, press shift tab to get to the previous button and press enter. Try finding the word “latest” on the inclusive android homepage. I think you’ll be very pleased.

chrome does not have an article reader. Considering that I have access to keyboard support, this is the only feature I really miss from firefox and safari.


works on:

  • Motorola Moto G 2nd edition
  • Report if this works on your device

Works not on:

  • Report if this does not work on your device