My Zenfone 6 experience and feedback as a blind user
OK, so I am blind and am using Google's screen reader, Talkback, on my Android device. I have been using a ZenFone6 since February 2020 and I thought I would share my experience so that, if interested, Asus could have new suggestions for things to either improve of keep as such, for the next iteration of ZenUi.
So, let's start with the things I like: basically anything that makes things quicker, and there are a few. Screen-off-gestures, smart key, a few dialer features such as speed-dial and automatic keypad popup when calling numbers for which you used it, and all the options one could think about for answering calls. Using Google messages was a smart move for both RCS support and accessibility, and all the ZenUi specific features are welcome in my opinion.
Now we come to the accessibility flaws for screen reader users. There are a few here and there, most of the times they don't prevent completely from using features, but the work arounds you have to find aren't always intuitive and are not what could be considered ideal on an UX standpoint. Here they are:
-Système updater: If it is launched when Talkback is enabled, and an update is available, actionning the update button will usually do nothing, meaning you have to go to settings>système, disable Talkback, tap on System updates and then reenable Talkback. This one may have been fixed in ZenUi 7 but I didn't have the occasion to confirm it.
-Mobile manager: The different options are in what Talkback sees as an array with two rows and two columns, Power Master also used to be like that. Talkback seas the ID as "function button view". However there is no way to know what the different options are unless you activate them. Using Talkback's custom label feature is useless as the four options get relabeled the same.
-Battery charging limit: You can't tap on the different limit options, instead you have that potentiometer, meaning 90 percent limit is 50 and 80 percent is zero, at least that's how Talkback sees it. AS a sighted user it may be somehow easy to understand, and I understood it myself not too slowly, but it is unintuitive nonetheless.
-App Lock: When choosing which apps to lock, for each of them Talkback will say "lock apps" instead of their name. It means you have to remember exactly at which position it is in your app drawer, and swipe right the right number of times to be sure to select the right one. It can be especially frustrating when your app's name starts at the end of the alphabet.
-Launcher: In ZenUi 7, you can no longer long-press the Apps list button, and I don't know how I am supposed to add or remove a page since even long-pressing an empty area doesn't seem to show such options. Also the problem with Talkback's cursor is that it can't put itself in empty areas. So again, disable Talkback, long-press empty area, reenable. Right now the only thing I want to do is to swap the two first pages of my home screen which have been swapped after the ZenUi 7 update for some reason, but even Pixel launcher no longer allows you to do so, so it may also be true for Asus launcher. To be fair, most issues I have about the launcher may somewhat have more to do with Google than Asus.
Finally, I thought I would list which accessibility issues have been solved in ZenUi 7, in case it wasn't volontary and could help, and simply to congratulate the developpers for what has been fixed:
-Launcher: Since Android Pie, when focusing an app, Talkback is able to say if it has notifications and how many. It did not work in ZenUi 6 at least with the default launcher, but works in 7.
-Dialer: In ZenUi 6, if you were dialing a number, stop in the middle and placed Talkback's cursor on the edit-field with a tap to re-read it, the system cursor would move to the beginning and the subsequent ciphers you would type would be misplaced. I don't know if it has anything to do with "dialpad left block" and "dialpad right block" which Talkback cannot find anymore, but it is fixed now. Well done!
-Settings: Merging Power Master with battery settings was a good move for accessibility, given the issue with Mobile Manager I mentionned earlier.
So there it is. Unfortunately I'm not sure there is much I can do to help fixing it provided Asus is interested, as I'm no developper. But it would be good things to look into to enhance the ZenUi experience for some users in the future. Hopefully this was indeed the right place to post this.