Jaruzel's Retro Website

The Android P 'Pill' button is not accessible for left-handers.

Originally posted to the Android Developers Google Group

Not sure how to get this concern to the people who've designed the Android P 'Pill' button that replaces the traditional Android navigation buttons, so I'm posting here in the hope that someone useful will see it.

I'm left handed. There are approximately 10% of people in the world who are left handed. In comparison there are about 4.5% of people globally who are colour blind.

As phone UIs move more and more towards gesture based controls, left handers are increasingly struggling to use these new input mechanisms.

For a typical left hander, you hold your phone in your right hand, and control it with your left. We already have to suffer the volume control on most phones being on the wrong side, and in many cases the screen-wake/power button too. Now as Android P's details are being announced, I read that the Pill button works like so:

"To quickly switch between apps without launching multi-tasking view, press down on the pill-shaped button and drag it to the right to shuffle through recent apps. You can also flick the same button quickly to jump straight to the last app you were using." (via Lifehacker.com)

For a left handed person, swiping right is actually 'pushing right', it's almost impossible to accurately separate 'swipe' from 'flick' when you are 'pushing'. if you are right-handed try a quick demonstration of flicking left vs swiping left. It is a magnitude harder as your hand is not flicking outwards, but is pushing inwards.

Therefore I am asking the Android UI engineers to PLEASE think about left handers during the UI development. Although not officially recognised, we do have a disability and as Androids increasingly gesture based input system favours right handers, it discriminates against us.

As my opening states, there are double the amount of us than colour blind people, but accessibility systems always focus on high contrast colour schemes for the latter group, but we never get alternate input systems.

Author: Matt Owen
Date: 16 May 2018