Might move from Android to WP - Accessibility questions.

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Hi everyone,


I'm considering a jump from Android to Windows Phone, however I have a few questions/concerns regarding accessibility / themes and so on.


I have severe myopia but also extreme photophobia (light sensitivity) and one thing I rely on are white on black high contrast themes, something Windows 7-10 does very well.   If it helps I currently have a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 running SlimROM (custom rom which has some nice dark theme tweaks)  I am also using third party Android apps which are modded to have a white on dark theme, things like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Gmail Inbox, various others.


I've seen that Windows Phone features a high contrast mode which is very appealing.  I still have a few questions/concerns. 


Does the high contrast option extend to other applications? ie: Will those dark themes apply to Skype, Facebook, Instagram, Gmail, Maps etc ? 


How hackable is WP, are there means to modify apps to change colours in the OS or in apps? 


Can I get full root access in order to modify/attempt to tweak things?


Is there a high contrast web brwoser? Similar to how Internet Explorer renders pages when using a white on black high contrast theme in Windows 7 onwards.


Lastly, apart from buying a phone and trying, what's the best way to emulate WP on a Win8 PC so I can tinker and experiment? And would the emulator still let me install apps like Skype, Facebook etc to test?  I know there's a WP dev kit/sdk though I haven't really looked any further yet.


I'm still on the fence whether I should jump ship or not, I am fairly comfortable on Android - even though there's no built in high contrast theme option, the modded apps + the ROM I use are okay mostly. 


Even though iPhone has the option to invert the screen (which is great and all) that still inverts EVERYTHING (ie: photos/images) so that's not really what I want at all.  I have no interest in an iPhone at this stage.


Thanks in advance :)



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I can answer a few of these:


SOME apps will respect the settings. Facebook and the built-in maps, for example, will not while Skype and E-mail will. Even Office will force black text on a white background. It really depends on the app. Many have high-contrast options.


WP on Lumias is not hackable. Period. Some other brands have been broken and have custom ROMs but it's nothing like Android or even IOS. Research it.


So, in general, no root access.


IE respects high-contrast AND has a reading mode with high-contrast support as well.


I think the development tools (Visual Studio) have an emulator, but I'm not 100% sure about that part. I'm pretty sure you can install apps.


Good luck!



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Thanks guys :)


Yeah I don't have to have white on black high contrast in *every* app but it is a big help, as much as possible.  I do use Google Hangouts a lot currently (which I have a hacked version of for HC themes).  For Instant Messaging, surfing - well basically everything that requires a ton of reading, then it's a must-have.


Does anyone know what the high contrast mode is called technically, XAML?


ie: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/hh868165.aspx


That's for Windows (PC) not WP - unless it's the same?  if I can find the technical terms then it should be easy to find out which apps I depend on support high contrast or not.


Thanks again, appreciate all the help I can get.

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Skype has a high-contrast mode if you toggle it from within the app.

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Yeah it seems that Google are really trying to actively force users to stay in their own ecosystem.  Sadly Google doesn't seem to give much of a concern for accessibility at all. 


Thanks again for the info!


I think I best install VS and the Win8 SDK thing and play around with it to see how it grabs me.  Then see how WP 10 is and later pick a handset if I decide to jump, not an easy decision for me lol.


XAML is Microsoft's layout language which is based on XML. Assuming you used out of the box UI components - or fully featured 3rd party UI components - then high contrast will automatically apply to your app. Windows 10 for mobile means majority of apps for windows work on the phone (unless compiled for x86 or x64 and not MSIL) so the link is somewhat relevant if you have a phone that is due for an upgrade to Windows 10. Windows 10 also appears to bring back the unified messaging app. Google does not publish apps to Windows Phone mostly for competing in a dirty way.

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