Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD)

Library Support Training

Android Mobile Application

Getting started

The NLS Android mobile application was designed to work best on devices that run Android version 4.1 (Jelly Bean) or later. The application may work on devices running older versions of Android, but NLS does not support it. The presentation of the features of the application vary depending on the device you are using but are generally very similar and have been modeled after the iOS application. The goal of the app is to provide a way for NLS patrons to get audio materials directly from NLS and read them. In order to provide support for your patrons using the application it is important that you familiarize yourself with it and gain a general sense of how it works.

Android devices

Android devices are equipped with assistive features, including a gesture-based screen reader called TalkBack and built-in magnification gestures. More information on using TalkBack, magnification gestures, and other Andrioid accessibility features is available at:

Please note that gestures are different when TalkBack is turned on. In general when TalkBack is off, users of Android devices navigate by directly manipulating screen controls. When TalkBack is on the appropriate gestures are:

If you are unfamiliar with using TalkBack it is recommended that you turn TalkBack on while working with the BARD Mobile application so you can gain a better understanding of the TalkBack gestures and practice using them. Please be aware that TalkBack gestures are customizable by individual users.

Follow the instructions below to enable TalkBack on your device.

    1. Go to the Settings application on your device.
    2. Select My Device. (This option might be different on some devices.)
    3. Select Accessibility.
    4. Select TalkBack.
    5. Turn TalkBack on.

You can also turn TalkBack on from inside the BARD Mobile application.

    1. Access the BARD Mobile Settings by selecting Settings from the menu button.
    2. Select the second item on the list: Device Accessibility Settings. This will take you right to the accessibility options in your device settings.
    3. Select TalkBack from the list of accessibility features.
    4. Turn TalkBack on.

Additional resources on gestures, using TalkBack, and magnification gestures are available from:

Application limitations

While NLS patrons will have the ability to download and read materials using the application they will not be able to:

    1. Establish a BARD account
    2. Download materials other than those on the Recently Added lists and his/her personal Wish list
    3. Access external (outside of BARD) websites under Additional Links heading on the BARD main page


It is important to note that while the application will be available for free to anyone from the Google Play store, one must be an active NLS patron and have a previously established BARD account (with a username and non-temporary password) to use the application.

The Application

Once the app is installed on your mobile device, the user must agree to the terms of service and then log into BARD using his/her user name and password. The only way to access materials on BARD using the app is through the Recently Added lists and the user’s Wish list. You can browse the BARD website through the app, but materials must appear on the Recently Added list or be added to your Wish list in order to be downloaded.

Three tabs are available inside the application.

  1. Bookshelf-Lists materials you have downloaded onto your device.
  2. Get Books-Access and download books from the Recently Added lists or the Wish list.
  3. Now Reading-Access the item you are currently reading and the controls to continue reading. Note that the Now Reading tab does not become available until you have downloaded and opened at least one item.


1. Bookshelf

The Bookshelf tab is broken down into two categories: Audio books and Audio magazines. Activating (tapping once with TalkBack off and twice with TalkBack on) each category will bring you to the list of stored items in that category. As items are downloaded to your device they will be included in the item count and added to the list. Activating the title will open the item for reading. A long tap (tap and hold) on the title will bring up details about the item and offer the option to start reading. Activating the “Read Now” button from the details screen will bring up the audio reading screen—which is modeled after the NLS digital talking-book player.

2. Get BooksGetbooks

The Get Books tab is broken down into four categories: Browse Wish List, Recently Added Audio Books, Recently Added Audio Magazines, and Browse BARD. Activating the Browse Wish List option will bring up all of the titles you have on your wish list and provide an access point for you to review the details of each title and then download one if you choose. Activating the Recently Added Audio Books option will bring up all the books that were recently added to BARD and activating the Recently Added Audio Magazines option will bring up all of the magazines that were recently added to BARD. Activating the Browse BARD option will open the main page of BARD, where you can access information about all the reading materials available on BARD. Note that items must be added to your wish list from their details page in order to be downloaded to your device.

3. Now Reading

When reading materials the top portion of the screen will display some general information about the item, such as the title Now Readingand the current reading position. The navigation button is also located on the top portion of the screen.  

The controls for reading materials are similar to those on the NLS digital talking-book players and occupy the bottom half of the screen. The green Play/Stop button is surrounded by a Rewind and Fast-Forward button on either side of it. Above the Play/Stop button is the variable Jump by or menu button which is surrounded by the Previous and Next navigation buttons. The Jump by button gives you the ability to jump by various categories such as chapter, bookmark, part, etc. Adjacent to the Next button is the bookmark button. Speed and tone are adjustable for the item you are reading by selecting Speed or Tone from the variable button (under the Play/Stop button) and then using the plus or minus button to adjust to the desired speed or tone. The Power, Volume, and Sleep buttons are not available on the audio reader in the application.

Book NavigationAccess the navigation screen by selecting the navigation button. On the navigation screen, you will find all of the navigation points (such as chapters, parts, and front matter) and levels for the item you are reading. Selecting an item from the screen will take you directly to that position in the book or magazine. A current reading icon indicates your current position in the item. You may also access your bookmarks from the navigation screen, but you must first select “Bookmark” from the jump by button on the reading interface and then activate the navigation button.  


The application settings can be accessed from the menu button.

The application settings screen contains information about the application and provides options for adjusting the verbosity, changing the download network, and resetting the application.  

Verbosity Setting
Activating the verbosity setting allows you to adjust the verbosity to Low or Normal. By default, the verbosity is set to Normal.  

Device Accessibility Settings
Activating the Device Accessibility Settings will bring you to the Accessibility options in the settings of your device. Here you can adjust the font size, negative colors, magnification gestures, or turn TalkBack on or off. Note that different devices have different accessibility settings.   

Activate the Network setting to allow downloading over the cellular data network. Note that the default is set to allow downloading only over a wifi network.

Application Reset
Activate the Application Reset to reset the BARD Mobile application. If your library is using a shared Android device for training and support, please reset the application between users to avoid sharing BARD accounts.

Application Version
This setting tells you the version of the BARD Mobile Android application you are running on your device.

Current Username
This setting tells you the username of the BARD account you are accessing with the device.

Storage Location
This setting tells you the location on the device where you are storing your books and magazines.

This document is meant as an overview of the BARD Mobile Android application. Consult the User Guide for details about specific functions and features of the application.


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Last updated: 03/27/2015

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