Turn an Android tablet into an audiobook player for seniors

The why

Most audio players available on the market are created for young people and their main function is playing music. They are small, have multiple functions like shuffle, repeat, radio and even video playback.

All of these features make the popular players hard to use for the elderly. Especially if they struggle with poor eyesight and their motor skills aren't as good as they used to be. Yet for many seniors listening to audiobooks becomes an alternative to reading that gets harder and harder as their sight deteriorates.

They need a suitable tool.

The features

Homer Player is an Android application for playing audiobooks. With it's simple user interface and a unique set of features it is intended mainly for people with low vision and for the elderly.

Audio book support

Playback is geared towards audiobooks with folder-based navigation. The folder name is the title.
Subfolders are treated as part of the same book (useful for books that come on multiple CDs).

Resume where stopped

Playback is resumed where you have left off. And with the jump back feature it actually goes back 15s earlier to remind you the last sentence or two.
The position is stored for each book separately so you can safely switch between several books.

Low vision friendly interface

Book titles are read out loud when browsing, swipe left and right to change book.
The buttons are large and with high contrast.


There's no need to press any buttons to stop playback—just put the device on a level surface with its screen down.

Sleep timer

Playback is paused automatically after a configured time (e.g. 10 minutes) so that the book doesn't play the whole night when the listener falls asleep.
Shake the device to extend the timer.

Adjust speed

Slow down playback for those who are hard of hearing or need more time to understand speech (e.g. after a stroke).

Single application mode (kiosk mode)

With the kiosk mode enabled the user's actions are confined to the application and no other functions of the device are available.

This way a multipurpose tablet can be converted into a simple to use, single purpose audiobook player. The other functions of the device don't become a distraction to the user.

See Making a dedicated player for instructions on enabling the kiosk mode.