A while back, we talked about the best computer software that can help blind and visually impaired people to operate a computer. But most of the information we regularly need can be accessed via our smartphones, and operating a touchscreen, when you have difficulties seeing, is not the simplest task.
Today, we’re taking a look at some mobile apps designed to allow those who have their vision impaired to use a smartphone just like everyone else, and benefit from all the features that these devices offer. We hope these apps will provide a much needed service for anyone in need.
Tools integrated within the mobile OS
Most mobile operating systems offer some accessibility tools within the operating system itself for users with disabilities. These are carefully created to provide the necessary features for those who can’t see the device’s screen. Both Android and iOS offer these features, and they consist of a voice overlay and special gestures for users to access the different apps and features that are on the phone.
Android’s TalkBack feature is a service that gives a voice overlay of what is in the screen at any point, as well as a different way of browsing the device. Users can swipe around the screen and the device will tell them what item they have selected. For opening an app, they have to double tap it. This ensures that the user always knows where his finger is on the screen and so, he can open any app he wants. The system can also read emails and text messages out loud, and with the use of a voice recognition app, the user can reply.
Apple’s VoiceOver service operates in the same way, and thanks to the easy browsing of apps and other elements that iOS has, users will easily find their way around the device. However, having a voice overlay is just the start, and there are many other apps that can help visually impaired people use a smartphone, and we hope the following list will give them some help.
Apps for blind and visually impaired people
There are many apps that will provide some kind of help for those in need. They can range from simple screen magnifiers, or apps that use the camera of the device as a magnifying glass, and even apps that can distinguish the different types of money and what amount you are holding.
iOS Apps for blind and visually impaired people
Ariadne GPS – A simple GPS app that provides a voice overlay and turn by turn directions
LookTel Apps – A series of apps that uses the camera to detect money and other items.
Color ID – This app will detect what color an item has. It is useful for those who need to sort clothes or other items
Light Detector – A utility that will generate a sound when the phone’s camera is pointed towards a light source. Useful if you want to know if the lights are off
Voice Brief – Voice Brief will read almost any kind of content out loud, such as emails, calendar, text messages and many more
List Recorder – This is an audio recorder that anyone can use to dictate lists or tasks
SayText – This is an awesome app that is able to read out loud text from images
Talking Calculator – As the name suggests, this tool is calculator that can read out loud any calculations you make
TapTapSee – This app can recognize US currency as well as other objects and tell the user what they are
Android apps for blind and visually impaired people
Like with iOS, the Android platform offers users a lot of apps that will provide an invaluable service for those who have vision difficulties. These apps range from GPS navigators to barcode scanners and many more.
TalkBack – The Google utility that allows voice overlay of all the information on the screen, as well as other accessibility features
IDEAL Accessible App Installer – Accessibility app that makes it easy for users to install IDEAL group apps
WalkyTalky – Simple navigation app that offers users turn by turn directions
MessagEase Keyboard - A replacement for the QWERTY keyboard, which has larger keys and it is simpler to use
Mobile Accessibility Demo US – A group of apps that are designed to be used easily by people who have trouble seeing
ScanLife Barcode & QR Reader – Simple barcode and QR code scanner that tells users what product it is
Magnify – This app acts as a magnifying glass, so those with diminished vision can read small letters
Classic Text To Speech Engine – This app gives users different voices and languages for them input in phone’s Text-To-Speech menu. They are very clear and they can be used almost anywhere in the world
LendAnEye (Visually Impaired) – LendAnEye is an app that visually challenged people can use to navigate. They use the phone’s camera to make a video call and the other person will guide them
By using these apps, people who have low to no eyesight can use a smartphone almost like everyone else. They offer great services and we thank the developers for taking the time to develop them.