Whether due to age, disability or medical condition, many people have difficulties accessing printed information or using computer technology. By making simple changes to computers, someone with vision loss can access electronic information, for example:
  • reading and composing emails and documents
  • browsing the web
  • communicating through social media.
Tablets and smartphones also include many built-in options that can support a visual impairment.

Intelligent personal assistants

Siri and Google Now are a key feature of modern tablets and smartphones. They can allow you to use your voice to search the web, use email and take notes. iOS (Apple) devices include a screen reader called VoiceOver and a magnifier called Zoom. The latest versions of Android devices have a reader called TalkBack.

People with visual impairments are using their smartphones or tablets more than any other computing device – as it’s a low-cost and mobile way to meet many of their requirements.

Some useful apps for people with visual impairment

Blind and partially-sighted people have found the following apps to be particularly useful:

KNFB Reader provides fast and easy access to any type of printed text including letters, receipts, menus, books and many other documents, with high-quality speech or Braille output.

Talking Goggles can recognise almost any image and text in seconds. It speaks out what it finds including logos, signs, landmarks, products, artwork and text.

Evi answers everyday questions about books, music, films, history, people, places and much more. Ask your questions and you will get a vocal response.

iBrailler Notes offers an easy way for iPad users to type Braille notes and perform basic word-processing on a touchscreen (for iOS only).

Apple Maps helps you find your way to your destination by giving turn-by-turn spoken directions (for iOS only).

AccessNote is a powerful and efficient notetaker that takes advantage of the built-in accessibility of Apple devices by working with VoiceOver (for iOS only).

Vokul is a personal assistant that provides voice control for dictating text, messages and emails, connecting to social media, listening to music and calling contacts in your address book (for iOS only).

Synapptic is an all-in-one app designed for people with a visual impairment. It runs on Android tablets and smartphones. Synapptic’s simple menu structure and intuitive design make it easy to use. You can select from a wide range of viewing and listening options to meet your particular needs.

For info on new apps, check out the AbilityNet blog.

For reviews of specialist visual impairment apps for people using iPads and iPhones, visit www.applevis.com  

Read about magnification and screen-reading software.

Specialist suppliers in visual impairment products

Read more information on computers and visual impairment.

Produced in association with AbilityNet

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