iSightCornwall’s Top 10 Accessibility Apps for Visually Impaired Users

June 29, 2018 1:31 pm

ISightCornwall’s Top 10 Accessibility Apps for Visually Impaired Users

Technological advancements have made it possible for blind and visually impaired people to use devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. Thanks to new software and mobile applications, visually impaired people are now able to navigate websites, send emails, read small text and much, much more.

Our Assistive Technology Officer, Dominic Hall, has compiled a list of ten of the best mobile applications for people with sight loss.

#1 Synapptic

Compatibility: Android devices

Synapptic is an all-in-one software package designed for people with sight loss. Synapptic’s speech and magnification tools make it the perfect choice for users with varying levels of sight loss. A clear, simple menu structure ensures that novice users or individuals who have recently begun to lose their sight will have no difficulties using the app.

The app includes various tools such as a digital hand-held magnifier, speech on every screen, voice recognition, email, an internet browser and a reading machine.

Through the app’s settings the user has the ability to change the colour scheme, menu layouts, magnification levels and speech options.

Synapptic software has been designed to operate on any Android device running Version 4 or above. These devices are light and portable allowing them to be easily carried in a pocket or bag.

All users also receive one hour of free video training, free lifetime technical support, two years of free software updates and a 2-week money back guarantee.

#2 Large Launcher

Compatibility: Android devices

Large Launcher is an app for your Android device that replaces the original user interface of your smartphone or tablet with larger, more prominent icons and text.

Large launcher uses large fonts with color-coded icons to ensure older and visually impaired users have no difficulty finding what they are searching for.

#3 Dolphin Easy Reader

Compatibility: Apple iOS devices, Android devices & Windows devices

Dolphin Easy Reader is a free accessible reading app for iOS & Android devices that has been designed specifically for users with dyslexia and sight loss.

Easy Reader gives you direct access to browse and download from your favourite libraries including Legimus and RNIB Book Share.

With Easy Reader, you can open your own audio or text only books. Text can also be copied from an external source to be read aloud.

Users are able to change colours, alter the text size and highlight words or lines of text to best suit their visual needs.

Easy Reader is also fully compatible with VoiceOver, TalkBack and Voice Assistant.

If you are having difficulties operating the application, free online help is offered in a number of languages.

#4 ZoomReader

Compatibility: Apple iOS devices

ZoomReader is an affordable and easy to use application that incorporates a text-to-speech reader, an Optical Character Recognition reader (OCR) and a zoom magnifier. The application requires Apple iOS 4.0 or later.

ZoomReader can assist people with a variety of disabilities including dyslexia and low vision. The app uses the iPhone’s internal camera to magnify printed text offering up to four times magnification.

ZoomReader can also detect lighting conditions and will alter the contrast of the iPhone screen for better viewing.

The application can also convert text into sound using state-of-the-art Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology.

ZoomReader is not just for books, it can be used to read the small print on a receipt, nutritional information on a food packet or a menu from a restaurant.

#5 Huge Keyboard

Compatibility: Android devices

Huge Keyboard replaces the default keyboard on Android devices and features very large keys and emoji’s. The app is extremely useful for anyone who struggles to see the default keyboard on their smartphone or tablet device.

The app also offers a variety of customisable features allowing the user to select a theme from the Huge Keyboard library, adjust the size of the keys or change the sound and vibration of typing.

Users can also change the dictionary, typing and display settings.

#6 BlindSquare

Compatibility: Apple IOS devices

BlindSquare is the world’s most popular accessible GPS-application developed for blind and visually impaired. The app can describe the surrounding environment, announce points of interest and deliver audible cues as you travel. When used alongside free, third-party navigation apps it is a powerful tool providing blind and visually impaired people with all the information they require to reach their destination.

BlindSquare is self-voicing, announcing points of interest, junctions and user-defined locations through a dedicated speech synthesizer. The most important tools can be accessed through an audio menu via any headset or speaker that supports Apple’s music controller. This means you don’t need to touch your phone screen when you travel with BlindSquare as many of its features can be activated using the physical buttons on your headset or a Bluetooth speaker.

If you are blind or visually impaired, BlindSquare is a safe, reliable, and accessible GPS-solution.

#7 Theme & Font Size Changer

Compatibility: Mozilla FireFox browser

Theme Font & Size Changer is an add-on to Mozilla’s popular Firefox browser that allows the user to change the font family and font size within the browser. It is a great tool for visually impaired people and individuals who use widescreen displays.

Unlike the majority of accessibility add-ons simply enlarge and reduce the text size on web pages, Theme Font & Size Changer alters the font size and font family displayed in all windows, menus, toolbars, etc. All font size, font family, and other changes are applied instantly and are saved for your next session.

The app was initially created to be an accessibility aid for individuals with sight loss however it is also useful for Firefox users browsing the internet with high-resolution screen settings and widescreen monitors.

#8 TapTapSee

Compatibility: Apple IOS devices & Android devices

TapTapSee is an application designed specifically for blind and visually impaired users, powered by the CloudSight Image Recognition API. The app utilizes your device’s camera and VoiceOver functions to photograph objects and identify them aloud through the device’s speaker.

In TapTapSee, the user double-taps the device’s screen to capture an image of any two or three-dimensional objects, and have them accurately analysed and identified in seconds.

#9 VisionSim

Compatibility: Apple iOS devices

VisionSim from the Braille Institute is an app for Apple iOS devices developed to enable sighted users to see the world through the eyes of a person experiencing one of nine degenerative eye diseases:

  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Cataracts
  • Chronic open-angle glaucoma
  • Corneal edema
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Homonymous hemianopia
  • Macular degeneration
  • Retinal detachment
  • Retinitis pigmentosa

The application uses the devices internal camera and uses filters to allow the user to experience the symptoms of their chosen eye condition. Using sliding touch-screen controls, the user can manipulate the severity of the symptoms. Still images from the simulations can be saved and shared or stored for future use.

#10 Magnifying Glass with Light

Compatibility: Apple iOS devices

This simple yet useful app enables the user to magnify text or objects up to 10x on their phone display. At the touch of a button, the app transforms your camera flash into a flashlight. The app is fully compatible with VoiceOver and it’s great for someone with a low-level visual impairment allowing them to read menus, receipts, recipes and much more.

Would you like to learn more about mobile applications, smartphones or tablet computers? At iSightCornwall we offer free one-to-one assessments to discover which technology is right for you. For more information, please call us on 01872 261110 (please note we are only able to provide assessments to visually impaired people living in Cornwall).

If your favourite accessible app does not appear on our list we would love to hear from you. Please email us at info@isightcornwall.org.uk with your suggestions.

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