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Smartphones And The Visually Impaired

Kim in Smyrna, Tennessee listens on SuperTalk 99.7 WTN and asked us mobile phones access for the visually imparired


Kim asked: “Wondering about technologies to help blind folks. I’m trying to find a way to learn to use the audio apps on a smartphone. Either an iPhone or an Android. I have not purchased one yet. Need to find out which one would be better for me.”


Kim, both should work for you, iOS and Android both offer accessibility features.

If you’d like to use braille displays, both platforms allow it. Under iOS it’s one of the options in VoiceOver, Apple’s low or no vision accessibility feature, under Android it’s called BrailleBack and it’s part of TalkBack their low or no vision accessibility feature.

iOS and Android both offer accessibility features

If you’d like voice commands to help you navigate the glass screen, both VoiceOver and TalkBack will tell you what you’re touching to help you interact with the phone.

We suspect the feature you’ll find the most useful is voice commands, and again both platforms offer it. Both Google Now and Siri can take care of basic tasks on the phone like dialing, reading text messages, or turning features on and off, answer simple questions (though sometimes they’ll display something on the screen), and more.

Either platform will probably work for you, you may need someone to help you set them up. There are some prompts to turn them on when you first set up most phones, but you may need to sit and wait for a while before the phone offers that option. Having a sighted person help you turn the accessibility features on will probably save you a great deal of frustration.

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Written by Dave Graveline

Dave Graveline is the founder, Host & Executive Producer of "Into Tomorrow" in addition to being President of the Advanced Media Network".

Dave is also a trusted and familiar voice on many national commercials & narrations in addition to being an authority in consumer tech since 1994. He is also a former Police Officer and an FBI Certified Instructor.

Dave thrives on audience participation!

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