How Technology is Helping Blind People
Have you never seen a blind person use their smartphone or computer? Understanding digital accessibility is a challenge for blind people, but now We’ll discuss what it’s like to use the internet for a disabled person.
What do we mean by “blind”?
Blindness, like most disabilities, is a lack of vision. It refers to a loss of eyesight that cannot be corrected with contact lenses or glasses a spectrum.
Thus, some people can see nothing (not even light); they are completely blind, and so many variations in between.
Conversely, some people have minimal vision; they are referred to as partial blindness. Most people who use the term “blindness” mean visually impaired.
However, it’s just like a spectrum; when you meet a blind person, it is unlikely that you’ll be able to tell where they fall on this spectrum—even one who uses a white cane or guide dog.
Today, we’ll concentrate on those who require a braille keyboard or screen reader to access technology.
Built-in examples of screen readers
- Kindle Text-To-Speech
- Android TalkBack
- Apple’s iOS VoiceOver
Software examples of screen readers
- Microsoft Narrator
- JAWS for Windows
- Serotek System Access
- Apple VoiceOver (OS X)
- ORCA (Linux)
- WebAnywhere (All OSs, Web browsers)
- Spoken Web (Internet Explorer)
- NVDA (Windows)
- Chrom Vis and Chrome Vox ( Google Chrome)
Refreshable braille displays
A braille reader is a flat keyboard like a device that translates text into braille and enables deaf-blind or blind individuals to understand text using their fingers.
Examples of braille displays
- Brailliant (Humanware)
- Focus (Freedom Scientific)
- ALVA BC680
Software that supports braille
- iBrailler Notes
- Index BrailleApp
- Google Braille Back
Speech recognizing software provides a user to type, navigate, and interact with websites using their voice.
Built-in examples of dictation software
- Apple Dictation
- Windows Speech
- Gboard (Andriod, iOS)
- Google Docs
- Voice typing
Software example for dictation
- Dragon NaturallySpeaking
Why is iPhone popular for blind users?
Apple has the most advanced, accessible smartphone in the market. Apple allows more reliable features to work instead of other smartphone companies. Thus, apps written for iOS are more likely to be accessible without even meaning.
Using Mobile Devices
Smartphones come with new possibilities for visually impaired users. They have apps that help them navigate new cities, recognize money, scan bar codes, identify colors, and read the product information.
Labeling location and purpose
Clear labels are essential for Android’s TalkBack and iOS VoiceOver to operate properly. Labels should represent the purpose and location of the element that has focus.
Don’t ignore gestures
Gestures such as swapping, pinching, and tapping are essential for blind users. When apps do not reply to native or modified accessibility gestures, it is difficult for some people to use it.
How does a blind person use touchscreen devices?
Here’s how blind people use apps and navigate websites just like the rest of us. Thanks to some simple accessibility software and tweaks.
When accessibility features switch on, audio feedback adds to each tap on the screen. In this way, a blind person can tap on the screen at a particular point and hear information.
They can repeatedly tap to activate that area (i.e., the field within the app or click on a button or open that app). Consequently, blind people understand with the help of audio feedback.
A single tap on the screen announces that the person has touched the Gmail icon, and a double-tap opens the app. Then, the voiceOver reads the detail of the top massage in the inbox.
Keep visually impaired people in mind while design your software, websites, and hardware; further, you can retrofit existing technology to give access. It’s an opportunity to grow your organization to get more clients, more revenue, more contracts. Some fixes like alternative text and auditing your content structure are quick to do and impact the user experience.