Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Android Apps for Users with Visual Impairment

Girl holding smartphone

Some people may think that people who are blind or have visual impairment can’t use devices like smartphones and computers. But because of technological advancements, there are now ways for them to use these devices. 

There are now screen readers for smartphones. When the user touches the screen, the device will speak out the command or text underneath the fingertip. The first touch will initiate the smartphone to speak the command. The user will then need to double-tap on the screen to choose the command.

People with visual impairment may need to practice using their devices to add convenience to their daily activities.

Blind-Droid Wallet 

Icon for Blind-Droid WalletBlind-Droid Wallet is specfically made to help people with visual impairments to identify money. The user will only need to lay their money on a flat surface and use the rear camera of the smartphone. It’ll then alert the user to the money’s currency and value. 

 

Lazarillo GPS for Blind

Lazarillo iconLazarillo is a great app that has many features that can help a user who is visually impaired to go around safely. It distinguishes the user’s actual position, intersections, and nearby places. It also helps the user find establishments like banks, restaurants, entertainment centers, and more.

 

Audible Audiobooks

Audible iconAudible is one of the most reliable apps for audiobooks. It has a wide range of audiobook selections from kids’ stories to Audible’s original series. Users can try it out for free for the first month. For more convenience, users can also download audiobooks using a PC and transfer them to a player that they’re most comfortable using.

 

TapTapSee

TapTapSee iconTapTapSee helps a user to identify everyday objects. The user takes a photo of the object using the app and it’ll audibly tell the user what it is as long the Talkback feature of the phone is enabled. The object’s photo can be at any angle. The app even has a feature to share the photo’s identification with social media, text messages, or emails.

 

Supersense

Supersense iconSupersense uses AI technology to identify and describe objects around the user. It can also read texts and handwriting. All of these features use the smartphone’s camera. But one feature that sets it apart from other apps is its ability to read text on images saved on the phone.

 

Be My Eyes

Be My Eyes iconBe My Eyes is a unique app that connects the user to a helper who could be a volunteer or the company’s representative. When a visually impaired user has some trouble with daily tasks such as identifying products or kitchen activities, he/she can simply ask help from a volunteer using this app. The volunteer on the other end of the call will be able to see using the user’s smartphone camera.

Sullivan+

Sullivan+ iconSullivan+ is another app that’s similar to some previously-mentioned items with other special features. Besides its text and object identification features, it can also recognize faces and colors. It also has a light brightness sensor, which can help a user know if lights are turned on or not. 

 

Facing Emotions

Facing EmotionsFacing Emotions is exclusive for Huawei Mate 20 Pro users. It’s a useful app for learners to know more about seven different emotions. Using the phone’s rear camera, the user can capture a person’s face. The app’s AI technology will determine a person’s emotion using the positions of the parts of the face and their relations. Then, the app will translate it to a specific sound to help the visually impaired user to identify the emotion.

Learning Ally Audiobooks

Learning Ally iconLearning Ally Audiobooks is similar to Audible, with added features for students who are blind and visually impaired. Students with other learning disabilities like dyslexia can also benefit from this app. It includes tools like audio narration in sync with highlighted texts. However, users need to sign up for a membership before using the app.

 

SM Music Reader

SM Music ReaderSM Music Reader is a great app for musicians and music students. One of the best features it offers is the full access to options for reading notes. This is possible using Braille displays with the developer’s supported app, Braille Viewer, and screen readers. SM Music Reader also grants users access to a score library with tons of free content.

 

 

The Google Assistant on Android Smartphones

Smartphone with "Ok Google" text box and microphone icon

Android smartphones also have their own Siri, Apple’s AI assistant. By activating the Google Assistant feature on a smartphone, the user will only need to say “Hey Google” or “OK Google” to give voice commands.

This is a useful feature that smartphone users with visual impairments can use with a simple voice command, without the need to tap on the screen to access it.   Users only need to say “OK Google” and the Google Assistant will alert the users that it’s ready to receive a command. From calls to opening apps to weather updates, the Google Assistant can make anyone’s basic smartphone tasks more convenient to do. 

To activate the Google Assistant, here are the basic steps:

  1. Open the phone’s Settings and tap on Google.
  2. Next, tap on Account Services and go to Search, Assistant & Voice. 
  3. Go to Google Assistant and then tap on Phone.
  4. From here, turn on the Google Assistant.

Some smartphones may need a different method to turn on this feature. This is one of the most used methods and there are more from joyofandroid.com

These are just some of the many useful Android apps that may help people with visual impairment to use their smartphones as convenient tools. Many apps are specifically made for users who are blind and visually impaired ,so there are many options to choose from. Pick out the best ones that’ll be useful for everyday tasks matching personal needs and preferences. One app may be the best for one user, but not for other users. Testing out these apps is still the best way to find which ones are the most helpful to an individual

Image Sources: 

  1. https://www.pexels.com/photo/girl-wearing-blue-dress-while-using-smartphone-3768166/
  2. https://pixabay.com/photos/voice-control-voice-commands-2598422/

Collage of Android Apps