Smartphones and tablets often have a handful of accessibility features included in their operating system. We're now seeing more and more apps that take mobile accessibility to the next level. Check out some of our favourite apps below.
Petralex acts as an external hearing aid. Using a mic to take in surrounding sound, the app is designed to make it easy for Deaf and hard of hearing individuals to gain access to sound in absence of hearing aids. The simple interface is easy to use, navigate and operate and is available on iOS.
2. P3 Mobile
P3 Mobile is an on-the-go Video Relay Service app for deaf and hard-of-hearing people. The app assists someone who is deaf or hard of hearing make and receive Video Phone calls anywhere using a WiFi or data connection. P3 Mobile can be downloaded on iOS and Android.
3. Color ID
Color ID is an app which can help someone who is blind or has low vision identify colors. The person just uses the camera to point at an object and the app will speak the names of colors in real time. Color ID can be download Android.
4. Dragon Dictation
Dragon is a voice recognition app which allows you to convert your speech in to text. It can be used to compose text messages, emails, notes, reminders and even Facebook statuses. Dragon Dictation is available for download via its website.
Avaz is an app which has been developed for children who are non-verbal or have difficulty speaking. The app helps facilitate communication in children with ASD (autism spectrum disorders), Down Syndrome and cerebral palsy. Avaz uses pictures to help children associate words and develop their vocabulary. Avaz Australia can be downloaded for free in the iTunes store, or you can buy Avaz Pro Android.
6. Be My Eyes
Be My Eyes connects people who are blind or have low vision with sighted volunteers via a direct video call. When connected, the sighted person can assist the person who is blind with identifying things such as checking the expiration date on food and helping them make their way around new surroundings. The app is currently available to download on iOS and coming soon for Android.
RogerVoice is a unique world first technology which assists Deaf & hard of hearing individuals by providing free captioned cellphone calls. The app itself uses a simple interface to allow the Deaf caller to speak while voice recognition technology provides a real-time transcript of what the other individual is saying. This simple and free app can make phone calls easier, though accuracy is dependent on audio quality. The app is available on iOS and Google Play [Android].
8. Assistive Touch
Assistive touch is an app that provides the user with virtual buttons. These virtual buttons allow any mobile touch phone user to navigate the device without touching it. Home, volume, back, and even screenshot buttons are all accounted for on the virtual layout. It’s an excellent choice for those who have problems with arthritis, or muscular disabilities.
Big Keys is exactly what it says. This simple applications primary function is to allow customization of the size of the keys of a mobile phone's keyboard and emoji's. Along with this, other features even include a numeric keypad. keyboard customization themes, and color contrast for easier visibility.
10. Envision AI
Envision AI is one of the newer apps on this list, and it's a must have for anyone with limited vision. The app can recognize faces, quickly scan and read from any text or surface [like menus, books, signs, etc.] and even handwritten text. Supporting up to 60 languages, Envision AI requires a monthly or yearly subscription.
Here are some honorable mentions that aren't specifically designed to create accessibility, but nonetheless do.
Google Assistant isn't knew, but the voice operated interface helps users who may not be able to physically grasp or hold the phone. Important functions like calling, text, internet browsing and more can be activated and controlled via voice. However, a common downside is that it can drain battery of your phone more quickly. Google’s Voice Access setting in Android also lets you control other parts of your phone with your voice and it’s made specifically for users with disability.
Google Maps may be a strange addition, but there are numerous other functions that can provide assistance to those in need. You can use the app to find wheelchair accessible entrances, disability-friendly transit options [coming soon] and the turn-by-turn navigation works even while walking or in a wheelchair.