Eye-Phone: Smartphone Vision Accessibility Features
How smart would your smartphone really be if only people with 20/20 vision could use it? Turns out, the designers of the most ubiquitous smartphone technologies out there, the Android and iPhone, thought a smartphone like that wouldn’t be very smart at all. Form its inception, the smartphone has always had accessibility built right into the system itself.
ACCESSIBILTY, or mobile accessibility as it’s often termed in the technical jargon, refers to any established set of features designed to improve a technology’s functionality for people with various types and degrees of disability. Simply having the option to increase the volume on your smartphone, or nearly any telephone for that matter, is an accessibility feature allowing for people with some degree of hearing loss to better make use of their phone by TURNING UP THE VOLUME!
The smartphones of today are very vision oriented, and while the trend to make the smartphone ever smaller has seemed to ease up in favor of slightly larger, more advanced display screens (that is, at least for now…), even the larger, most vivid displays can present challenges for anyone with low vision or some degree of vision loss.
Smartphone Vision Accessibility
Like most smartphones nowadays, the iPhone has a host of vision accessibility features all found on the ACCESSIBILITY menu found after clicking SETTINGS.
Voice Over is a screen reader that describes what’s happening on your device so you can navigate by listening and performing gestures. Voice Over's speaking rate and pitch can be adjusted to fit your needs.
When you turn on Typing Feedback, your device speaks letters and words as you type, and speaks auto-corrections and capitalizations as they appear.
While watching movies on your iPhone or iPad you can turn on audio descriptions to have scenes described to you.
Magnifier can turn your smartphone a magnifying glass so you can zoom in on objects near you.
Display and Text Size
You can adjust your Display and Text Size features, like Invert Colors, to change the way content appears on your display. You can also adjust the font size, color intensity, and tint to make reading easier.
You can adjust Zoom settings to magnify your screen no matter what you're doing. You can magnify the entire screen (Full Screen Zoom) or magnify only part of the screen with a resizable lens (Window Zoom).
If you have sensitivity to motion effects or screen movement on your iPhone or iPad, you can use Reduce Motion to turn off these effects.
Some or all of these accessibility features are available on iPhones, iPads, Android phones and most likely any device you’re using.
Hello, Google! Your Personal Virtual Assistant
Apple’s Siri, Google’s Google Assistant, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Amazon’s Alexa among others have literally changed the game for vision impaired people using smartphones.
A virtual assistant, sometimes referred to as AI – artificial intelligence, is a smartphone feature or application that understands voice commands and completes tasks for a user speaking to it. Virtual assistants are available on most smartphones and tablets, traditional computers, and even standalone devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home.
Can’t see your phone display very well, just talk to it!
Vision accessibility on your smartphone does not take the place of corrective lenses, eyeglasses, vision enhancement laser eye surgery, or regular visits to your eye doctor. Start by talking to your eye doctor and then using your smartphone in the smartest way possible.