22 August 2013 by Permi Krishna
The best cellphones for the visually impaired, specialize in tactile keypads, advanced personal assistants and screen reading software to render cell phones accessible to the blind.
Mobile phone manufacturers are coming out with various applications to enable the blind to use phones with ease, and although most of them work pretty much the same way, there are several to choose from.
Apple has introduced the Voiceover application on some of its latest smartphones, that gives you voice prompts when the screen is touched, telling you what button your finger is currently resting on. On the latest iPhones, Apple has also installed a personal assistant called Siri, which could of great help for the blinds. Similar to Siri, Google Now, performs the task of assisting you on high-end Android smartphones. Some of the other screen reading applications are Mobile Speak and Talks, which can be uploaded on a compatible phone from a third party. Several of these programs also convert text messages in the inbox into audible messages for the benefit of using SMS facilities.
Additionally the QWERTY keypad is a great option for people who're unable to see, due to its standard arrangement of individual keys which makes typing emails a lot easier than with a normal keypad. On the downside, QWERTYs are generally less convenient to use single handed or in haste; however, it is recommended that you look for a phone with sufficiently large evenly spaced keys that can be individually sensed. Another feature you could consider is a Braille keyboard which provides a tactile interface to enhance readability.
Apart from these, there are various features that cater to people with failing eyesight, like colourful keypads with buttons that light up, large screens with high contrasts, and colour schemes which further improve the contrast level and assist readability. Several phones also have the Large Font feature that lets the user read and type on print sized fonts. There are also phones which implement keypads in which a sound issues when a button is pressed, the tone differing from key to key.
Furthermore, the best cellphones for the blind also incorporate voice dialling features that recognizes a contact from the contact list and prompts the phone to make the necessary call when the user voices a name; and also a voice guided GPS, to enable the user to make full and comfortable use of the cell phone.