Consumer Tech and Low Vision: Tools you can use

Over the past two decades, we have seen a digital transformation where many print objects like newspapers, books and mail are now accessed through electronic devices. However, for individuals who live with low vision conditions, this can be problematic as font styles and sizes can be difficult to read in these new mediums.

As technology has evolved, companies have recognized the unique needs of this population and are working to enhance products and software to meet the needs of people with low vision.

Recently, Google has retooled its apps and products to enhance accessibility for low vision and blind users of Google Drive as well as Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, and Forms. The improvements include an enhanced screen reader, Braille display, and phone support for those who need additional assistance.

Below are some other essential tools and resources that can help enhance your life while living with low vision.

  • E-Readers: Apps like Spotlight Text and Read2Go provide adjustments for avid readers with impaired vision, helping increase or decrease font size as needed. E-readers like Kindles and iPads have functions in place to adjust font sizes and contrast settings on each device, in addition to text-to-speech functionality.
  • Text: Text-to-speech apps are available to translate the small print into audio. Tools like Siri on the iPhone can assist with this function as well.
  • Maps: Directions are an issue for everyone, but can even be harder to interpret with vision impairment. Many GPS apps provide voice assistance in addition to written directions.

These apps and devices are available to anyone. Tools and devices specifically for people with low vision can also increase quality of life for people with these conditions and help with everyday tasks. More information on low vision devices is available at http://whatislowvision.org/low-vision-devices/.

Even though we live in an increasingly digital world, individuals with low vision don’t have to be left behind and can even thrive with the help of new technology.

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