Top Productivity Apps for the Blind and Visually Impaired

One of the great benefits of the iOS devices is to assist us in staying productive.  For people with vision impairment or blindness there are several apps that support our unique needs.  Below are a few of my favorites.

VoiceDream reader

Holy cow, if I had to pick an app for accessing enlarged print or the need for text to speech in school.  This is the one!

It will take text from Google, Dropbox, Bookshare, websites and more to mention here.  Viewing modes that provide double line contrasting colors to guide with the reading.

Read with your ears! Voice Dream Reader is a widely acclaimed desktop-class app that reads articles, documents and books out loud. With advanced text-to-speech and a highly configurable visual layout, it can be tailored to suit every reading style and level.

Where to Find Out More:

Cost $14.99

Is spelling difficult for you?  It is for me.  If it were not for this app, I would be in big trouble or just carry around the big book.  One of my favorite features and audio pronunciation.  Try It! is the leading free English dictionary app for iPhone – with over 2,000,000 trusted definitions and synonyms, the app is designed and optimized for your mobile device.

Where to Find Out More:

Cost:  FREE

Seeing Al

“Is this person serious?” …. “I wish I could tell what brand this is!” …. “What color is this” …. “ and last but not least “What does this paper say?” For many blind and visually impaired we ask ourselves these questions almost daily…..

Now with the Seeing AI App and an IPhone you can point camera on your phone and get the answers.  I can’t believe it!  One app almost does it all.

Seeing AI is a free app that narrates the world around you. Designed for the blind and low vision community, this ongoing research project harnesses the power of AI to open up the visual world and describe nearby people, text and objects.

Optimized for use with VoiceOver, the app enables you to recognize:

  • Short Text – Speaks text as soon as it appears in front of the camera
  • Documents – Provides audio guidance to capture a printed page, and recognizes the text, along with its original formatting
  • Products – Scans barcodes, using audio beeps to guide you; hear the name, and package information when available. (works with iPhone 6 and later)
  • People – Saves people’s faces so you can recognize them, and get an estimate of their age, gender, and emotions
  • Scenes (early preview) – Hear an overall description of the scene captured
  • Currency – Recognizes currency notes. (Requires iOS 11)
  • Color – Identifies color
  • Handwriting – Reads handwritten text like in greeting cards
  • Light – Generates an audible tone corresponding to the brightness in the surroundings
  • Images in other apps – Just tap “Share” and “Recognize with Seeing AI” to describe images from Mail, Photos, Twitter, and more.

Where to Find Out More:

Cost:  Free

Voice Writer

For all of those who write like me who know exactly what they want to say but get lost in the “act” of writing – this app helps with proofreading and supports writers with special needs.  If you are like me and have difficulty writing, I mean getting the words out, I call it a brain dump.  Often cannot find the right words and which order they should go and I ask myself, “is this the correct word I want to use?”.

The app creates an outline as you write, creating headings, and paragraphs while helping you to structure you document.  And my favorite, not more cut and paste, just drag and drop your sentence to fit them in where appropriate.

Just write.  For many with vision impairments and or learning disabilities, this app provides spoken feedback to your written word.  I like this app to read back my reports once I write them, it helps greatly with identifying grammar and spelling errors.

The text-to-speech feedback is designed to help writers find mistakes in their writing. The style of text-to-speech reading can even be changed to help writers focus either on spelling and grammar, or on content and organization. The app also offers easy access to an outline view that can help with organizing a document. Other features allow users to look up words phonetically or look up words by its meaning.

Where to Find Out More:

~ Gloria

About Gloria StuartTop Productivity Apps for the Blind and Visually Impaired Tech Tips Technology Training

Gloria is a Senior Assistive Technology Specialist and Trainer at New England Low Vision and Blindness.  Gloria is both an expert and user of low vision equipment providing assistive technology services to children and adults in RI and the New England region for more than 20 years.

Want to Learn More?

New England Low Vision and Blindness offers training on these and other apps.  To learn more, contact a Low Vision Specialist at New England Low Vision and Blindness today –  email us at or call our toll free number 888-211-6933.