Touchscreen Smartphone Accessibility for People with Visual Impairments and Blindness

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    When a sighted person uses a touchscreen smartphone or tablet, he or she taps icons or slides a finger across the display in order to make things happen. Happily, the three major touchscreen platforms from Apple, Google, and Microsoft, each include two built-in accessibility features for people with visual impairments: a screen magnifier and a screen reader.

    Smartphone Screen Magnification

    If you have low vision and have used a screen magnifier on a computer, you probably already know everything you need to know about how to use a screen magnifier on a mobile device. If you have never used a computer, don’t worry. We will describe how to enable screen magnification on the device of your choice, and provide guidance on how to enlarge text, adjust the color palette, and customize other display settings in order to improve your ability to use a touchscreen device. After reading the section below on screen readers, you may decide you also want to enable your device’s built-in screen reader for even greater accessibility.

    Smartphone Screen Readers

    Smartphone screen readers use human-sounding, synthesized voices to read and review the elements displayed on the smartphone touchscreen. Computer screen readers respond to keyboard commands Here’s how it works with a touchscreen: A smartphone touchscreen is composed of a pane of glass with a thin membrane layered on top. This membrane is smart, just like your phone. For a sighted person, touching a finger to an icon on a smartphone display causes a control to be activated. When you use a screen reader, that touch instead causes the device to speak the information located on the display directly beneath your fingertip. Touch the display in different places and you will hear the names of different icons, or snippets of descriptive text.

    Let’s say you have tapped the display and your screen reader has identified the Play icon on your device’s music player. To activate the Play control, you next perform a double-tap (tap twice in rapid succession) anywhere on the screen. The screen reader will interpret this gesture as though you were a sighted user issuing a single tap on the identified control. Voila—the music starts to play.

    This article was written and published by the American Foundation for the Blind.  To read the article in its entirety, you can visit this link

    How Can We Help You Or A Loved One

    Mr. Magnifier: If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with Macular Degeneration, our Mr. Magnifier handheld magnifiers are the perfect 1st Step for anyone with Macular Degeneration!  Here’s a link to very helpful information, including a free Magnification Guide –

    Free Low Vision Guide: If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with low vision, we have created this complimentary Low Vision Guide a free resource to help you or loved one who has been diagnosed with Macular Degeneration or other low vision conditions. Click here to download a PDF of the entire report.

    Corporate Brochure: Our comprehensive brochure outlines all of the helpful assistive technology and assistive training services we provide. Click here to download our Corporate Brochure.

    Technology: We offer the latest and most advanced low vision and blindness technology supported by world-class personal service. We have nearly 100% of all major electronic low vision, blindness, and software products. Our complimentary, no-obligation demonstration on any of our products will make sure our clients are getting the right product for their specific eye condition. Click here to learn more.

    Training: Assistive rehabilitation training services for people with low vision and blindness.  We go to our clients - home, school, or business - training where they need it - from caring assistive technology professionals. Click here to learn more.

    To learn more about how we can help you or a loved one, contact a Technology Specialist at New England Low Vision and Blindness today. You can call our toll-free number 888-211-6933 or email us at and we will be happy to help.

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