Mobile Phone Buyer's Guide for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Today's handsets are capable of so much more than just making calls and sending text messages. However, only certain models are suitable for blind or visually impaired consumers. We've outlined five areas to think about when it comes to finding handset that suits all your needs. 

Accessibility of basic features

There's no point in getting a mobile phone if you cannot make/receive calls or text messages. For those with useful vision, there is a selection text enlargement software available, including Zoom, which is available for iOS products, including the iPhone, iPad and iPod. 

Other factors you might want to consider include character size and colour contrast. You should also make sure that the device is well-lit. While most of this information is available on the Internet, it's always a good idea to test the device in-store before buying to check whether it meets all your personal requirements.

Screen-reading software

There are plenty of choices when it comes to finding the best screen-reading software for blind users. TALKS&ZOOMSMobile Speak, and Apple's VoiceOver are currently the most popular choices on the market. 

The downside is that each of these options only works on certain phones. For this reason, we recommend that you always double-check what type of software that is available for the handset of your choice.

It's all about the buttons

For those of you who are visually impaired, make sure you check the colour contrast of your phone's buttons. It's also important to keep in mind whether they are sufficiently spaced out. If you are blind, check whether the buttons on the handset are well defined and evenly spaced. What's more, consider if they are arranged in a way that allows you to hit the one you want without having to think about it too much.

Touchscreen phones

When choosing a new phone, visually impaired people should take some time to ensure that the touchscreen device of their choice is big enough and easy to operate. Furthermore, does it include basic accessibility features, such as text enlargement and the ability to zoom in on what you want easily?

Other important factors include battery life and last, but not least, the price of the handset. Prepare to be faced with restricted knowledge and awareness of accessibility features among the staff you speak to when buying your new handset. Our recommendation? Make a check-list and stick to your guns. After all, you know what you want far better than they do.

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