« Back to Blog
Author image

By Nathalie Bufton, Head of Independent Living Skills at NCW

Blog published 8th June 2015 | Category: Top Tips

Mobile phones and apps are part of everyday life for most young people, using apps to entertain, find useful information and make life easier. For visually impaired students their smart phones are a not only a way to keep in touch with friends but the apps they use can be vital link to the outside world and make day to day tasks a lot easier. I've had a chat with my students and I’d like to share with you the top 7 apps that they use in their everyday life and give you some tips on how you can support them in learning how to use them.

Tap Tap see - this app helps students to identify objects they encounter in their daily lives. Simply take a photograph of anything and hear the app identify the object. This app can be used with the device voiceover.

Money reader - use the camera on your device and it will identify the currency and the note you are wishing to identify.

VizWiz - This app lets blind users recruit remote sighted workers to help them with visual problems in nearly real time. Users of the app take a picture with their phone, speak a question and then receive a multiple spoken answer.

Waze - a turn by turn satellite navigation app which aids getting from A to B.

Colour id FREE - use the camera on your device to speak the name of the colours in real time. Just point and click.

Say text - using the camera it scans the image and then reads aloud any text within the image.

Cam find app This app can be used on any apple or android mobile device. It gives the user the ability to independently identify objects, colours and landmarks and then takes you to a search engine list on the internet where further information can be reviewed. It is a free app which does not require payment or re-installing.

How to you can support the use apps:

Chat with the students and find out which apps they'd like to try and download them together. Most of them are free. Navigate through the app together, describe how the camera works and help them find where the lens is (they often put their fingers over it). If they are using a text reader, let them know where the text is likely to be and where the need to point the camera. For example on the back of tins the label will have a seam (which they can feel with their fingers). This is where the text will be. Practice using the camera and describe how far away they need to hold it from the object to allow the camera to focus. You can use hand spaces to give them a way of measuring the space needed. Let them experiment with the camera and think about what strategies they could use if it doesn't work. Most importantly, as with learning anything new, patience and practice is the key! Good luck.

Follow NCW

You can find us on twitter as well as content on YouTube

YouTube icon Chris Stonehouse photo