5 Top Mobile Apps for the Blind

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a hand holding up a phone with a screen full of apps

Braille Works looks to the tech world this week. We’re highlighting some of the most useful mobile apps which play a role in the visually impaired community. It’s rare to find someone that isn’t glued to their smartphone these days. But, with that dependence on technology, many have found independence for themselves.

Need to know how far you’ve walked in a day? There’s an app for that. Need to know how many calories you’ve eaten? There’s an app for that. Need to know where you’re spending your money? Yep, you’ve guessed it- there’s an app for that too. But what if you need exact directions because you can’t visually see the landmarks or map of the city you’re visiting? Or you can’t tell if you’re holding a can of beets or cranberry sauce until you open it? Well, for those with blindness, thankfully there’s an app for that too.

5 of the Best Mobile Apps for Users who are Blind or Visually Impaired

Apps have made life easier for many people living with blindness or a visual impairment. Being able to read things that are only in visual print, was a task that might have required a non-sighted person to seek the help of another. But apps in combination with the ever growing presence of technology grant people new ways of reading things and doing really anything. We learn to read with our ears and write with our voices.

Voice-over features on smartphones are a game changer. They grant the same access to the digital world to nonsighted users like everyone else. In turn, it seems that more people realize that blind people matter too. Microsoft pushed for more accessible versions of Windows. Netflix adopted audio description technology for its programs. And, everywhere we look, we’re redefining the definition of “to look”. People are people no matter how they “see”. And, apps are helping people level the playing field and be more independent. We’re going to focus on 5 mobile apps for the blind that have really made a difference.

Related: 9 Apps for Accessibility Technology

1. Be My Eyes: The One Everyone’s Been Talking About- People Helping People in Real-Time

Be My Eyes – A free app that connects sighted volunteers to individuals who are blind or visually impaired to assist them in their day-to-day lives. The app has introduced the first-ever virtual volunteer through OpenAl’s GPT-4 so users can send images via the app and receive detailed descriptions and instructions for a wide variety of tasks. [Learn More]

Image of a Be My Eyes screenshot showing a user profile on the left and two cans on the right. One is a can of coconut milk and the other is tomatoes.

2. OneStep Reader App: Reads Virtually Any Text Aloud

The OneStep Reader converts printed text into high-quality speech to provide accurate, fast, and efficient access to both single and multiple-page documents with the tap of a button on the iPhone. [Learn More]

Image of a screenshot of the KNFB Reader showing highlighted text that is read aloud.

3. TapTapSee: Identify Objects Through Photos

TapTapSee is designed to help the blind and visually impaired identify objects they encounter in their daily lives. Simply double-tap the screen and take a photo of anything, at any angle. You’ll hear the app speak the identification back to you (Note: Requires VoiceOver to be turned on). [Learn More]

Image of a TapTapSee screenshot showing a can of soup and a five dollar bill.

4. Cash Reader: The Money Identifier Mobile App

The Cash Reader app instantly recognizes currency and speaks the denomination, enabling people experiencing visual impairments or blindness to quickly and easily identify and count bills.  [Learn More]

Individual using the Cash Reader app by using their smart phone camera to capture the bill. In big yellow letters, the app states that the image is a "50 British Pound."

5. Lazarillo App: Navigation

Offering turn-by-turn navigation, the Lazarillo app allows users who are blind or visually impaired to explore and reach their destination independently through audio guidance. [Learn More]

Individual smiling while holding up his smart phone that shows the destination options that the user can choose from such as hospitals, resturants, and transportation.

We know there’s way more than just 5 useful apps out there and we’d love to hear what apps you have found helpful in your life! Has there been a game-changing app that you’ve come across? How has your life changed because of technology?

Tell us about it on Facebook and Twitter or email us today to talk about how we can help bridge that gap between businesses and their blind customers. Let’s connect on LinkedIn– a piece of tech that in and of itself is changing the way professionals connect every day.

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This post was written by Braille Works

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