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What visually impaired people should look for while buying a phone

Mobile phones are a blessing and one of the biggest gifts of modern technology. Which are the best ones to choose from when you are visually impaired?

There are many apps available in mobile phones that cater to the needs of visually impaired people. Most of them have voice recorders as blind people have difficulty in identifying the keys.

The good news is that there are some phones exclusively phones for blind people. Recently, United Kingdom-based company OwnFone said it was the first to launch a phone with keys in Braille.

Shirin Kheriwala, a visually impaired person in Mumbai, is pretty tech savvy and likes to stay updated with the latest technologies.

If you can afford them, I would suggest going for an iPhone. They have a lot of accessibility features. One should always purchase a phone that has in-built voice over and a good volume. I know a lot of blind people who opt for Motorola and Samsung phones because of their accessibility features. - Shirin Kheriwala.

If you have a visual impairment, here are some things to keep in mind while buying a phone.

  • Right software - Screen reading software is something that is very popular amongst mobile phones for blind people. The user does not have to take the trouble of touching the keys to understand texts. One can read e-mails, access websites and get any other information. But ensure that you buy a good quality phone that has this facility.
  • Pick up a good quality phone - So how do you identify the right smart phone? It must have audible cues, screen reader, caller ID, Braille display support, colour and contrast adjustment facilities, voice menus and audible key feedback to name a few. Make sure that you are not duped by low quality phones.
  • Battery and storage life - Your phone must have enough storage facilities and a good battery life. Most people charge their phones once or twice a day but your phone has to run an entire day. Ensure that you buy a phone with good storage facilities and a long battery life. Your mobile phone must always come handy when you have an emergency.
  • Research - This is one of the most important things to keep in mind when you buy a new phone. In order to get all the above mentioned things right, you must do a thorough research. Speak to other blind mobile phone users and know about the best available options in the market.

Madhu Singhal, co-founder of NGO Mitra Jyothi, who is visually impaired, firmly believes that one should buy a phone with updated software.

"I am an i-Phone user. If you can afford one, then nothing like it! You must ensure that you buy a phone which has updated software because blind people have to install a lot of voiceover apps", says Madhu.

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