Hello to my readers,
Welcome back to Blind Intuition. Today I want to share with you my favourite apps I use every day. Some of these I use to help me see, some I use for fun and some I use for my blog. Most of these are compatible with Apple’s VoiceOver, or are close to manageable with some improvements that developers still need to make to make them fully accessible. So, here it goes. Let’s start with some apps I use to help me with my vision.
Apps I use to help me with my vision
A while ago, I wrote a post on apps I use to help me see. You can find the link to my post here. I have many apps I use to help me function around the home with little sight. All these apps I use on my iPad and iPhone. All are compatible with the VoiceOver.
Seeing Assistant Magnifier
I use this app every day. I use it to read my Thermomix (See post and video on how I use the app to read my Thermomix here). I adjust the zoom to 100 per cent and the contrast down to 30 percent to get the lighting and magnification I need. This app is great when trying to read things with back-lighting such as scales, the Thermomix and microwave, even the computer. I prefer to use VoiceOver when reading long articles so I don’t strain my eyes.
Better Vision is a magnifying app. It’s a simple app to use and is a great one if you have low vision with a high contrast black and white dashboard. I use the magnifying part with the light to read Archer simple board books. I tend to learn the book before I read to him as he is more interested in the phone than the book. You can also change the contrast to suit your vision. There is also a text to speech option in it for simple things which is handy.
This is a great app for the vision impaired. I don’t use it too often, but it is great when I am cooking to find out if a can has tomatoes or corn in it. It will read out the label. If I take a picture of Cam and the dog it will use the image and dictate back to me what is in the image. For example, ‘ man sitting down wearing grey trousers, black jumper with brown hair with brown and white three coloured medium dog’ . It is pretty accurate. I also use it when I am out running in the reservoir and need to read a sign to find out which way I need to go.
This is my favourite app. It comes with a hefty price though. I am not sure if it is worth over $150, but I use it every day. I would like to see this app at a lower cost for people with disabilities. I use this app as a text to speech app to read large documents, bills, menus, Archer’s books, Archer’s child care communication book and I am sure it can do much more that I haven’t tried yet. Next time I catch the bus I am going to try take a photo of the front of the bus to see if it can read the number out to me. That would be handy. I like how it highlights the sentence it is reading. It is the most accurate out of all the text to speech apps I have tried. I can now independently read bills and pay for them thanks to this app.
This app is great for setting the timer for cooking time, or when I am doing a HIIT workout. It is high contrast with big buttons, so great for people with low vision.
This is a great simple app to use to have emails read to you. You can skip to the next, delete, compose and send with just a few simple gestures. Very handy for saving time. I mostly use the Gmail app, but it is quite complex even though it is fully compatible with the VoiceOver. So Voice Dream Mail is good when I don’t have time for complications.
Blogging and Social Media
WordPress is a very simple iOS app to use on the iPad or iPhone. I do most of my blogging from my iPad. The app is fully compatible with the VoiceOver. I use my Bluetooth keyboard to type most of the time to get better accuracy. I learnt to touch type before I lost my vision so I don’t need enlarged letters on the keys.
Both apps on the iOS are fully compatible with the VoiceOver. Both are always improving and have come a long way with accessibility in the last 6-12 months. Both apps provide audio description for photos. I am still waiting for audio description to the memes and quotes I used to love reading. I zoom in on them now, but I love it when the poster puts the quote in the description so my VoiceOver reads it and I don’t miss out. Very few people do this.
This app is a bit inconsistent with the VoiceOver on my iOS devices. I loved this app before I lost my vision. I still do and feel lucky enough to still make out the photos. With some updates the app is fully compatible, with others it’s not. A bit frustrating. I have given them feedback so hopefully they can rectify the problem.
Netflix and Free to Air apps
I quite often will browse shows using the VoiceOver and airplay it onto the TV so I can see it better. I am, and many others are, still waiting for the government to approve audio description in Australia for all free to air channels. Even though I can still see enough to work out what is going on, I struggle in silences with the body language and often miss the joke or the really good bits.
This is an app recently developed by Vision Australia where we can borrow audio books from their library and download it to our device. This is great. I always check here before I buy an audio book. They also have audio magazines to download. They get volunteers to record magazine articles and newspaper articles all up to date from all most major newspapers and magazines. I am glad about this because I love gossip mags and the News Stand app and most magazine apps are not compatible with the VoiceOver.
I would be lost without this app. I download audio books all the time and listen to them during the day. The VoiceOver will read the books to me so I don’t miss out.
I love podcasts. Like audio books, I have them playing through the day. I listen to all sorts of things. Mostly crime and interviews, parenting, TED talks and motivational speakers. This could be a whole new blog post!
This is my music app and is fully compatible with VoiceOver. It is an app where you rent music and make your playlists. We have a family membership and pay less than $20 a month. We have been using this app for a few years now.
Fully compatible with VoiceOver and easy to upload videos. I use this app less on my devices now we have an Apple TV.
The iOS photo app is fully compatible with the VoiceOver. When you are taking a picture, it will tell you when a face in in the pic so you don’t get half a face or a foot. If you press on the photo it will also tell you if it is blurry or crisp. It is great.
This is fully compatible with the VoiceOver on iOS devices and my MacBook. I can just type a basic document now. I still need to learn all the commands for formatting and editing. It will take some time.
Both fully compatible with VoiceOver. I use Siri to set my appointments, make lists and reminders. You can read more about Siri here.
Kayla Istines’ workouts are awesome and she has an app which is cheaper per week than a gym membership. The app provides 28 minute workouts, recipes and education. There still needs to be some major improvements made to make it fully accessible using the VoiceOver, but it is manageable. I would recommend this app for anyone who has time limits with exercise. I use Archer as my weights in most exercises to get us both outside, have fun together and to install in him a love for exercise and fresh air.
Like Sweat, there needs to be some improvements made to make it fully accessible with VoiceOver. However it is manageable. I am using it for my half marathon training program. For a premium cost, you can get the app to develop training schedules and goals catered for your fitness and needs. It would be good to get a running app where you can set out a route and the app directs you using the VoiceOver a bit like on Maps so you don’t get lost. I get lost a lot, but trusty Siri and Maps always gets me home!
This is my favourite navigation app. It is simple to use and easy to look up timetables, bus stops and train stations. You can set your favourite lines. It beeps and vibrates two stops and one stop before you get off and goes crazy when you are approaching your stop. This app takes my anxiety away when catching the bus. I still get anxious at the bus stop in town where 12 lines pull up and I worry about getting on the wrong bus. I always ask someone and double check with the driver on the bus. I don’t like asking. There needs to be an app where you can hold your phone camera up to scan what bus it is.
I have used this a couple of times to get me to places I haven’t been before. It is a bit like four square but made for the vision impaired. So say if I was meeting a friend at a new cafe, the app will bring up the local businesses within a certain radius you pick and will direct you to where you need to go. I guess this app is my back up if I can’t find the place with the little bit of vision I have.
I love this app. You can save recipes from any website and it sets it out like a recipe book. You can make up your own categories and order recipes how you like. It has a web browser in the app so you don’t have to switch between apps. I save all my Thermomix recipes in here rather than trying to navigate the website. It saves a lot of time. I would recommend this app to everybody. It saves paper and ink! It is fully compatible with VoiceOver.
This app is mostly compatible with the VoiceOver and is great for if you can’t be bothered going to the shops or you are limited like myself. I like it because it gives detailed descriptions on what I am buying. You wouldn’t get this much description in the shops. I use it mostly to buy gifts especially for kids, stock up our pantry, buy books for Archer, clothes and much more. Prices are a lot cheaper on here for major brands than in the shops. It just might be last seasons stock.
Well that is it for now. These are all the apps I mainly use. Without this technology I don’t know what I would do. I am a massive tech head and love keeping up to date with the latest accessible apps. I am working on writing to developers to make the apps I use even more accessible so I can enjoy them to their full capacity like a sighted person would. I would encourage others to do the same. I find the best responses come when you are specific about what the problem is and where in the app it is not accessible, then the developer can work on that area of the app!
Let me know if there are any apps which you would recommend me to try!