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Apps

The apps highlighted in this section have been tested and selected by considering parameters of functionality, ease of use, user characteristics (age and pathology) and price. The descriptions and ratings that accompany them have been made by the team of experts from the DRJ consultancy firm and the BMF.

Amazon Kindle

Free time

This a simple way to access every type of book; from those published recently to others that are sold by Amazon. Its interface is adapted to different kinds of users and its viewing mode can be personalised for different degrees of sight. It is totally accessible with screenreaders and it has very good options for selecting text, placing markers, etc.

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This app enables users from the Amazon Kindle digital bookshop to access books from a mobile phone in a simple way using Voice Over.

This GPS exploration option is recommended for intrepid users who, apart from information about the places they are passing through, would like to obtain spatial orientation on a map and other characteristics. It is recommended for those who are familiar with technology as although its simplest features are useful for those with any level of technological ability, this app’s best features are designed for those blind users who wish to obtain extra information about their location and who have some basic technological knowledge.

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This is an app that uses GPS to provide the opportunity to find out your whereabouts and information about roads, numbers etc. Ariadne GPS enables exploration of a virtual map of what surrounds you. With VoiceOver active on the device, nearby road names and numbers can be discovered through touch. Simply touch the map that appears on the device screen and move your finger to obtain information about the road you are touching. Your present location is found in the middle of the screen. The element in front of the app user appears in the top half of the screen and the one behind the user appears in the lower half.

Audesc Movil

Free time

This app provides access to the audio description of many TV series and films. It is really easy to use once the audio descriptions are downloaded onto the device. The interface is visually acceptable, although many people may require help with downloading. Once a film or programme has been downloaded onto the device, all that is necessary is to select it on the app, allow the app to hear the TV sound and start to listen to the audio description track.

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This app enables blind people to enjoy the audio description of films shown at the cinema or on television, which they have previously acquired on DVD, Blu-Ray or through digital platforms. To do so, all they have to do is download this app to their mobile device and check whether the film is available on the server by following the steps indicated.

Audible

Free time

The Audible app offers the chance to access thousands of audiobooks published by Amazon. Its interface is totally suited for people of any technological level as it only has a few controls. Some people may require help from friends or relatives to open their account and buy audiobooks, but once these audiobooks have been bought, their interaction with them will be very independent.

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Audible is the specific app in which audiobooks created by the same company may be downloaded and listened to. This app is accessible and intuitive and enables books to be handled very effectively, as long as the user is registered with this Amazon service.

Be my eyes

Autonomy

This app is the simplest and most effective way to obtain visual assistance in real time and at any moment. Its interface is very simple and the app is useful for any degree of visual impairment that requires assistance from one of the volunteers who may be connected around the world and in their own language. This involves videoconferencing in which the user shows the volunteer the situation for which they require help and receives a live spoken response. It may be used to obtain information about packaging but also to obtain assistance in situations like finding something on the floor, finding the door of a building etc.

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Be My Eyes is a way of connecting the blind or the visually impaired with sighted volunteers to help them live a more independent life. Users can request assistance from a sighted volunteer, who will receive a notification. As soon as the request is accepted, a live audio and video connection between both parties will be set up. From then on, the volunteer can help the blind or visually impaired person through the video connection in the rear camera to resolve any situation that requires sight.

BlindSquare is a highly specialised solution for visually-impaired users that is capable of providing GPS information to access places of interest in the user’s vicinity. Its interface is really accessible and easy to use for people with different levels of technological ability although its configuration may be taxing for some people. However, if a request for help is made to a friend or relative, this app is of real interest and can give greater confidence to visually-impaired users who wish to venture out and explore the places in their vicinity.

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BlindSquare is a solution that combines the latest technology to help blind people in their daily lives. It has been developed in collaboration with blind people and carefully tested with real users. To start, an iPhone or an iPad is necessary but it is also compatible with some additional accessories to improve the experience. How does it work? BlindSquare uses GPS and the compass to determine one’s whereabouts. Then, it collects information about the surrounding area from FourSquare. BlindSquare has some unique algorithms to decide which information is the most relevant and then it communicates it with high-quality voice synthesis.

Digit-Eyes

Autonomy

Digit-Eyes is one of highest-rated apps for reading QR codes or barcodes aimed at the visually impaired. Its visual accessibility is acceptable and it is simple and intuitive; which makes it useful for those with varying technological skills. In addition, the possibility of creating personalised labels or using washable labels can mean that with the assistance of a friend or relative, the visually impaired can organise their belongings, books or documents etc. using recognisable text or audio messages.

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Digit-Eyes is a robust app that reads barcode labels, enabling the visually-impaired to scan UPC/EAN codes and recognise over 34 million products on its database. Barcode labels can also be made using the Digit-Eyes website and printing them using low-cost shipping labels. These codes can contain text that Voice Over reads aloud or be used to make sound recordings that will be heard each time the code is scanned with the iPhone.

FaceTime

Communication

FaceTime is the simplest way for iOS users to communicate with their contacts by audio and video. It is especially useful for anyone who requires visual assistance at any time but it is also a really easy alternative to use for keeping in contact with friends and relatives. The chance to take photos with the video screen enables people to save special moments on their camera. Both the app and the operating system itself make this an essential app for anyone with an iOS device.

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It enables audio or video calls to be made from your iPhone, iPad and iPad Touch to other iOS devices, or even to a Mac. It has various features like calls to contacts using a telephone number or Apple ID, making audio or video calls, using the front camera to show your face, switching to the rear camera to show what you can see and taking a live photo with just one touch and creates “Favourites” to gain access to key people in the “Telephone” app.

Hangouts

Communication

This Google tool is a simple way to communicate with people who have a Google account. It is accessible and easy to use, especially when an invitation to take part in a conversation is received. Although some may find it difficult to understand, it is comfortable and straightforward once it is understood its simplest uses.

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Google Hangouts is an app used for communication through messages between contacts, whether they be friends, relatives etc., videocalls, voice calls, and even sending photos, stickers and emojis.

iBooks

Free time

This reader is solely available for iOS and is intuitive and easy to use. It is important to bear in mind that it may only be used to access books published in Apple’s iBook shop although PDF documents may also be saved. To read books and documents from iBooks, iOS accessibility characteristics must be used, such as “Read selection” or “Read screen”. Although its interface is simple, it may be difficult to use for people who are unfamiliar with the iOS operating system and its accessibility.

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This is the iOS native app for reading books published exclusively on the exclusive Apple platform. It is accessible with Voice Over and it can read specific iBooks and any other ePub or PDF document imported from other apps.

Just Press record

Utilities

The possibility of recording anything, from short messages to a speech, is one of the best ways to help a visually-impaired person. This recorder is really easy to use; as its name would suggest, “just press the record button” to start. Its interface is accessible and may be improved with the accessibility characteristics of the operating system. However, the app’s most advanced characteristics, such as the configuration of sound sources, the transcription of recordings etc. may be difficult for some. If the app is left configured at its default settings, it is really useful and easy to use for all levels of technological ability.

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Just Press Record is a recorder that makes use of the possibilities in iCloud to synchronise the recordings in all the devices connected to the service. It possesses a variety of personalisation parameters and uses the Apple voice-recognition system to transcribe recordings if required, which makes it very useful for speeches, meetings etc.

KNFB Reader

Utilities

This app, despite being costly, is one of the best for recognising written texts and reading them aloud. It is really easy to use; its interface is very accessible and the results of text recognition can be saved in different formats. KNFB Reader is the best text-recognition app for the visually disabled that has been created for mobile devices and is the most reliable option for those who are blind or have little residual vision, for whom other alternatives are less reliable.

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This is the first app that is fully designed for the blind and those with low vision to enjoy all the advantages of OCR. It provides different options to help the user take the right photograph and it instantaneously shows the text on the screen, reads it aloud and highlights it on the screen so that it can be followed. It is easy to use and obtains excellent results for text recognition regardless of the user’s visual capacity.

Lazarillo app

Orientation and mobility

This navigating tool is a simple and comfortable alternative for anyone who is visually impaired and who wishes to obtain information about their whereabouts and the services nearby. Simply by opening the app, the user receives spoken messages regarding the names of roads and establishments in the vicinity. It is an easy way of taking the stress out of a walk down the road for those who are unable to see signs properly, regardless of their degree of visual impairment.

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This GPS app for the blind and those with low vision enables exploration of the surrounding area and configuration of routes. Lazarillo is a specialised app that provides mobility tools: using audio messages, it will inform you about nearby places, the road where you are walking, the road intersections on your route and other useful information. Not unlike a radio, the app will inform you of the obstacles close to you while you walk. This app was designed and implemented using authentic suggestions from blind people.

MD evReader

Autonomy

This app is aimed specifically at those with macular degeneration, who still can use their sight to read. It greatly helps those who know the technique of eccentric viewing but this method of training vision and practising should be known before using the app. The fact that it has such a simple interface, customizable configuration and audio usage instructions available make it easy to use and if the user has a monitor or a TV they can take advantage of the advantages of this app and read comfortably through a large screen.

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The MD evReader is a simple iPad app designed to help people with Macular Degeneration (MD) to read e-books when it is combined with the technique of “eccentric viewing”. Eccentric vision is when a person attempts to see by making use of their peripheral visual skills instead of the central ones (macular). The app enables the text (of e-pub documents) to be presented horizontally, from right to left, through the screen. The speed and the direction of the text movement may be controlled using a monitoring panel on the iPad screen. The text may be enlarged and presented in very large fonts on a digital screen through an HDMI port (this requires an Apple HDMI adaptor). The reader must fix their gaze in their preferred position of eccentric vision, far from the text, and read the text without moving their eyes. At present, the app cannot show books that are DRM-protected.

Medicamento accesible plus

Utilities

This app works solely with medicines registered with the spanish Pharmaceutical College, but it is a very comfortable way of accessing the directions for use of any medicine. Its interface has messages of help and search information may be introduced in different ways. Even those with residual vision can scan the barcodes to obtain information, which is much easier to read than on the medicine itself.

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Medicamento Accesible Plus is a free app developed for different platforms that enables updated information about medicines to be checked using a screenshot of the barcode on its usual packaging. It ensures the understanding of information in a completely accessible way. This solution accesses part of the information included in the Medical Knowledge Database (BDM in Spanish) of the General Council of Official Colleges of Pharmacists in Spain and incorporates search options, an assistant feature for reading information aimed at patients and other services of interest for users.

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