The innovative SilVer platform, which catalogues and recommends apps and devices for those who have lost their sight or have low vision, has expanded its range of options with new apps that accommodate and facilitate the daily needs of users.
SilVer (Smart Aids for Visually Impaired) is a pioneering proposal. It is a free consultation website, a platform that gives the blind or low visioned a space in which to find the apps and devices on the market, those that best adapt to their daily needs. Just as technology is constantly evolving, SilVer is also updating with new apps.
The driving forces behind this initiative, the digital accessibility consultancy DRJ Consulting and the Barcelona Macula Foundation, have analysed the following apps according to parameters such as functionality, accessibility and ease of use: Colour Identifier, Light Detector, Yuka and Mercadona.
ONCE Colour Identifier
This app detects the colours of the objects on which it focuses. It does so in two ways: continuously i.e. by constantly providing information about the colours the camera detects; or by exploring an image through examination of the colours of a photograph taken by the app.
Unlike similar colour identifiers, which form part of a more complex app, this one is very fast and easy to use. It is important to bear in mind that the results are affected by the light and shadow, as with any other colour identifier.
ONCE Light Detector
It is of course important to know whether we are in a room that is lit or not. This is true when we are entertaining guests or are concerned about electricity consumption, for example. This app tells the user whether there is a light source in the room they are in.
Unlike other light detectors, this is not part of a more complex app and it gives results by sound, vibration or both. This latter point is important as it makes this app the only one that can be used by deafblind people, as well as in quiet environments.
Supermarket shopping can sometimes present a challenge for the blind or low-visioned. Knowing whether a certain product contains an allergen is vital for many people and this is not always easy. The app scans the barcodes of food and cosmetic products and provides a detailed factsheet that helps the user to understand the analysis of each product.
The app tells the user whether the product in question is healthy or not. When the impact on health is negative, it recommends similar, more beneficial ones.
The app has an interface that is easy to use. To start scanning products, all that is needed is to register with an email or through a Facebook account.
Related to the previous app, this is the app of the supermarket chain Mercadona, which enables access to online shopping. Purchases can be made quickly and intuitively from any location as long as it is covered by the post codes where the service is now available.
The app enables products to be viewed in detail, added to the basket and purchases made. In addition, previous purchases can be checked and modified according to need and usual products bought without the need for lists.
Although the app is intuitive and easy to use, it is recommended for those who are comfortable using mobile devices because it requires the use of text fields, drop-down buttons etc. If the user is totally blind and does not feel completely at home with the screen reader, it might be overwhelming to try to use the app correctly.
It should be noted that accessibility for screen reader users in the Android version is not as developed as with iOS. Consequently, Android use is not recommended if the user is blind.