Visibility Vol 12 Issue 1, 2018

The Impact of Smartphones and Tablets on Blind and Low Vision Users: Are Mainstream Devices Replacing Traditional Visual Aids?

Despite their utility, traditional assistive devices (such as video magnifiers) are often abandoned and underutilized due to cost, a lack of technical support and the stigma that is often attached when using tools that disclose a disability to others. Smartphones and tablets incorporate built-in accessibility features (such as magnification and screen reading software) and an increasing number of apps enable users to perform a variety of daily tasks (e.g. reading text, updating the calendar, setting reminders). However, little is known about how these mainstream tools are being used by people who are blind or who have low vision. The goal of this study was to explore the use of smartphones and tablets within the blind and low vision population, and the degree to which such mainstream tools are replacing the use of traditional visual aids for different tasks.

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