There’s an app for that!

Did you get a new smartphone or tablet for Christmas or Hanukkah? Is new technology part of your New Years Resolutions? Smartphones and tablets make up more than 80 percent of sales for connected devices, far surpassing desktops and laptops. That market certainly includes people with disabilities, as well as caregivers and health care professionals. Are there apps made to support people with disabilities and caregivers? What are some of the accessibility issues with smartphone and tablets? What accessibility features or modifications do people with disabilities use? What’s on the horizon? Before you ask Siri, here are some resources from the NIDILRR community to help answer those questions.

AbleData tells The Accessibility and Mobile Apps Story (PDF), covering the development of smartphone technology and spotlighting apps that support a range of disabilities.

The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technology (Wireless RERC) conducts an annual Survey of User Needs on general use and accessibility of wireless technology (currently available in English and Spanish). The Wireless RERC uses the data for several projects and publications such this report on ease of use and wireless device modification or this report on use of mobile apps by people who are Deaf or hard of hearing.  As Winter kicks into high gear, you might also find this article on emergency preparedness and your mobile device helpful!

Interested in apps developed by NIDILRR grantees?

  • Capti Narrator from Charmtech Labs reads aloud text on your smartphone, tablet, or desktop.
  • GPS technology from Sendero Group helps people who are blind or low vision navigate their environment.
  • Tiramisu alerts users when the next accessible bus is approaching.
  • Mobile signing apps from VCom helps with language learning and communication.
  • Hearing Companion from Creatability, Inc, helps people who are Deaf or hard of hearing identify sounds in their environment.
  • Check out the App Factory from the Wireless RERC and see how they’re partnering with app developers to bring exciting technology to the marketplace.

Our collection also includes a wide range of research on this topic: smartphones and handheld devices for supported employment, using apps in caregiving, handheld technology use in clinics, and so much more! See articles and other publications from the NIDILRR community and other sources indexed in our REHABDATA database.

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