2019 Jul 28
Mobile Apps are the new way of accessing services for a greater part of humanity every day, and people with disabilities are not an exception. From the trivial to the vital, mobile apps are catering to the needs of users all around the world in the most diverse scenarios in a moment in history when almost anybody, even in the most remote places, have access to some kind of mobile device.
This article lists and describe the use of some of the most useful Android apps for disabled adults.
Technology to the Rescue
With millions of people with different physical disabilities and needs all around the world, it is essential to know how to use today’s technology to improve their health and well-being. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have consolidated as a mandatory tool for people with some type of mobility impairments. Specifically, there are plenty of apps designed for them, to facilitate their daily life and help them work better with smartphones.
Either through off-the-shelf or adapted devices, mobile phones and tablets can allow access to all the advantages of ICT to people with disabilities resulting from cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or neuromuscular diseases.
In this context, there is a large number of applications for disabled adults or children. The next chapter compiles some of them focusing on Android devices –although most of them are available for Apple devices too–.
List of Best Android Apps for Disabled Users
For some smartphone users with physical disabilities, even the apparently simple task of operating the mobile can be challenging because it is difficult for them to perform gestures with their fingers on the touch-screen or to use the physical buttons of the device. However, with this app it is much easier to use a smartphone.
Assistive Touch offers configurable virtual buttons to easily perform many useful tasks on the phone: home button, back button, take a screenshot, volume control, even turning the device on and off.
The Google Assistant app features a voice-operated interface that you can access from anywhere in the phone and allows to perform many tasks without touching it. That includes placing calls, texting messages, opening apps, etcetera. These are only some examples since Google adds features to Google Assistant continuously.
Additionally, Google Voice Access is an accessibility service developed by Google that enables voice interaction with any graphical button or component of the screen.
Although it is not directly designed for people with disabilities, it offers a variety of features to help people with mobility difficulties to move around more efficiently. It can show the accessible layout of a city with both wheelchair ramps and elevators.
You only have to open the app, in the search bar, enter your destination and tap on the list of results to the location you want. Tap Directions, Choose Public transport and tap Options. Under Routes, tap Wheelchair accessible and then choose your route. Besides, Google Maps supports screen readers, keyboard shortcuts, and other features to make your experience more accessible.
With this app, it is possible to connect all your internet services and social networks, so tasks are automatically completed. There are numerous ways to do this, and the resulting combinations are called “Applets”. They essentially automate your daily workflow, whether it is managing smart home devices, apps or websites.
For instance, you can get read your text messages out loud, automatically call someone when a specific email message is received or blink a light every time that you are tagged on Facebook. You can find many other recipes for IFTTT applets with a simple Google search and realize how it can make your life much easier.
Wheelmate is an app dedicated to locating accessible toilet facilities and parking spaces for wheelchair users when they are in the move. With over 30,000 locations across 45 different countries, you’re sure to find the information you need. All locations are added and verified by wheelchair users to ensure the information displayed is up to date and at it is most useful for you.
Wheelmap is the perfect app for those with mobility difficulties to find restaurants, cafes, clubs and public transport which are mobility friendly. It offers a simple way to search for wheelchair-accessible places all around the world. You can also mark places as more or less accessible for future reference.
With the destinations outlined on the global map, you can leave comments and upload images to convey your experience and help others out when deciding to choose appropriate spaces for them.
Mouse4all Switch allows to use an Android device entirely without touching the screen. Persons with a severe physical disability can enjoy mobile technology controlling a mouse pointer with one or two switches. This app is very easy to operate. It works virtually with any application and Android device. It is predictable and adaptable to the needs and cognitive capacity of each person, for users with more difficulties you can choose a simpler menu.