Modern smartphones all come with accessibility features that make their use comfortable for people with different needs. Some might need a hearing or vision aid, and others will benefit from motor-focused functionality.
The exact features differ based on the producer and particular model. And sometimes they might not be so easy to find. In this guide, you’ll find all about common accessibility features for iOS and Android phones, as well as what is coming in the future.
Why Should We Care About It?
If you do not have any disabilities or special needs, you might not even think twice about how you use your smartphone. It is quite easy to base your perception only on your unique experience. But accessibility is important for everyone, even if you do not need these features now.
First of all, it is a matter of providing the same opportunities to different people. Everyone has a right to access technology and use it for work, education, or leisure.
Such functionality makes it easier for people to study and navigate the world safely. For example, students that struggle with academic writing and vision can still order paper edit on WritePaper via their phone and voice recognition. It gives them the same opportunities as other students.
They can get instant help with writing, editing, or proofreading their college papers. They also get to communicate with experienced authors and learn from them.
Not only do they get help with an essay or term paper, but they also acquire equal educational opportunities. This was not so easy even a decade ago, and it is one of the major benefits of technology development.
Secondly, you never know when you might need accessibility features. People get sick and experience accidents. When one gets old, they might need more options for how to use their devices, like zooming on the screen. Caring about accessibility possibilities today ensures that one can get them whenever they might need them.
Basic Accessibility Features
The functionality is often different for various devices. So when you choose a specific model, it is essential to research the exact features you’ll get. However, there are some basic ones that almost any model has.
Today you do not even have to type anything to control your phone. Voice control makes it easier for people with vision impairment to use the essential gadget.
For example, one can:
- Make a call by saying the name of a person;
- Do a voice search on Google;
- Write emails and messages by dictating them;
- Record various reminders and notes;
- Navigate the smartphone menu;
- Open specific applications.
Although the autocorrect feature needs more work, it performs quite well. These options are great even if you do not have specific needs. Speaking is often faster when taking notes or writing a text.
Another great function in an in-built screen reader. It means that the gadget will read what is on the screen out loud for you. They even sound similar to humans. Some smartphones allow adjusting the pace and speeding to your preferences.
One can use it to:
- Read messages, texts, or emails;
- Browse the web and hear the results;
- Knowing what is on the screen right now;
- Check if the phone is locked or not.
Similar to voice recognition, anyone can benefit from such possibilities. For instance, you can listen to an important email while driving without the need to switch attention to the device.
Users can also change how the interface looks. It is helpful for those that need a bigger font or have specific color/light sensitivities. You can make the font larger, change its style to a more recognizable one, or alter the background color. The dark mode, for example, is better for anyone using a device before sleep. It doesn’t affect the circadian cycles as much and helps to fall asleep faster.
What seemed too futuristic once is already a reality. Many gadgets ensure subtitles for videos. This feature covers all the apps you might use, from streaming to social media. So if the YouTube video doesn’t have in-built subtitles, people can still enjoy it with this functionality.
This is a small yet useful feature of many devices. You can change the audio settings so that it comes for one ear only. This is applicable when you are using headphones.
Many people use flashlight alerts without thinking that it is also an accessibility feature. These alerts are much more recognizable and grab one’s attention faster. So you never miss a text or email.
One Hand Mode
It is possible to set the gadget into one-hand mode. It allows controlling all the functions easily. For example, the screen interface becomes smaller, so it is comfortable to reach all navigation buttons. You can also align it for the right or left hand, based on the needs. In addition, iPhones have keyboards designed for one-hand use.
An alternative way to make a device more comfortable is to connect it to other specific devices. Modern technologies allow the integration of a multitude of third-party solutions into one system. For example, one might connect a hearing aid tool to their phone or use electronic Braille devices.
It is also quite easy to connect to different keyboards, communication systems, speakers, etc. Android phones have a Braille display in-built function already.
As for the future, Apple announced new accessibility features in May 2022. They include door detection so that people with low or no vision can safely navigate spaces. Apple watch mirroring allows using the wearable gadget even if you have motor or physical disabilities.
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Accessibility features are available in almost any smartphone out there. Of course, some have a wider range than others. And in many cases, they can be beneficial for all users; for example, voice search is faster and easier. And screen reading is also very convenient in many situations.
In the future, technology will develop even more to cover other needs people might have.