Access to digital tools can enable people with a range of disabilities to engage in everyday life more fully, and yet estimates show that only 1 in 10 websites are accessible. To address this issue, developers of internet sites and smartphone apps are increasingly focusing on the needs of all users by improving interface design and functionality features. More specifically, innovative technology provides people with specific disabilities alternative ways to easily access their smartphones and benefit from a range of useful apps.
Support for Children with Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common childhood motor disability affecting movement, balance and posture and can also impair speech development. A range of CP resources can provide children and their families with all the support that they require in order to help them lead more fulfilling and independent lives. These resources now include a number of apps designed specifically for children with CP that offer information, assessments and help with treatment for aspects of the disease such as speech therapy.
Responding to Facial Expression
Phones and apps that recognize speech and respond to voice commands are increasingly common, and can be very useful to anyone who is visually impaired or who has difficulties with fine motor skills. Another alternative method of accessing digital tools will help people who have difficulty speaking as a new Google update enables the creation of apps that are highly responsive to unique facial expressions. Users will be able to open their mouth, raise their eyebrows or change their eye direction in order to carry out different commands associated with each movement.
Independence for the Visually-Impaired
Innovations in technology have allowed anyone who is visually-impaired to access computers and smartphones. With a wide range of apps that respond to voice commands, phones can read out text and identify and describe everyday objects close to the user. In order to improve access to facilities while out and about, several apps now also use GPS to determine the user’s location at any time, while also helping them to navigate to surrounding locations and identify nearby facilities such as banks, grocery stores and restaurants.
As well as allowing people with disabilities to easily manipulate the common functions on their smartphones, new developments in technology provide access to a wide range of useful apps that can enhance their lives and give them greater independence.