Assistive technology or AT uses systems, machines, or any products that aid people with disabilities in various areas of their lives, including their daily routine, work, or study. It includes assistive technology for students with disabilities. The mobile industry also does its part to develop technology to help disabled individuals through apps and built-in mobile features. AT affects the said industry in the following manner:
- It allows mobile providers to serve more customers. There are billions of mobile users worldwide, including people with disabilities. Unfortunately, mobile devices without effective accessibility features may not reach the latter. However, with the use of AT, they will serve everyone, thus growing the number of their customers.
- It prevents problems with the law. The law requires businesses, schools, and organizations to ensure the inclusion of the disabled. It includes the Americans with Disabilities Act. Even if the law does not require it, it’s still something that those in the mobile industry should do out of compassion to the disabled.
- It helps build their reputation. When the mobile industry does its part in finding ways to make life more convenient for people with disabilities, they will gain the trust and respect of others. As a result, they will be more supportive and choose to do business with these providers.
- It creates a positive user experience. More users can use the mobile devices or apps more efficiently. The positive user experience it provides will also build loyalty to users.
Here are some of the common accessibility features that mobile devices provide for different types of disabilities.
Those who are visually impaired can take advantage of AT in mobile that converts texts to audio. They can listen to it and efficiently get the message. Individuals who can still see but have difficulties reading small texts can use features to adjust the screen size for better viewing. They can also change the brightness of the screen.
People who have difficulties hearing can use the accessibility features of mobile devices like the easy volume adjustment. There’s also the visual notification of calls or alerts. Users may also put the device in vibrate mode to know when they receive a message or a call. There are also several mobile apps for video calling or conferencing, which conveniently let deaf or mute individuals sign. Other built-in features and mobile apps convert voice to text, so those hearing impaired can read them.
This type of disability covers many things, including people with difficulties in communication, comprehension, reading, and attention. A mobile user interface that is intuitive and easy to navigate is a helpful feature for them. Calculators, reminders, and predictive texting are other useful mobile features.
People who have difficulties using their fingers, hands, or limbs could benefit from accessibility features that allow them to use mobile devices without much effort. For example, some of them are answering calls by pressing a single key, speed dial, and voice recognition.
Assistive technology is continuously evolving, and the mobile industry is also non-stop in finding ways to include this type of technology in the apps and devices to make them useful for people with disabilities.