The internet abounds countless software, most of which are designed for the average abled person.
Using these apps may pose a lot of challenges to anyone with a low vision.
As a visually impaired student, getting a custom app that is designed with you in mind will go a long way to enhance your user experience and even boost your confidence.
This is why some thoughtful developers go as far as collaborating with low vision experts to create useful software that will greatly benefit the visually impaired community.
Some of the software are free while some are paid. In this article, I’ve carefully selected the top 10 free ones for students. They include software for object identification, vision skills, communication, navigation, and many more.
Software for Visually Impaired Students
1 Dragon Search
This free software enables you to easily search the internet with your voice. It displays search results from one search engine but gives you the option of selecting from other search engines.
This means that when you speak to Dragon search and your default search engine is Google, it displays search results from Google but makes it possible to switch and see search results of other sources (like Yahoo or Wikipedia) for the same query.
Dragon Search is a very handy tool that supports multiple languages. It’s a mobile app that is only compatible with iPhones, iPod Touch, and iPad.
2 Blind Bargains
Blind Bargains is an app that brings news, deals, podcasts, and classified ads together for you in one place. The content is sourced directly from the official Blind Bargains website, which is a platform created to be a resource hub for the blind and visually impaired.
The content on the app is very legible and the overall interface can be navigated easily. The app can be used on Android and iOS devices.
The first released version of this app was heavily revamped and several changes were made. Users of the old version had to uninstall the old version to fully enjoy the new one.
BigBrowser is a custom browser designed by Braille Institute to cater for the blind and low-vision internet users. It is designed with an extra-large keyboard and easy-to-use controls that allow the user to navigate easily while using the browser.
It allows gestures to quickly access some options. For example, a user can double-tap the back button to view browsing history. It also has a big ‘B’ icon that can be clicked to hide the keyboard and navigation controls.
The iPad browser offers three window tabs and comes with voice support. It also offers access to the Braille Institute Facebook page and other platforms.
MBraille is a clean and elegant mobile app for typing and editing text messages and for sending tweets. It has a free and paid version. The free version can get basic things done like typing text messages and sending tweets. The paid version, however, has much more functionalities that make the app awesome.
The paid version enables you to quickly and efficiently check spellings and search Google with ease. It also allows you to send emails, make calls, open text files and save them, enter calendar items, and update your Facebook status. With the paid version, you can leave the app even while typing without worrying about losing your text. The text is automatically saved in the clipboard when you switch to another app.
This is a navigation and location app not particularly designed for low vision persons but is very useful. It helps you to quickly get information about your environment. AroundMe detects your location and gives you a list of businesses around you. You get a list of hotels, coffee shops, supermarkets, movie theatres, hospitals, gas stations, and many more.
The app allows you to view the location of any business and see the route from where you are. You can add the details to your contact list or email them to your friend. This is a very useful app that will help you to easily navigate around and quickly get to your destination.
ELI is designed to specifically help a blind or visually impaired person to identify an object. Although the mobile app is completely free, it is only useful when used with a unique QR coded adhesive label.
You place the sticky label on an object and scan it with the app. You then tell the app what the object is by speaking to it while it records your voice. The next time you scan the label, it identifies the object and plays your recorded voice. You have the option to change the recorded voice if you need to say something different.
The QR coded labels can be obtained from the official website of the developer.
7 Blindfold Racer
Blindfold Racer is an amazing audio game designed to help the visually impaired catch fun. It is a driving game that lets you drive with your ears instead of your eyes. You keep your hands on the control and listen carefully while speeding so that you don’t hit animals crossing the road or crash into buildings.
The game contains over 60 levels that involve bridges, bears, and trolls. It supports voice over but not limited to it while driving. Blindfold Racer is an interesting driving game that is only available for iOS devices. And it requires iOS 8.0 or a higher version.
8 Ball Tapper
This app was designed by developers in collaboration with low vision experts to help the visually impaired train their vision. It is a game specifically for children with low vision but can also be used by adults to improve their vision.
Ball Tapper majorly involves watching and tapping of animals and objects. It is divided into 4 stages; each stage is designed to help the player in vision development. It consists of characters that appear in bold colors and illustrations that are easily understood.
The game has worksheets to enable effective fun catching, vision improvement, and fine motor skills training.
9 Hey Tell
Hey Tell is a voice messaging app that allows you to speak with family and friends without making a phone call. It has low data usage and is often compared with sending emails. The app has a high audio quality that makes sending and receiving voice messages awesome.
It is a flexible app that offers up to 3 levels of privacy; low, medium, and high privacy level. It also gives you control over location. You can decide to share your location or not. And you can even send the details of your location to any of your contacts.
The app is highly recommended even if privacy means a lot to you. All voice messages you send or receive are encrypted. And you can choose to save and play your conversations offline.
10 Audiobooks from Audible
Audiobooks is an Amazon-owned app that lets you listen to books. The app itself is free but you may need to part with a few dollars after the first 30 days free trial and an audiobook. It allows you to sync your books and listen to them on several devices.
The app offers some features like narration speed adjustment to set the speed of the narrator to your desired pace and a sleep timer to continue to read until the following chapter or for up to one hour.