6 Essential Android Apps For People With Disabilities

By | August 24, 2022

Smartphones can often pose usability challenges for people with disabilities. But thanks to the efforts of Google and third-party developers, Android is now much more approachable and easy to operate for all users.

You can turn your Android phone into a sound amplifier, your personal transcriber, or control it with your face. Here are the best accessibility apps to set up your Android phone to work perfectly for your needs.

Voice Access

You’re probably used to using Google Assistant commands to perform hands-free actions on your phone, such as “turn on Bluetooth.” But the Google Voice Access app takes voice control to the next level and lets you navigate across your devices by voice.

Once you set up the app, it launches the always-on module. It proactively listens to your commands and assigns a number to each available action on the screen.

Instead of touching an app icon or a menu element, for example, you just need to dial the assigned digit. Voice Access connects fixed phrases to basic actions, such as “scroll down” to move around the page and “back” to return to the previous screen.

Voice Access’s voice recognition capabilities feature the same technology behind Google Assistant. Therefore, it was quite accurate in our tests, we rarely had to repeat our commands.

EVA Facial Mouse

EVA Facial Mouse is another app to help those who have problems with touch interaction. It provides amputees, cerebral palsy and spinal cord injuries with another way to operate their cell phones.

The EVA Facial Mouse adds a cursor on your phone that you can manipulate through facial movements. To move the pointer, you simply move your head in the appropriate direction. When the cursor is over the element you want to select, wait a few moments to enter a single tap.

You also have the option to enable the dock to quickly access a number of important actions including home and multitasking. While the EVA Facial Mouse can take some effort to learn, it is surprisingly responsive and works as advertised. In addition, you can edit the sensitivity and cursor speed to your liking.

Sound Amplifier

Sound Amplifier is an Android accessibility app for hearing impaired users. As the name suggests, this app can amplify the sounds around you. However, it doesn’t do this for every sound type.

Sound Amplifier helps you hear conversations better. It filters whatever your microphone picks up, boosts the frequencies associated with speech, and limits the rest.

The app comes with a handy interface from which you can precisely adjust the sound enhancement and noise reduction intensity. In addition, you can apply volume settings and fine-tuning independently for each ear.

When you install Sound Booster, it will be available inside Settings > Accessibility rather than app drawer. At the time of writing, Sound Amplifier only works with wired earphones and devices running Android 6.0 or higher.

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Android Accessibility Suite

Android Accessibility Suite is a collection of several accessibility services by Google. Most stock Android phones come pre-loaded with this. However, if your phone doesn’t have it, this is for you.

The Android Accessibility Suite brings four new options to your phone’s accessibility settings:

  • Choose to Speak reads the selected text aloud (or any image content) when you point your phone’s camera at it.
  • TalkBack Screen Reader gives you spoken feedback and vibrations when you interact with anything on the touchscreen.
  • The Accessibility menu gives you quick access to core actions such as pulling down the notification panel.
  • Switch Access lets you operate your phone using an external keyboard or a physical switch.

Instant Transcription

For people who are deaf or find Voice Amplifier inadequate, Google offers Instant Transcription. The app can perform real-time speech transcription in more than 70 languages ​​and dialects.

When you are about to enter a conversation, simply fire up the Instant Transcription app and place your phone near the other person. This app will actively copy the speaker’s voice. You can speak to reply or type your response on the app itself.

What’s more, Instant Transcription has bilingual support. So, if the speaker speaks a different language, the app will automatically translate their reply and yours and display it on the screen.

In addition, you can enable haptic feedback to know when someone starts or resumes speaking. Instant Transcription can also detect several other types of sounds. For example, if there is a barking dog near you, the app will display a “dog sound” alert.

Lookout

Lookout is the perfect digital companion for the visually impaired. Powered by the same underlying technology as Google Lens, Lookout can recognize all types of objects and determine their description and direction.

For example, you are at the store and the clerk gives you change. To verify the exact amount, you can point your phone’s camera at the bill and Lookout will tell you their denomination.

Lookout can stay active. Therefore, Google recommends that you wear your Android phone on a lanyard around your neck or tucked in your front pocket. You can even request it by tapping the back of your phone while it’s on the lanyard. Lookout has multiple modes for different scenarios, such as Shopping to read barcodes and Quick Read to scan signs or labels.

For now, Google Lookout only supports Google, Samsung, and LG phones, and works in the United States.

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