Assistive Technology advancements have hugely enhanced the lives of individuals with a sight impairment. This technology is not always easy to use or learn but with the right time, equipment and support, huge improvements can be made.

From adaptation to screen resolutions and contrast for people with slight sight impairment through to fully functional screen-readers and dictation software for those with more severe sight loss.

This blog has been written to introduce some of the tech out there that has been designed with sight loss in mind.

Apple devices have a huge array of features available to their users and, not only that, each store has an accessibility specialist on hand to help you to implement and use these features.

VoiceOver is a gesture-based screen reader that lets you enjoy using iPhone even if you can’t see the screen. With VoiceOver enabled, just triple click the Home button (or the side button on iPhone X or later) to access it wherever you are in iOS. Hear a description of everything happening on your screen, from battery level to who’s calling to which app your finger is on. You can also adjust the speaking rate and pitch to suit you.

Because VoiceOver is integrated in iOS, it works with all the built-in iPhone apps. You can create custom labels for buttons in any app — including third-party apps. And Apple works with the iOS developer community to make even more apps compatible with VoiceOver.

Watch films with detailed audio descriptions of every scene on your iPhone. Films with audio descriptions are displayed with the AD icon in the iTunes Store. iPhone also lets VoiceOver users access closed caption and subtitle tracks audibly or through their Braille displays.

The Pronunciation Editor allows you to create a list of words or phrases along with the phonetic ways you want them to be pronounced. With VoiceOver turned on, these words and phrases will then be read aloud with your preferred pronunciation in documents, messages, web pages and other text.

If you have a hard time reading the text on your iPhone, use Speak Screen to read your email, iMessages, web pages and books. Turn on Speak Screen and swipe down from the top of the screen with two fingers, or just tell Siri to Speak Screen, to have all the content on the page read back to you. You can adjust the voice’s dialect and speaking rate, and have words, sentences or words within sentences highlighted as they’re being read. And the new Speech Controller provides a Speak Under Finger feature for more precise control.

Dictation lets you talk where you would type. Tap the microphone button on the keyboard, say what you want to write, and your iPhone converts your words (and numbers and characters) into text. So, it’s easy to type an email, note or web address — without typing at all.

Check out this case study from an online independent blog to see how much of a difference the right tech can make – http://svan.ca/blog/2012/blind/