An insight into smartphone-based assistive solutions for visually impaired and blind people: issues, challenges and opportunities

Abstract

Blind people are confronting a number of challenges in performing activities of daily life such as reading labels on a product, identification of currency notes, exploring unknown spaces, identifying the appearance of an object of interest, interacting with digital artifacts, operating a smartphone’s user interface and selecting non-visual items on a screen. The emergence of smartphone-based assistive technologies promotes independence, ease of use and usability resulting in improved quality of life yet poses several challenging opportunities. We have reviewed research avenues in smartphone-based assistive technologies for blind people, highlighted the need for technological advancements, accessibility-inclusive interface paradigm, and collaboration between medical specialists, computer professionals, usability experts and domain users to realize the potential of ICT-based interventions for blind people. This paper analyzes a comprehensive review of the issues and challenges for visually impaired and blind people with the aim to highlight the benefits and limitations of the existing techniques and technologies. Future research ventures are also highlighted as a contribution to the field.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    https://www.freedomscientific.com.

  2. 2.

    https://www.gwmicro.com.

  3. 3.

    https://www.sonicpathfinder.org/.

  4. 4.

    https://www.googlelabs.com/show_details?app_key=agtnbGFiczIwLXd3d3IVCxIMTGFic0FwcE1vZGVsGIHDtwIM.

  5. 5.

    https://marinersoftware.deskpro.com/kb/articles/281-what-is-narrator.

  6. 6.

    https://code.google.com/p/metalmouth/.

  7. 7.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.marvin.talkback&hl=en.

  8. 8.

    https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:mhUrXg4ZEWYJ:www.itu.int/ITU-D/sis/PwDs/Documents/Mobile_Report.pdf+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=pk.

  9. 9.

    https://www.apple.com/accessibility/osx/voiceover/.

  10. 10.

    https://www.freedomscientific.com/products/fs/jaws-product-page.asp.

  11. 11.

    https://www.nvda-project.org/.

  12. 12.

    https://www.dolphincomputeraccess.com.

  13. 13.

    https://www.gwmicro.com/Window-Eyes.

  14. 14.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.marvin.talkback&hl=en.

  15. 15.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_Speak.

  16. 16.

    https://www.apple.com/accessibility/ios/voiceover/.

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Correspondence to Akif Khan.

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Khan, A., Khusro, S. An insight into smartphone-based assistive solutions for visually impaired and blind people: issues, challenges and opportunities. Univ Access Inf Soc (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10209-020-00733-8

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Keywords

  • Assistive technologies
  • User interfaces
  • Blind-friendly UIs
  • Etas
  • Blind people
  • HCI