We have partnered with 232 Studios to provide expert review and user testing, on a mobile App they have developed. There is a diverse market of commercial video magnifiers, allowing zoom and real time colour filters, beneficial not just to low vision but also other conditions such as dyslexia and colour blindness.
They cost from £500 – £1500. This is prohibitively expensive for much of the audience who are retired or low income. Anyone with a smartphone already owns a screen and a camera, so we have produced a video magnifier as a free software solution rather than an expensive hardware solution.
The app is designed to be as universally accessible as possible, bearing in mind the varying target audiences and high likelyihood of multiple conditions. The buttons are larger and higher contrast than the usual Android recommendations, with large simple zoom in / zoom out buttons rather than the complex motor demands of pinching or dragging. There is no reliance on text, with as literal / metaphor-free iconography as possible.
An elderly man is reading the Financial Times. Typically he has a range of minor impairments. He has blurred vision due to cataracts. He has no cognitive impairment other than some forgetfulness due to medication, and has some difficulty operating small fiddly things due to some hand shakiness (essential tremor).
With Zoom Plus he can zoom in and increase the contrast. Both of these things are helpful for blurred vision, especially taking into account the dark paper of the FT. The jargon-free menu with simple iconography is appropriate for his level of IT literacy, and the large well spaced buttons and reliance only on simple presses are appropriate for his motor ability.
Developed in Adobe Air which doesn’t yet support screenreaders, but the app is intended for people with some vision. It accesses the input from the camera and applies various colour filters. and a digital zoom.
Link to Guardian article: Winners named at Vodafone's Smart Accessibility awards