Apps for People with Disabilities and Older People

Smartphones and tablets have revolutionized mobile technology and the way we communicate today. They have also transformed the Assistance Technology (AT) market for people with disabilities. These conventional devices provide minicomputers that can use "on the fly" and are much more affordable than many dedicated AT or AAC devices.

The introduction of applications (software applications that run on mobile devices and tablets) has further revolutionized the way we use our phones. These 'applications' that can be downloaded to your smartphone or tablet provide a particular service or allow you to interact with a website. For example, the LUAS application provides a real-time schedule of the trams at each station along the green and red line. There are thousands of applications available for download and new ones are being developed, so there is probably no application to perform any task.

There are applications available that are designed to meet the needs of people with disabilities, for example, Prologue2Go, a text-to-speech application for people who have speech difficulties. Being able to download applications to your smartphone or tablet means you have a small, integrated device to store everything you need, instead of having several pieces of standalone equipment. This makes it cheaper, easier and more efficient for people with disabilities to perform a wide range of tasks. It can also help eliminate the stigma of having a great dedicated A. device that stands out, because these days all walk with a phone in your hand! For example, before the introduction of smartphones and applications, someone with a visual impairment may have needed to bring a number of items to "see" them. They may have carried a money recognition device, a color recognition device, a screen reader and a magnifying glass. Now you can download to the screen reader application, magnifying glass application, money recognition application and color recognition application to your phone and simply bring the software.

Since the application market is constantly growing and changing, it would be impossible to list all relevant disability applications in Assist Ireland. Instead, we will describe the main types of applications available with examples, and provide links to where you can browse and download them yourself.

Before viewing applications in more detail, it's worth talking first about smartphone and tablet devices. Some of these devices could be described as assistive technology, as they have been recently developed to include some accessible features that can simply be activated if necessary, which makes it easier for people with disabilities.