Need to find a parking space that’s wheelchair-accessible? Want a voice-powered tech to find your way around a new city? Have difficulty with auditory processing but keen to join an online work meeting? It’s an exciting time in the world of accessibility apps as businesses are recognizing that many people – of all abilities – expect to be able to use technology in the way that works for them – without barriers.
In fact, many of the mobile accessibility apps for Android and iOS smartphones are helping people with disabilities navigate the world in more inclusive ways — and changing lives along the way.
Here is a collection of apps designed for accessibility, making a genuine difference in people’s daily lives, providing everything from travel guidance to dictation, to helping people explore unchartered territories….
Unveiling the World of Accessibility Apps
It’s important to remember that every person has unique needs and preferences, and what works well for one person may not work for another. This list provides a starting point for exploring some popular accessibility apps that may be beneficial for individuals with varying access needs. This is not a comprehensive or definitive list and there may be other apps available that better suit your specific needs. We encourage you to continue your research and exploration to find the apps that work best for you.
See It My Way – Vision Apps
VoiceOver is an accessibility feature on Apple devices that provides spoken descriptions of items on the screen, allowing blind and low-vision users to navigate their devices independently. “VoiceOver on the iPhone gave me access to the world in a way I never thought possible. I can now read books, explore new places, and even work as a software developer. It’s truly amazing how technology can level the playing field for people with disabilities.” Austin Seraphin, a blind software developer, on his experience using VoiceOver.
- Be My Eyes
Be My Eyes is more than just an app – it’s a community that brings together people from all over the world to help each other. This highly rated accessibility app connects blind and low-vision users with sighted volunteers from around the world. The app allows users to use their smartphone cameras to show volunteers what they are looking at in real-time. Volunteers can then provide assistance with tasks such as reading labels, identifying objects, and navigating unfamiliar surroundings. Be My Eyes has been praised for its ability to create a supportive and inclusive community for people with visual impairments.
Talk to Me – Communication Apps
Instagram has offered features such as dark mode and screen reader features. The popular social media platform continues to make efforts to improve accessibility for users with visual impairments, including the ability to add alternative text to images and automatic alternative text for some photos using object recognition technology. By providing this functionality, Instagram is helping users with visual impairments to better understand and engage with the content on the platform. There’s still more work to do to on other Instagram features as they work on improving accessibility and creating new experiences for their users.
- Dragon Dictation
Speech recognition technology is a vital example of a feature designed for people with disabilities. Aiding all forms of communication, Dragon Dictation is a speech recognition app that allows users to dictate text messages, emails, social media posts, and more – by using their voice. The app uses advanced voice recognition technology to transcribe spoken words into text, making it a powerful tool for users who have difficulty typing or using a keyboard.
Ready for Adventure – Travel Apps
Designed to help individuals with disabilities find accessible parking spots, WheelMate allows users to search for and locate accessible parking spaces, as well as to share information about parking spots in their area.
- NotNav and NowNav
This accessibility app duo are both designed for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. NotNav provides audio directions and descriptions of the user’s surroundings, while NowNav uses artificial intelligence and crowd-sourced data to provide real-time navigation guidance. With its real-time navigation and obstacle detection features, users can confidently travel to new places independently, giving people a sense of empowerment and freedom.
Help Me Out – Assistive Apps
Available on Apple or Android devices, AssistiveTouch enables users to perform various actions and gestures using a virtual button on their screen. The app is particularly useful for individuals who have difficulty using physical buttons or gestures, or who need to customize their device’s controls to better suit their needs.
- Ability App
This mobile accessibility app has been invented by 14-year-old, Alex Knoll. The app connects people with disabilities to service providers, resources, and community events. The app allows users to search for local businesses and organizations that provide accessible services, such as wheelchair ramps and sign language interpreters. It also provides information about disability-related news and events, as well as a chat feature for users to connect with each other. “With the Ability App, we’re breaking down barriers and creating a more inclusive society for everyone.” Alex Knoll, Ability App Founder
Get Social – Community Apps
This app prioritizes accessibility by giving you details that will help you decide if a place is accessible for you. Explore maps for venues and other accessible-friendly locations, tag others and upload photos and share your favourite places with friends and family. Sociability also empowers you to meet like-minded people in the disabled community, make new connections and explore accessible places you haven’t visited before.
This is the first iPhone App to empower marginalized groups, such as the disabled community to ‘find’ each other in real time, using GPS. It enables users to find like-minded people wherever they are, make friends, date and gain social support everywhere they go, based on their exact location. MiFinder has the potential to make a big impact on the lives of people with disabilities and other diverse communities by promoting social inclusion, reducing isolation, and providing opportunities for meaningful connections.
App Accessibility – At Your Fingertips
Of course, there are many more apps built for accessibility where you can enjoy the convenience and ease of an inclusive user experience that you need and expect – all in the palm of your hand. It’s good news: the world is waking up to the need for more accessible experiences online and new accessibility features are being built into apps every day. It’s a journey into accessibility that holds much opportunity to make life more equitable, ethical and socially responsible.
UserWay: Accelerating Accessibility For Your Mobile Apps
Accessibility apps have revolutionized the lives of people with disabilities by providing them with greater independence. The development of these apps demonstrate the power of technology in building, designing and promoting apps for accessibility.
UserWay is on a mission to help businesses build accessibility into their mobile apps with our suite of AI-powered accessibility solutions equipped to close the gaps in app accessibility. Want to find out how apps can become easy to use, accessible and compliant with WCAG’s latest accessibility standards?
Book a demo and start your accessibility journey today.
How can I find apps for accessibility to suit my needs?
Everyone’s needs are different. To find accessibility apps to meet your needs, talk to other like-minded people and read product reviews from real-life end users.
Do you endorse these accessibility apps?
As with most things, there is no one size fits all with accessibility apps. What might work for one person may not work well for another. While these apps may support people with different needs, they might not be inclusive of all needs. This is why it’s important to test the apps out for yourself to identify which app works best for you.
Which compliance standards does a mobile app require?
The EN 301 549 v2.1.2 is the technical accessibility standard that applies to both mobile apps and websites. Generally, this standard aligns with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA as the minimum level of accessibility required.