Now more than ever, wireless devices are opening the world to people with limited mobility. With automatic responses and voice control, smart keyboards and hands-free choices, users will find unlimited options right at their fingertips.
Not sure what’s available? Here are some accessibility features that can be built in to your device:
- Audio, Visual and Vibrating Features - You can assign specific audible, visual, and vibrating alerts for functions like incoming calls or messages, calendar events and confirming keyboard inputs. You can even give different people their own ringtones, or use one ring tone for incoming calls and another for text messages.
- Automatic Responses - Program your wireless device to answer automatically or redial certain calls or messages. For example, your phone can be programmed to call family members with the touch of one button. Ask an in-store representative to help you set this up.
- Customizable Displays - Adjust your wireless device’s screen for better contrast, illumination, larger font size, and to “zoom” in and magnify. You can also assign specific icons or images to certain functions. Why not take a photo of your office building and link it to your work number? It tells you right away who’s calling!
- Hands-free or One-Touch - Get a hands-free device with a speakerphone, or assign certain functions to one button for dialing or other pre-programmed functions. Simply attach the phone to your wheelchair frame and press one speed-dial button to contact the paratransit service.
- Intelligent Keyboards - Text-based features may have intelligent keyboards or auto-spell features that appear only when you need it and display a keyboard appropriate to the task you’re performing. These functions can be set as a default and can auto sense the words you are trying to spell.
- Non-Slip Keys And Controls - The device’s keys and controls have a non-slip surface so they are easier to press and hold.
- Tactile Keys - These specially marked keys help you position your fingers for specific functions like volume control, on/off, shortcuts for speed dialing, assignable ringtones and alerts or automatic answering. Predictive text and auto text features also help you quickly enter information.
- Voice Control - Simply use your voice to make a call, play music, enter text or find a contact.
- Voice Output -Voice Output features “speak” to you, offering information like battery level, Wi-Fi and cellular network signal levels, incoming calls or messages and contacts. . This way, your phone can literally tell you how much battery life is left before your phone needs to be charged.
An in-store representative will be happy to help you set up these services.
If a cell phone doesn’t come with a built-in accessibility feature, ask a wireless carrier representative if it can be customized by adding or downloading applications (or “apps”). Third-party developers may offer wireless device apps that add relay services and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) functions like text-to-speech, screen readers and automatic dialing. It’s also a good idea to speak with a healthcare professional or wireless carrier representative about accessibility accessories and compatibility with Assistive Technology (AT)
- American Association of People with Disabilities - American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the country's largest cross-disability membership organization, organizes the disability community to be a powerful voice for change – politically, economically, and socially. AAPD was founded in 1995 to help unite the diverse community of people with disabilities, including their family, friends and supporters, and to be a national voice for change in implementing the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). www.aapd.com
- Wireless RERC - Funded since 2001, the Wireless RERC (Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center) has become a recognized leader on issues and solutions related to the accessibility and usability of mobile wireless products and services by people with disabilities. The Wireless RERC's mission is to promote equitable access to and use of wireless technologies by people with disabilities and encourage the adoption of Universal Design in future generations of wireless devices and applications. www.wirelessrerc.org; www.mywirelessreview.com