Green mobile phones are the future for disabled smartphone users and will become the standard for us all. Let’s look at some design and software accessibility options that can be used with smartphones that are helpful for people living with disabilities.
Although they’ve only been around for the last 14 years, smartphones have become an essential item we’ve come to rely on greatly. Our phones can now be our sattelite navigation, call us a cab, be a calculator, take amazing pictures, be a personal assistant, keep us in constant, instantaneous contact with all of our friends no matter where they are in the world.
They do a lot for us, so sure, we love our green mobile phones, but are they accessible to all and do we care?
At least 1 billion people in our world today are living with some kind of disability. Of those billion people, between 21 and 42 million experience significant difficulties in functioning. Watch Felizia tell us what disability means to her and why all people with disabilities have a right “to access education, health, sport, culture and all that you do within society”
With the importance that smartphones now have in our society, it’s imperative that we include everyone in the green smartphone revolution that’s coming.
Probably the best way to design a smartphone with inclusion in mind would be to make it controlled by thought, but that may come a little further into the future. Right now, we have great tools at our disposal that help people with disabilities.
Touchscreens are great because they don’t require a lot of pressure to be placed on a button. It’s also possible to change the size of buttons like the dial pad to allow them to be seen better or pressed more easily.
Moving and controlling things on the screen can be achieved through gestures and a cool innovation known as ‘keyboard swipe’ on android phones allows its user to type by sliding their finger across the keyboard.
Smartphones can also be set to provide haptic feedback, which simulates the sense of touch that can seem to be missing with non-mechanical keys. Every time you press a button, the phone will vibrate so you know you’ve sucessfully made an unput. The smartphone can also make a sound or even both at the same time if that’s what the user needs.
Voice controlled personal assistants like Siri allow people with disabilities to control their smartphone and perform a lot of tasks without even needing to touch their phone. Siri can help with weather reports and recite basic information resulting from an online search.
Your personal assistant will most likely get its information from a search engine like Google, Bing or Baidu. These search engines also offer voice search from their homepages or a search app on your smartphone.
For example, Baidu’s app allows users to search the internet through its voice-recognition software. Even with a language as complex as Chinese, the Baidu app boasts 98% accuracy.
Alternative Input Methods
Some green smartphone solutions for people with disabilities rely on speech recognition, others on some form of physical input. Instead of haptic feedback mentioned above, some smartphone users may prefer to use an external keyboard and mouse. This is something a lot of Android users have taken advantage of for a long time. You can easily pick up a USB to mini USB adapter from Amazon, Argos or onbuy.com for example.
We were talking green mobile phones specifically because that’s what we at Greenermobiles.com specialise in, but we hope all mobile phones will continue to innovate when it comes to accessibility.
Although there is no single solution that can include everyone, if our phones offer as many options as possible and allowing customisation, we can get there.
Green, environmentally friendly mobile phones are the future, making sure we can all enjoy our planet for many years to come.