In the modern age, technology takes up a large portion of our daily lives, from delivering us news to helping us chill out to our favorite music playlists, to providing us with entertainment in the form of social media websites and games. However, for the visually impaired, many features of our smartphones, tablets, and computers, are inaccessible since they require sight and fine motor skills to operate effectively. Although there have been inventions to make these devices more accessible, such as screen readers, a lot of the time these require a steep learning curve and lack privacy.
The invention of digital voice assistants applications like Amazon’s Alexa Skills, Actions on Google (AoG), Apple’s Siri, etc. have revolutionized accessibility, becoming a boon to those who are visually impaired, as they can use simple voice commands to access their devices. Alexa skills for visually :impaired accords greater autonomy, independence, and greater quality of life, as finicking with a flat, non-indicative screen, is a thing of the past.
Benefits That Voice Assistants Bring to the Blind
a) It Creates Simplified Searches for Easier Access to Information.
Those who are visually impaired, generally need help with using tablets, smartphones, and computers. Although voice assistant technology & devices have been made to help with accessibility, such as dictation software and screen readers, these can be clumsy and frustrating to use. Custom Amazon Alexa Skills Development service eliminates the need to use screen readers and dictation software just to access information. By simply waking up “Alexa”, one can get the information they need instantly via voice command.
b) Provides Instant Access to Audio Web Content.
The visually impaired want to listen to important news coverage and listen to stories just as much as the rest of the world does but websites with accessibility tend to be temperamental. Certain news agencies have Amazon Alexa Skills enabled for visually impaired people so that they can listen to the news or get their favorite team’s highlights. Once asked to do so, Alexa will dictate out the request, with content being updated on an hourly basis.
c) Assists With Staying On Top of One’s Calendar.
Amazon Alexa allows the visually impaired to add events and reminders to it through voice commands. You can easily get an overview of your calendar by simply asking Alexa whether you have an appointment scheduled for the day or not. You can also set up reminders and alerts so that you don’t forget to take things like medications. This is great for the visually impaired but is also good for individuals who have memory loss.
d) Makes Calls Easier to Handle.
Although the visually impaired can make phone calls using their devices, it can be frustrating trying to struggle with having the screen read to you and dictating where you want to go within the phone, just to make the call. With Alexa, you can simply add the contacts through the application and use a voice command to activate the call. Once you decide to make a call, Alexa will send out an alert to the individual you are trying to contact to let them know that a call is coming through. Beyond this, the line of Echo devices have a “drop-in” feature that allows friends and family members to answer their relative without answering the call, as the “drop-in” feature acts as an intercom. However, this does require multiple Alexa enabled devices to work.
e) Makes The Home Easier to Interact With.
One of the biggest benefits is that those who are visually impaired rely less on their family members and friends around the home as the Amazon Alexa systems enable those who are visually impaired to control their smart home devices. This means that those who are blind can still turn on and off alarm systems, surveillance cameras, lights, and outlets, without needing someone else to perform the action or confirm that the action has been completed successfully. This is huge for those who live at home alone, as they can lock their front doors and arm security systems, providing a safer and more secure environment for themselves and their family.
f) It Affords Them More Independence.
A lot of visually impaired individuals report needing less and less help from their family members and friends for menial tasks such as choosing a show to watch, getting their groceries delivered to their door or ordering an Uber to go to work. Beyond this, digital assistant devices allow the visually impaired to use their smart devices without relying on someone else to read the screen, touch the buttons or require them to attach a screen reader just to use the device.
g) It Provides Customization.
With Amazon’s Skill Apps, an individual who is visually impaired can actually customize their experience with Alexa by downloading any one of the third-party applications. These allow the impaired to add items to your online grocery cart, play jeopardy, turn the television on and off, and set reminders to take medication, make appointments, and search for information online.
Are There Any Challenges or Problems Still Prevalent for the Visually Impaired?
Although voice-activated devices are relatively simple to use, they still present some difficulties for those who are visually impaired. Like all other devices, there is a learning curve associated with using an Amazon Echo, as familiarity and knowledge of how the device works and how you can work it into your daily life, takes time. Meaning, to use a digital assistant effectively, one must acquire the expertise needed to understand when you have done something wrong.
You may like to: Download Full Whitepaper on Voice Assisted Technologies
For instance, if you provide too much information in a query with Alexa, she is not going to know how to answer you, but someone who has prior knowledge about web searches is going to understand right away what went wrong. Another example would be, if you were to make incomplete or punctuate your communication with pauses, Alexa is not going to dictate what you are saying very well. So knowing how to interact with the device, is imperative to fluid use. However, despite these difficulties, the Amazon Alexa becomes more than just a tool for exchanging information and becomes a facilitator for independence and connection among the visually impaired and the disabled.
How Let’s Nurture can help to build Alexa Skills for Visually Impaired?
Let’s Nurture is a top-notch ISO 9001:2015 certified Alexa skills development company in India for 10+ years, having offices in USA, UK, Canada, Australia and Singapore. Hire Alexa skill developers with unparalleled expertise in developing custom voice skills for Alexa enabled devices like Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, Fire TV Devices and devices powered by Alexa Voice Service. Our skills are robust, conversational and exceptionally functional which will be nothing short of a blessing for people who are in real need of Voice First technology.
If you have a brilliant idea to change and enhance lives of visually impaired people through Alexa skill technology, why wait? Talk to our expert Voice Skill Architects.