There are a few reading mobile apps for the blind or visually impaired, not all of them are created equally. We’re here to help you choose.
As the world moves online more and more everyday, new challenges arise for blind or visually impaired individuals. These days, you have to scan a QR code to learn more about where your bananas come from, enter contests, or apply for a credit card… and that’s just one example of the many hurdles blind and visually impaired people have to overcome in their daily lives.
We also do a lot of reading online for work or for entertainment purposes, and until now, there hasn’t really been a reliable way for the visually impaired to read this online content with ease. There are apps for the blind that will help with GPS navigation, telling time, and some that will even scan currency to determine the denomination. However, is there a really good reading app for those who are blind or visually impaired?
Recently, some newer apps have come along that claim to be able to help people with visual impairments read a wide range of online content just as easily and seamlessly as sighted individuals. Of course, not all of these apps are created equal, and a lot of the newer ones that are hitting the market haven’t been properly tested to see if they can actually do what they promise.
How do Apps for the Blind or Visually Impaired Work?
There are several apps out there which aim to provide a way for the visually impaired to read. Most of them require that you manually import the text into the app page by page, which can be both time-consuming and cumbersome. While an app like this does still technically help people with visual impairments to read online content, we can all agree that it isn’t a perfect solution.
When analyzing accessibility apps for the blind or for those with low vision or other vision issues, we really want to make sure that it is intuitive, accurate, and most of all, innovative. As technology advances and becomes more of a natural extension of our everyday lives, we want to make sure that blind and visually impaired individuals aren’t left behind.
So, let’s look at a few of these apps and discuss their pros and cons and see if we can determine which (if any) is the best reading app for the blind or visually impaired!
Determining the Best Reading App for the Blind or Visually Impaired
First, let’s look at the KNFB Reader app. It was created by the National Federation of the Blind of Nevada, and its main function is converting text to speech or text to Braille. It’s currently available for iOS, Android, and Windows 10 devices and it does not require Wi-Fi or an internet connection to work, which makes it a convenient option to use when you’re away from home.
The biggest drawback of the KNFB Reader app is the fact that as of right now, it is only available as an app. You can’t use it with your web browser and in order to convert text to speech, you have to manually import the content into the app so it can be read out loud. This basically means that you have to take a photo of the document you want the app to dictate, and then it uses artificial intelligence to detect the text on the page.
Technology like this works great for physical items like receipts, bills, magazine articles, and even books. But it isn’t going to work for online content that you want to read on your web browser. And, if you want to use the KNFB Reader to dictate a longer document (like a book or pamphlet), you have to take a photo of each page individually, using your smartphone camera, or import it manually into the app, which can be a very time-consuming process.
Though all your reading is done within the app, it does provide a tremendous service for the blind.
Speechify uses text-to-speech technology, similar to the KNFB Reader app — but with several notable differences. First of all, it isn’t just an app; it’s also a web browser extension. That means you can use it to read Google Docs, Wikipedia articles, emails, and even social media messages. You don’t have to print out documents you want to read or manually import them into the app. You can simply activate the Chrome or Safari extension and let it do its thing!
Speechify, in real time, will automatically scan for printed text and read it to you in one of the 30+ natural, human-like voices that you have to choose from. Speechify will automatically start reading from the top of the page, or if you’re using the app, you can just tap on any word to start reading from a specific spot.
Another great feature is the ability to choose your reading speed. You can get more done in less time by choosing a faster reading speed, or you can slow things down if there’s something you really need to focus on. Speechify offers reading speeds up to 900 words per minute in 15+ exclusive languages like Chinese, Arabic, French, Spanish, and many more!
Try our free app today. Listen to anything in your browser or scan any printed article and save it to your cloud. Love reading books? Speechify is great even for audio books.
How Speechify Goes Beyond the Basics
After comparing the text-to-speech apps that are currently available, it’s easy to see that Speechify comes out ahead. Speechify isn’t just a reading app for book lovers who are blind or visually impaired (although it is often used for that purpose). It’s also immensely helpful for work or just navigating everyday tasks, like reading online news articles or WhatsApp messages!
What makes Speechify so great is the fact that you do not have to import things into the app for it to be read out loud. Once you install the extension, the entire web is at your beck and call.
In addition to the web browser, Speechify is available as both an Android and iOS app, so you always have this amazing technology right at your fingertips. The app is currently rated #1 in the iOS app store, and it’s easy to see why! With the app, you can scan anything and have it read back to you, from single pages to entire books. With this text-to-speech app for the blind and visually impaired, you don’t have to worry about missing out on anything.
Perhaps one of the coolest features is the cloud-based Speechify library. Anything you’ve scanned or saved to Speechify via the app or the browser extension will be saved to the cloud so you can work across all of your devices without losing your progress. So, you can start reading a manuscript while you’re out walking the dog, then finish it when you get back home and log onto your computer.
It’s a seamless experience designed to compliment the way you already live your life — and it’s something that a lot of other accessibility apps for the blind miss the mark on.
Can Speechify Help You?
As we mentioned, Speechify is a game-changer for those who are visually impaired and it’s one of the best apps for the blind on the market today. However, if you don’t identify as someone who is blind or visually impaired, you might be wondering if Speechify can help you, too. Most likely it can! Speechify is used by a wide range of people with a wide range of needs.
Speechify was created by Cliff Weitzman, someone who lives with dyslexia. In his childhood and throughout college, all Cliff wanted was to be able to read without difficulty. He wanted to be able to excel in school and life, without expending so much extra effort to overcome his reading challenges. He created Speechify to make his own life easier, and in the process, he has helped so many other people with dyslexia live their lives with more confidence and ease.
But it doesn’t stop there! People use Speechify for other reasons that aren’t as common — and some of them may surprise you! For instance, we have users who live with migraines, cataracts, dyslexia, or ADHD (just to name a few) and Speechify helps make reading less of a barrier in their lives.
Even if you typically read with ease, a text-to-speech tool like this can help you multitask better. Just think of the time you’d save by having your emails read to you while you cook dinner!
Download the Speechify App for the Blind or Visually Impaired
Let’s face it, listening is just easier than reading — whether you are someone who is visually impaired or not. You have a lot on your plate, and you need an innovative text-to-speech tool that can actually keep up. You don’t have time to be scanning individual pages into an app; you need something that works intuitively with the way you already live, work, and play.
Speechify can save you 2 hours (or more) every day and greatly increase what’s possible for you and your life. So, whether you’re looking for a really great reading app for book lovers who are blind or visually impaired, or you just want a better way to multitask throughout the day, this tool will greatly improve your quality of life… and what more can you really ask for?
Speechify is widely considered to be the best reading app for the blind or visually impaired, but you don’t have to take our word for it. We invite you to try Speechify for free today!