Monday, June 30, 2008

Mobile Magnifier for Seniors with Weak Vision

Several posts ago, I blogged about an AT&T service that is aimed towards seniors and persons who have disabilities. These services are offered on mobile phone for seniors and they aim to make handsets more user friendly towards the elderly. I blogged about Mobile Speak a few months ago and I felt that its time to talk about AT&T's Mobile Magnifier.

But before that let me give a quick recap on Mobile Speak. AT&T's Mobile Speak service for seniors is a a powerful full-fledged screen reader with an easy-to-learn command structure, intuitive speech feedback in several languages. This service automatically detects information that the blind user should know, just as a user with sight would easily find highlighted items or key areas of the screen at a glance. You can click here to see my full post on Mobile Speak.

Now let's move on to Mobile Magnifier. Like mobile Speak, this application is designed to help make good mobile phones for seniors. It is is a flexible, full-screen magnification application that supports low and high resolution screens. Mobile Magnifier can be used with or without speech feedback.

As it's name indicates, mobile Magnifier acts like a magnifying glass and enlarges the information a a mobile phone's screen. This magnification software is compatible with a wide range of mobile devices. A mobile phone equipped with this application would be a suitable mobile phone for seniors.

Here are the main features of this cell phone service for seniors:

  • Magnification levels from 1.25x to 16x
  • Font-smoothing for easier readability
  • Three different layouts: full-screen, split and distributed view
  • Different color schemes, including inverted color
  • Automatic panning and cursor-tracking
  • Automatic zoom function that detects areas of interest on the screen

Here are the devices that currently support this service (Additional compatible devices will be available soon):
  • Nokia N75
  • Nokia E62
  • Cingular 3125
  • Samsung BlackJack (Windows Mobile version 5)
  • Pantech Duo (Windows Mobile version 6)

I hope that many similar programs and applications will be developed by mobile phone makers and developers. Paul Schroeder, vice president of Programs and Policy, American Foundation for the Blind says that, "There is a real need for more wireless options for Individuals who have vision loss.We value AT&T for its leadership in addressing the needs of this community." Other companies should follow AT&T's lead.

Tune in to to this blog for more mobile phone for seniors news and info.

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