March is National Reading Month and it promotes the importance of reading every day, both for fun and to learn something new. The children’s book author, Dr. Seuss, was also born in this month. We celebrate the importance of reading by providing several ways in which visually impaired people can enjoy books.
Existing technology now makes reading easier than ever before for people with limited vision. Because books are released digitally and in multiple formats, it is important to consider your personal preferences before selecting the vision impaired apps for reading. You might prefer a natural, human voice or one like Siri. Using the Apple or Android platform will provide varied results. Research the options below to find the vision impaired apps that work for you.
Amazon’s Kindle app allows the user to read purchased Kindle eBooks. You can create bookmarks, browse through books and leave reviews in the app itself. You can also sync with your Goodreads profile and other social media platforms, sharing your ratings and reviews of books with your followers. You will also receive book recommendations based on your purchase history. This app is available on Apple and Android devices.
The Apple Books app allows you to easily access purchased Apple books. Browse the book store, keep track of your preferences and receive customized recommendations based on your interests. This app comes standard on Apple devices and can be used with accessible software like VoiceOver and Zoom.
Voice Dream Reader
Voice Dream Reader is a diverse app that allows you to read books in electronic braille or listen to them by downloading human-sounding voices. Choose from over 200 voices and 30 languages. Use this app to access texts from Google drive, Dropbox, Project Gutenberg and more. Voice Dream Reader is available for a one-time purchase.
Just in case you want to check out even more iOS reading apps, head over to Apple Vista where there are over three dozen apps reviewed by its user community. This is just one category. There are several more to browse.
The QRead app is only available for Windows users. Like Voice Dream Reader, QRead allows the user to read books published in multiple formats. It can be particularly helpful to students because they can open several books at once, copy and paste text, set bookmarks and much more. This software, though not a mobile app, was created by Accessible Apps, a company where the blind create software and products for other blind users.
Android Access is a site geared specifically for Android users searching for accessible apps from that platform.
Audible can be downloaded to your Apple or Android device. It requires a monthly subscription plan but allows you to try it for free. This app makes it easy to listen to books anywhere and gives you an enhanced audio experience.
Two popular digital libraries provide books in electronic braille and audio formats for visually impaired and print disabled users –Bookshare and the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled–also known as NLS. Bookshare is a subscription service, and NLS requires proof of disability before granting access to their books.
Learn how to use these vision impaired apps through Outlook’s Adaptive Technology Training program.