I thought I’d intro this blog with a little about me: My name is Quentin Christensen, I have a degree in computer science and am a certified workplace trainer and assessor. I have worked as an adaptive technology trainer (translation: I teach people who are blind or vision impaired to use technology) for nearly ten years.
I was born with congenital cataracts and after being operated on as a child, I have fairly good sight – not enough to drive, but otherwise I can do most things I care to. My reading preference is large print (personally I prefer at least 16pt though I can read smaller if I need to), and on a screen, I find it easiest to read light text on a dark background. For this blog I will use the definition of large print as being 18pt Arial or equivalent
Since its early days, the iPhone has included VoiceOver and Zoom, and I praise Apple for designing a mainstream device with accessibility out of the box. Android more recently has added significant capabilities in both speech (since 4.1) and screen magnification (since 4.2). Both platforms also have ‘large print’ options, though both limited to some inbuilt features, and Android’s is currently, at best minimally larger than standard, however with so many 3rd party apps available, even the fanciest inbuilt features only comprise one aspect of the capability of the modern smartphone.
Personally, I prefer to use large print rather than speech or screen magnification. Software which enlarges part of the screen (so it’s bigger but you can’t see everything) is useful, but better still would be larger text so you can see everything which is on screen AND be able to read it. Because of the extra customisation available in Android, some great 3rd party apps, and the wide range of handsets available (up to 6”+ phones now!) I feel Android is currently the better platform for large print (or large print with speech).
I have done a fair bit of tinkering and downloaded many apps to try and find the best large print setup, so my intention is to use this blog to share some of those findings with you so that if you are choosing a phone, you can make a more informed choice, and if you already have an Android, you might hopefully find some useful ideas here too.
There are some other great resources around, particularly for speech users, so I’ll endeavour to get links up to some of those resources for you. For now, it’s great to have you along, and I hope you enjoy reading my ramblings and find something helpful along the way!