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Skip to 0 minutes and 0 seconds VOICEOVER: How can apps support blind people in performing everyday activities?

Skip to 0 minutes and 6 seconds JANS BLUEHER: Well, the big problem that we have is we want or need information that we cannot see, for example, street signs. Where am I? When will the next train come? Or even which colour does an object have in my environment, my clothes and so on? And today, we have for all these things mobile apps that can provide us this information whenever we want and nearly wherever we are and that can be a very big help.

Skip to 0 minutes and 43 seconds VOICEOVER: So such an app has previously been not available. How did you achieve to separate all the many colours that are around us and give them names?

Skip to 0 minutes and 56 seconds JANS BLUEHER: First, you have to analyse a picture and get colour component values out of it but it’s something that I can quite easily do on my own. And of course, then to name different colours, then you have to ask some sighted persons to tell this is still a green or goes into yellowish something and so on. And that’s something a sighted person has to do, I think, and did in my case.

Skip to 1 minute and 32 seconds VOICEOVER: So with a little support, you have been developing this app. What programming language do you need for such an app?

Skip to 1 minute and 40 seconds JANS BLUEHER: Since the Colorizer is an iOS app, I used Objective-C.

Skip to 1 minute and 45 seconds VOICEOVER: And how did you programme this? I think you cannot easily use a mouse in order to click all the labels and edit fields together?

Skip to 1 minute and 55 seconds JANS BLUEHER: I used the normal Xcode that you usually use for programming on Objective-C to develop iOS apps. And Xcode itself, it’s very accessible. You can even, if you want, click around with the mouse or drag and drop your user interface together in place. So it’s very doable.

Skip to 2 minutes and 22 seconds VOICEOVER: So can sighted and blind people use your app or is it more specialised for blind people only?

Skip to 2 minutes and 28 seconds JANS BLUEHER: It was my first user group, of course, blind people. But when it was released, also sighted people use it with some colour disabilities. It was a group of which I had never thought of but it’s of course very klar (German for clear).

Skip to 2 minutes and 51 seconds VOICEOVER: So you have been developing a user interface aiming both at blind people and people with colour deficits. Did you have to modify the user interface for this?

Skip to 3 minutes and 2 seconds JANS BLUEHER: Not really, because it was from the beginning, and it was designed to work for both for sighted people and for blind people. And so the design was made. You could see optically and then there were some adaptions made to support this query on the iPhone. But these are not two different, very distinguished user interfaces.

Skip to 3 minutes and 34 seconds VOICEOVER: So are there many people interested in using your app? What is your experience?

Skip to 3 minutes and 40 seconds JANS BLUEHER: Well, we have until now several thousand downloads so there is indeed an interest in it. How often do people use it? I cannot tell.

Skip to 3 minutes and 56 seconds VOICEOVER: Thank you very much then.

Making colour detection possible with an app.

Colours help us to recognise all kinds of objects in everyday life. This simple task is impossible for those who are blind unless they have some specialist assistive technology to support this activity.

In the video, you will hear about the ColorVisor app. It is not only supporting those who are blind with colour detection but also helping other individuals who may have colour deficiencies. The developer of the app, Jan Blüher, who is blind himself, also discusses his coding skills and the fact that he depends on many other mobile apps.

Have you ever thought about the way we match colours when we go shopping and the problems of different lighting in different environments? How do you cope with these problems and could technology help?

© This video is created by Technische Universität Dresden and licensed under CC-BY BY 4.0 International Licence. Erasmus + MOOCs for Accessibility Partnership.

© This text is a derivative of a work created by Johannes Kepler Universität Linz and Technische Universität Dresden, and licensed under CC-BY BY 4.0 International Licence adapted and used by the University of Southampton. Erasmus + MOOCs for Accessibility Partnership.

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Digital Accessibility: Enabling Participation in the Information Society

University of Southampton