Skip to 0 minutes and 1 secondSPEAKER 1: The biggest issue for a person with physical disabilities regarding a smartphone is the capacity of display. When you can't move your hands or fingers you have to use a special stylus to handle the display, the touch display. If that problem is solved and if the input problem is handled, a person with physical disabilities can almost handle any app. Just complex and making touch gestures are a big problem.

Skip to 0 minutes and 42 secondsSPEAKER 2: What do you like about using your mobile device and what are you missing?

Skip to 0 minutes and 47 secondsSPEAKER 3: I like about my mobile phone that I can use GPS navigation. It's probably the most important thing that I find very useful in my iPhone. And OCR is another very important tool that I often use, because it really makes my everyday life much, much easier. When I have a letter, I can scan it, and then boom, and it goes. And yes, I also use, of course, my phone as a phone, and for checking emails, and surfing the web, and all the normal things that all sighted people use. But the main thing that I found my smartphone most useful for is OCR and GPS navigation.

Skip to 1 minute and 51 secondsWhat I don't like, or what I'm missing, is so difficult to say, because I'm sometimes too enthusiastic about my iPhone. Because the iPhone is actually the tool that revolutionised the lives of blind people. And of course, there are inaccessible apps that are the main hindrance to using your smartphone the most productive way possible. But there are also different apps that you can use. So it often doesn't really matter.

Skip to 2 minutes and 38 secondsBut really, there's not much that I'm missing.

Skip to 2 minutes and 45 secondsWhat I don't like about the mobile market in a way is that the only useful device for blind people is the iPhone and you got no choice. Of course, you could use an Android device, but it's so much worse and it's really uncomfortable doing it. Yeah. That's all I got to say.

Skip to 3 minutes and 9 secondsSPEAKER 2: OK. Thank you.

Skip to 3 minutes and 11 secondsSPEAKER 3: You're welcome.

Welcome to week 3

Welcome to week 3. Watch two people, one of whom has physical disabilities and the other who is blind, talk about the pros and cons of using a smart phone or mobile device.

This week, we focus on enabling people to get the best out of mobile devices. You will discover:

  • how accessible mobile devices can offer support not only for communication but also for daily living and work activities and how this can increase the level of independence people with a disability can achieve

  • the ways in which people with disabilities interact with their mobile device (different input and output methods)

This week we are joined by our partners, Professor Gerhard Weber from the Technische Universität Dresden and Peter Heumader from Johannes Kepler Universität Linz. They will be joining in the conversations this week - do look out for them in the discussions.


Besides being used for talking to somebody or checking emails, mobile devices offer many other useful and helpful options. Different sensors like Global Positioning Systems (GPS), compasses, cameras, WiFi connections, gyroscopes and Near-field communication (NFC) are the sort of applications (often called ‘apps’) that can be used to collect information from the environment.

The data collected can be processed locally or on a server and provide yet more information. So you can search online for an accessible entrance to a building whilst going to a meeting, or when the next bus home arrives at a stop that you have just located.

What apps, if any, do you use on your mobile phone?

Which ones do you rely on most?

Are there any apps, that are yet to be developed, that you think would enhance your life?


© This video is created by Technische Universität Dresden and Johannes Kepler Universität Linz 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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This video is from the free online course:

Digital Accessibility: Enabling Participation in the Information Society

University of Southampton