The RNIB has identified a top 10 of mobile applications.
Apps for Learning
Welcome to the Productivity Apps for Learning Page
Using your own phone software
Mobile Phones have built in accessible features which are worth exploring and also pages online to explain all their features. Click the links below to explore the accessibility features for your phone.
- Apple phones visit the following site: https://www.apple.com/uk/accessibility/iphone/
- Android phones https://support.google.com/accessibility/android/answer/6006564?hl=en-GB
- Blackberry https://www.blackberry.com/uk/en/legal/accessibility
- Samsung Galaxy https://www.samsung.com/uk/accessibility/overview/
The British Dyslexia Association maintains a very useful list of accessibility applications that may benefit a wide range of users and not just those with Dyslexia.
Top Apps to support a Visual ImpairmentThe American Foundation for the Blind launched the official iPhone and Android notetaker, AccessNote. It works in collaboration with VoiceOver/TalkBack to create an easy-to-use and effective note-taking aid.Dictate messages, adding punctuation verbally, and receive it on screen instantly. Delivery options for this message include text, email, copy-and-paste and social media apps.This app stores voice notes, photographs and text, providing users with a medium to share them between multiple devices. Photographs are scanned for text using VoiceOver/TalkBack support too.This free app allows users to download purchased books from amazon.co.uk. Supportive features for blind and partially sighted people include large print, computer-generated speech and human narrators.This app is available on iPhone and Android devices, providing easy access to a huge selection of audio books – including academic titles.This talking calculator has a range of voices to choose from and allows you to record your own voice. It works with VoiceOver and has high contrast options for people with low vision. Button names are also read aloud as the user’s finger moves over the screen. (There’s also a more basic Android app that’s free.)Google Translate translates speech into a specified foreign language (there are over 100 to choose from). The app can also translate text in images instantly just by pointing the camera at it.This app is a financial commitment, but it promises to be “fast, accurate and efficient” when converting printed text into speech. It has a field of view report, automatic page detection and tilt control. It can read aloud hardcopy text from things such as books, menus and magazines, and it also displays text in a large font on screen.Fully accessible with VoiceOver, this app is an excellent tool for staying organised. It includes a notes area with reminders, a repeating alarm feature, a snooze option and a multi-use timer (most Android devices have a similar app factory installed). An additional feature for a small cost provides you with the ability to set interval timers for doing repetitive chores, which could be used to set revision breaks.The Braille Institute has launched a free iOS app called ViA (Visually Impaired Apps), which identifies compatible apps that are useful for people with sight loss. It enables users to sift through the 500,000 plus apps in the App Store and highlights those that were built with accessible functionality.
Top Apps to support Dyslexia
Here is a quick overview of some free apps and online tools that can help dyslexic students work more effectively in the classroom, doing homework, or even studying for tests.
1. Google Play Books
[Text to Speech, Android]
This is a great app for android devices that has talk-back technology that can read books aloud to a dyslexic student. One particularly great aspect of this app is the fact that it offers synchronized highlighting, so students can read along with the speech and gain confidence in reading without getting stuck or frustrated.
2. Dragon Dictation
For years there was a focus on text to speech apps to make reading easier, however this does the opposite and allows students to record themselves speaking, and then turns their words into text. This makes writing essays and homework a lot easier.
3. Natural Reader
[Text-to-Speech, Windows or Mac, + free online utility]
Students can choose to use an online utility, or to download free software to convert any written text such as MS Word, Webpages, PDF files, and eBook into spoken words. This online utility is great for occasional use by students, as they can copy and paste the content from web sites onto this site, which then converts it from text to speech. Dyslexic students can then either listen or read along as the text is read aloud.
4. Cite It In
[Free online utility]
For many dyslexic students, writing a paper is harrowing enough, and adding footnotes and references just makes the experience worse. Fortunately, this website can take over the referencing part of the process, eliminating one of their stressful tasks.
5. Pocket - Great! Organiser
[Organizer -IOS / Android / Chrome / Firefox]
Pocket is a free service that allows students to save web site articles to one location, and retrieve it later from any device. It includes text-to-speech functionality, making it accessible for everyone. This can help students more easily manage research projects or other assignments, such as keeping track of news articles and current affairs for a politics or critical thinking class.
6. Whisper Sync
[Text to Speech / Amazon Kindle Devices & Apps]
This is a free app offered by Amazon that can convert Kindle books into audio files. One of the best aspects of this is that you can jump in and out of the audio elements, so a student can try reading themselves, and then if they get tired or frustrated, they can listen for a while, and then go back to reading.
[Writing App – All Platforms]
Ginger is one of the most popular writing apps out there, and it really does help students improve their writing as they go by picking up on their mistakes and errors as they go, allowing them to make changes while they’re writing. Features include grammar and spell check, word prediction, built-in-dictionary, translation, and text-to-speech.
8. Gboard – the Google Keyboard
[Enhanced keyboard – Android]
This free app adds search functionality and other features, including dictation and word prediction, to the device keyboard. The search tools eliminate the need to copy or paste when sending an email.
9. Mind Meister
[Mind-map creator, Android / IOS]
This is another great study tool that can also help with note-taking. As many dyslexic students don’t find pages of text appealing, this allows them to format their own notes in much more user-friendly formats that can make learning and revising a whole lot more efficient.
Top Apps to support a Hearing Impairment
Best Communication Apps
1. Glide: for texting and talking.
2. P3 Mobile: for texting, talking and relay services. Includes ASL and clear-speech relays.
3. Google Voice: for transcribing messages (speech to text).
4. Hamilton CapTel: for captions during the phone conversation
5. Sorenson Buzzcards: d/Deaf create flashcards for communication with the hearing. Flashcards can be saved.
6. FaceTime: visual calling
Best In-Person Apps
1. Speak4Me: text-to-speech
2. Sorenson Buzzcards: create flashcards to communicate with non-ASL users
3. Text to Speech!: text-to-speech
4. iSpeech: text-to-speech
5. Subtitles Viewer LIVE!: live speech-to-captions (caption real-time, live conversations)
6. Earfy: live speech-to-captions (caption real-time, live conversations)
7. Dragon Anywhere: dictation application that can be used by us deaf with hearing – have the hearing person speak and it will automatically caption what they are saying (if it is said clearly enough)
Best Alarm Apps
1. Alarm Clock with FlashLights: alarm clock with flashing lights (and music)
2. Alarmed Reminders + Timers: integrates with iPhone native Reminder app
3. Loud Alarm Clock Best and Loudest Alarms 2: for people who need something REALLY loud
Top Apps to support a Physical Impairment
Tecla Access is an app providing all the tools needed to access and use your mobile or tablet, without having to pick up your device.
Wheelmap offers a simple way to search for wheelchair-accessible places all around the globe. You’re also able to add marks for places that are accessible and less accessible for future reference.
Wheelmate is an app dedicated to locating wheelchair accessible toilet facilities and parking spaces. With over 30,000 locations across 45 different countries, you’re sure to find the information you need, wherever you’re adventure is taking you.
Join the conversation - Those with mobility difficulties share places which are convenient and mobility friendly to visit. Whether it be parking spots in a town you’re not familiar with or a new restaurant in your local area, add your experiences and learn from other peoples to ensure your leisure time is safe and stress free.
Apple Accessibility Features
Apple devices include a range of integrated features which support those with learning differences and physical disabilities.
Top Apps to support Mental Wellbeing
All the Apps listed below have been recommended by the NHS and Wellbeing Service
Couch to 5K
Couch to 5K is designed to get you off the couch and running 5km in just nine weeks. The plan involves three runs a week with a rest day in between and a different running schedule each week. Produced with the BBC, the app builds you up gradually with a mix of running and walking. Available for Apple and Android users.
Big White Wall
Big White Wall is an online community for people who are stressed, anxious or feeling low. The service has an active forum with round-the-clock support from trained professionals. You can talk anonymously to other members and take part in group or one-to-one therapy with therapists. Big White Wall is for anyone aged 16 or over who wants to improve their mental health.
BlueIce is an evidenced-based app to help young people manage their emotions and reduce urges to self-harm. It includes a mood diary, a toolbox of evidence-based techniques to reduce distress and automatic routing to emergency numbers if urges to harm continue. Available for both Apple and Android
Calm Harm App
The urge to self-harm is like a wave. It feels the most powerful when you start wanting to do it. Learn to ride the wave with the free Calm Harm app using these activities: Comfort, Distract, Express Yourself, Release, Random and Breathe.
When you ride the wave, the urge to self-harm will fade. Available for both Apple and Android
Cypher (formerly Silent Secret) is an anonymous peer-to-peer social network. It is a space to share your feelings and secrets, give and receive support, and connect to other support organisations. Available for Apple and Android users.
The distrACT app gives you easy, quick and discreet access to information and advice about self-harm and suicidal thoughts. The content has been created by doctors and experts in self-harming and suicide prevention. Available for Apple and Android Users.
Easy Meals App
Easy Meal's recipes have been selected to suit a variety of tastes and dietary requirements. Use Easy Meals to search over 150 easy, calorie-counted recipes. Add your meals to your shopping trolley, and the app builds a handy shopping list, which shows you in what aisle to find your ingredients.
The app is full of healthy eating advice, cooking tips and a seasonal cooking calendar. Available for both Android and Apple users.