My Favourite Bloggers

Hello and welcome back to Life Of A Blind Girl!

Before we get into this weeks post, I’d just like to thank you all. I’ve had over 3000 views on my blog and I honestly can’t put into words how happy that makes me! I never thought i’d get this far, the aim of my blog was to help other blind and visually impaired people like myself in any way that I can and it will always stay that way. 3000 views though…crazy! Thank you all so so much!

So let’s get into this post…

 

Last week in my April Q&A post I was asked who my three favourite bloggers were, I’ve been planning to tell you all about my favourite bloggers for a while but haven’t actually got round to it so here it finally is!

I’m not the best at reviewing so sorry if the descriptions of these bloggers aren’t great. But they’re all amazing so make sure you check them out!

 

My Blurred World I started following and reading this incredible girls blog when we both first started blogging which was at the start of 2015. Ever since then, we’ve become really good friends and I truly believe that blogging has brought us closer. She’s my number one for all beauty tips! She blogs about life as a visually impaired girl, beauty, lifestyle and disability.

 

Thinking Out Loud – Sassy Style Sassy is an amazing writer and I’m so jealous! We’re really good friends and we truly support each other in blogging and everything else in our personal lives, I feel so lucky to have her in my life. Sassy blogs about all things blindness/disability, lifestyle…you name it, she’ll blog about it! She’s got a great sense of humour and as the blog states…she’s a sassy one!

 

Yesterdays Wishes Lucy is literally my number one for makeup and beauty. If I’m struggling with something to do with makeup i’ll always go to Lucy! She also blogs about all things blindness/disability  and puts across the fact that having sight loss means that you can still care about your looks even if you’re blind. We’ve become good friends recently which I’m honestly so glad about.

 

Molly Burke If you just want to sit down and watch a video about lifestyle, beauty, disability or anything to do with visual impairment then I suggest you click the link above. Molly’s a great motivational speaker as well…I need her to be my personal motivational speaker sometimes!

 

Fashioneyesta Emily is literally my number one for fashion…whether you’re sighted or not you’ll learn so much from Emily!

 

See My Way Elin blogs about what it’s like to be a blind person in a visual world. She’s completely honest in what she writes and I love her doggy blogs as well!

 

Where’s Your Dog? meagan is 100% honest in everything she writes. She is like me and doesn’t sugarcoat anything and I love that about her. She’s absolutely hilarious as well and makes me chuckle all the time.

 

Gabriella Gabbies videos are incredible, I love her honesty…she’s just someone I could watch for hours.

 

Emily Canham Emily’s videos are always fab! I especially love her beauty videos…I never get bored of watching those.

 

Fabulous Hannah Hannah literally vlogs about everything from fashion, to food, to lifestyle…she’s fabulous 😉

 

Emmie Elizabeth Emmie’s posts are just your typical teenager/girly thoughts put into one nutshell of a blog. She brings out her inner fangirl in her blog posts as well which is basically me summed up!

 

Sarah In Wonderland Sarah writes about lifestyle, makeup and all things disability. What I love about Sarah is that she really puts a new perspective on things and makes you think outside the box.

 

Beauty With Rach Rach is a huge Jessie J fan like me so she’s obviously an absolute babe 😉 no but seriously, her videos are brilliant and her makeup tutorials are great! Her channel deserves so much more recognition!!

 

Glasses Girl I love Lizi’s honesty, she cuts out the absolute rubbish and keeps it real. She writes about life as a typical girl in her 20’s, reviews places/products and so much more! It’s so weird to think that we actually used to be friends and it’s so nice to see how far she’s come. I love how she critiques things she blogs about, her posts are far from one-sided which is great

 

Catch These Words Holly says exactly what she’s thinking/feeling and I love that. If you want advice on blindness/disability then Holly’s blog is the place to visit. Check out her goodreads page as well!

 

Girl Gone Blind Maria writes about sport and what it’s exactly like to be a woman that’s lost her sight. She’s absolutely real in her posts and I love her total honesty.

 

Tommy Edison If you’ve never watched one of Tommy’s videos then I suggest you do so! He vlogs about everything to do with blindness and he never ever fails to make me laugh!

 

Luke Sam Sowden Luke blogs/vlogs about his life as a visually impaired guy. I especially love his ‘adventures of a blind guy’ and ‘confessions of a blind guy posts.

 

Well Eye Never Glen blogs about life as a blind guy, to his music collection and anything he wants to put out there. He’s always really supportive of my posts as well 🙂

 

Hannah RenéeHannah uploads videos on beauty, fashion and lifestyle. Her makeup tutorials are really well described which I really do appreciate as a blind person.

Just Jodes Jodes uploads beauty and fashion videos. I love her positivity!

Meg says Meg blogs and makes YouTube videos about all things beauty, fashion and lifestyle! I love how down to earth she is!

Louise Ng Louise uploads YouTube videos on everything to do with beauty and they’re fab!

Eve Doherty Eve’s videos are amazing, she uploads great lifestyle videos and her vlogs are great too!

Nia Patten Nia is one of my favourite beauty bloggers…that is all!

Sarah and Ellie Talks Sarah and Ellie are your go-to for everything beauty, fashion, food and lifestyle!

Lauren Rellis Lauren blogs about health, lifestyle and travel, her posts are brilliant!

Beauty SpectrumMolly uploads videos on beauty, fashion, lifestyle and has very entertaining vlogs too!

Alice Thorpe  Alice is by far one of my all time favourite YouTubers! She uploads videos on beauty, fashion, lifestyle, all things university and I love her vlogs too!

Elle Elle blogs about all things blindness/disability and tries to help and educate others. She also has a YouTube channel which is equally as good!

 

Eve Bennett Eve’s videos are so so good, she uploads videos on everything beauty, fashion, lifestyle and all things education/study tips!

I hope you enjoyed this post and be sure to check out these amazing bloggers!

Who are your favourite bloggers? Let me know – I love reading new blogs!

Also, please please send me blog post suggestions – I need your ideas!

Hol x

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April Q&A

Hi Everyone,

I’m really excited to finally be doing a Q&A on my blog! I’ve wanted to do one for a while but haven’t got round to it and I honestly thought no one would ask me questions…how awkward would that be. I’d just like to thank you all for your questions, they’re all fab and I’ve really enjoyed answering them all.

If you ever have any questions please feel free to send me them and i’ll either write you a personal response or answer them in a future Q&A.

So here is my first ever Q&A!

 

How do you avoid obstacles at head/eye level, like open cupboard doors or tree branches?

This is a really good question and I honestly had to think about this…I can sometimes see if something is there but don’t know what it is if I’m really close to them but that’s often too late! Another way I know is if something is blocking my light perception, for example if a door has been left open.

 

Do you / can you travel by yourself? What are the pros / cons?

I don’t do it as often as I should but yes I can, I went on a plane by myself last year and that really gave me a lot more confidence to travel on my own.

The pros are that it makes you more independent, you don’t have to rely on someone taking you everywhere and you have more freedom to go where you want.

I’d say the cons were that if things go wrong it can be rather scary and often tricky to solve the situation sometimes. For example, if something goes wrong whilst you are getting rail assistance it might put you off doing it in the future. Also, I’m not going to lie, it’s really scary. Sighted people can just go wherever they want to, often without any worries, that’s not always the case for us blind people.

 

Do you feel safe going out alone?

Again, I should go places by myself way more than I actually do. I do feel safe yes, especially during the day is when I feel most safe. It’s always a risk and I do get anxious when thinking about it sometimes as would anyone.

 

If you do some exercises to keep in shape, what kind do you do?

This sounds really bad but I am probably the most unfit person ever hahaha! I do go walking quite a lot so that keeps me in shape. I love swimming as well and do that whenever I can.

I’ve been on gym equipment like the treadmill, cross-trainer and an exercise bike quite a few times in my school gym when I was at school as well so you can still do things like that even if you’re blind, you just might need some assistance with certain aspects.

Check out Girl GoneBlind who is a blind fitness instructor! You can also listen to her recent podcast on RNIB Connect Radio here

 

For those with some vision: in public, do you feel like you have to be one person with a cane and another when not using it?

No not really, my disability doesn’t define me and I am a firm believer in those who mind don’t matter, those who matter don’t mind. People stare either way and that’s just the society we live in. I do feel anxious when using my cane so it does affect me in that way. Remember: your cane is just an extension of you and if it is something that helps you then don’t let anyone take that away from you or make you feel any different.

 

If you had to choose only one piece of technology for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Definitely my iPhone, then I could still have all the apps that help me on a regular basis. It is also something that sighted people have so you can feel just like everyone else.

 

What is your desired future career?

I’d like to work within an organisation for blind and visually impaired people; either a family support officer or an education support officer. I honestly just want to help other blind and visually impaired people like myself and for them to know that it isn’t a barrier no matter how hard life may seem.

 

Who are your favourite bloggers?

I’m actually in the process of writing a post telling you all about my favourite bloggers! There’s so many amazing bloggers but my top three have to be: My Blurred World Yesterdays Wishes and Sassy

 

What is the one smartphone app you couldn’t be without?

Tap Tap See, that app is a lifeline sometimes!

 

Do you use a screen-reader?

Yes, I use Apple VoiceOver and Jaws. I’ve also used NVDA and Dolphin (previously Supernova) in the past.

 

Name three VoiceOver games that you play?

I don’t play games that often but I sometimes play 94 Seconds, Audio Archery and Blindfold Pinball. There’s an extensive list on the Apple Vis website, you can find it here

 

Have you been blind all your life?

Yes I have, due to Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP).

 

How are you always so positive? It’s so inspiring.

Thank you, that really does mean a lot. I have had my rough patches where I’ve been negative, this was when I was in sixth form at school. I was so down in the dumps and was so negative about everything but learnt a lot about staying positive from that rough patch. I finally realised that that wasn’t going to get me anywhere and I learnt to try to have a positive attitude about most things because life is not worth living feeling down and being negative all the time. I do have my down days but so does everyone else, we’re only human at the end of the day. I don’t let my disability stop me from getting to where I want to be and I do not let it define me.

 

Thank you so much for all your questions, I’ve loved doing this Q&A! If you have any in the future please send me them!

 

Until next time,

Hol x

Bandits

band itsHello everyone and welcome back to Life of a Blind Girl.

Today I’d like to tell you about an amazing product that’s especially been designed for the blind and visually impaired and it’s called Band-Its. Well let me tell you about the product!

 

Band-it’s are tactile, different coloured bands that can be put round products, for example cans of food, bathroom products, drinks or medicine bottles. The bands are pictured above. The pictureshows the different coloured bands. For people that are visually impaired the different coloured bands help you to identify a product easily. For example, you will know that a red band will be on a tin of fruit. If you are blind then don’t worry, you can still use this product! The different tactile bands make it easier for blind people to identify the product. They can also be reused so you don’t have to keep buying a new set every time you replace an item.

 

Band-it has been designed alongside people who are visually impaired to give greater independence in the home by enabling confident identification of objects.

It enables you to quickly and easily marker everyday objects in your home to more easily identify them. Whether this is consumables in the kitchen, bathroom products or remote controls in your living room is up to you!

 

Personally I think this is a great idea and would be very useful for blind and visually impaired people like myself. I also love how the bands are reusable, meaning that you don’t have to spend lots of money on them all the time. Personally, I think I’d use them for identifying tins of food, bathroom products and possibly make-up.

 

However, this product has not yet been released, the product designer Hannah has set up a crowdfunder to raise money for the release of this product. Would my lovely readers be able to help? Please check it out and donate if you can and spread the word about this fantastic product! I am definitely supporting this product and backing Hannah all the way and I hope you do the same. It is incredible that they have been designed especially for the blind and visually impaired to live more independently.

If you’d like to find out more about the product, click here

 

I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope you support Hannah on her journey to releasing this product!

What are your opinions on Band-its, would you purchase them yourself or for someone you know? Let me know your thoughts by commenting or sending me your views!

 

Disclaimer: I am not associated with the design or the production of this product, I am simply writing a blog post to inform others. All views are my own.

 

I need your help | Q&A

Hi everyone,

I’d just like to thank you all for the support on my last post – it’s been incredible! Thank you for all the tweets, comments and likes/shares on Facebook!

I thought I’d get my readers involved with something so I’ve decided to do a Q & A (if it all goes to plan).

So I need your help! I would like you to send me questions that you’d like me to answer in a Q&A blog post. It can be anything to do with disability, visual impairment, me as a person, lifestyle, beauty, technology…if a question springs to mind then please fire away! Feel free to send me more than one question if you like.

There are several ways that you can send me your questions:

Commenting below

Via email lifeofablindgirl@gmail.com

Send me a message or comment on this post on Facebook

Or you can tweet me: hollynataliet

 

I hope to do this post at the end of next week so please get them in by the start of the week if you can.

For future reference, if you have any questions after I’ve done the Q&A please do send me them, I could use them for inspiration for a blog post or for a future Q&A so ask away whenever a question springs to mind!

I look forward to answering your questions!

 

Hol x

Useful Resources For Blind And Visually Impaired People

Hi everyone,I have created a useful resource pack for blind and visually impaired people. It has become more apparent to me over the years that a lot of the resources and information that blind and visually impaired people often need isn’t in one place and we often have to go searching for it so I tried to put something together that will hopefully help other blind and visually impaired people like myself. I’ve tried to cover things from useful websites, to apps, to equipment to good Facebook groups to be a part of. I’ll keep adding to the list so keep checking back for updates! I’ll let you know when I’ve updated on my Facebook and Twitter so be sure to check those as well.


If you think I’ve missed anything or have something that you find very useful and would like to share with others please do let me know by Contacting me.

There is so much out there for blind and visually impaired people that it is impossible to cover everything but I have tried my best to give you an extensive range of useful resources.

I hope you find this of use and feel free to share with anyone that you think might benefit from this!

 

Note: I’ve put each category in headings so if you are using a screen-reader you can press the letter H to skip to each heading or change the rotor on Apple products to get to each heading as well. The different headings include: useful websites, UK charities, useful benefits of being blind or visually impaired, screen-readers, magnification software, music software, equipment, iOS/OSX apps and Facebook groups.

 

 

Useful websites

Robobraille This allows people to convert files into other formats. For example, converting a word document into audio. This website is especially useful if you have to read a long document or for different methods of revising.

 

Load2Learn They provide books in accessible formats for blind and visually impaired people and other disabilities such as dyslexia or dyspraxia. Blind or visually impaired people can access the books in PDF format or sometimes in word format and read them with a screen-reader or magnifier.

 

RNIB Overdrive This allows blind and visually impaired people to listen to talking books, EBooks, talking magazines and podcasts on their phone, tablet or computer. The overdrive service is also available for other libraries, for example a library in your local area.

 

Cool Blind Tech This website gives you the latest information in assistive technology – news, reviews and podcasts.

 

Apple Vis This website is designed especially for blind and visually impaired people who use Apple products. It gives you the latest news, reviews, information on new products/iOS and OSX updates, podcasts, blogs and it has a forum where users can ask any questions about any apple product or app.

 

RLSB (Royal London Society for Blind People)technology RLSB have a tech hub, offering some great tips on assistive technology. Be sure to check out their other services as well!

 

Paths to Technology Paths to Technology is a Perkins website,  it has been designed to assist educators, families and students with visual impairments and blindness in learning and staying current on ever-changing technology.

Paths to Literacy They provide resources for families and educators for children who are blind or visually impaired.

 

Positive Eye Provides education and training for professionals working with blind and visually impaired people.

 

Wonder Baby Provides advice, support and resources for parents of blind/visually impaired and disabled children.

 

The Vision Foundation A support network for families of children with visual impairments who may also have additional learning difficulties and/or disabilities, in the Barnsley district.

 

Toy Like Me Celebrating children with disabilities in toys.

 

Able Magazine Disability lifestyle magazine.

 

BBC – Disability News TheBBC’s dedicated news page for all disability stories.

 

BBC Ouch! The BBC’s dedicated page for disability podcasts.

 

Disabled World News and articles about disability.

 

Disabled Go Access Guides Access guides for venues and locations in the UK.

 

VocalEyes A company that provide audio described performances, touch tours and accessible visual arts productions to blind and visually impaired people.

 

Blind Mums Connect A support network for blind and visually impaired mums in the UK.

 

Through Scarlett’s Eyes  A support network for families of blind and visually impaired children.

 

 

UK Charities

RNIB RNIB offer a wide range of services for people affected by sight loss, here are a few:

  • advice and support
  • Emotional support
  • Advice for professionals
  • Library service
  • Shop where you can buy a whole range of items, from games to canes
  • Help with technology

And so much more!

 

Action For Blind People Action For Blind People offer a whole selection of services that include:

  • Independent living support and courses on technology, employment and community services
  • Children, young people and families services in your local area provide opportunities and events.
  • Resource centres where you can buy products and have access to advice, information and productdemonstrations.
  • Mobile information service
  • Vision hotels

 

Blind Children UK They offer services to families affected by sight loss.

Their services include:

  •  Family support which provides advice and information to families affected by sight loss.
  • Movement matters – a training service for children and young people including training to move around independently and living skills.
  • Education support
  • Access technology support

And a lot more!

 

Victa VICTA provides support to children and young people who are blind or partially sighted and their families.

 

RSBC Provide education, training, employment support for blind and partially sighted people.

 

Blind In Business A charity which provides IT, technology, training and resources for blind and visually impaired people.

 

Living Paintings A great charity that produces a wide selection of touch to see books for blind and visually impaired people of all ages.

 

The Amber Trust They help blind and visually impaired people reach their musical goals and reach their full potential. They provide funding for music software, equipment and lessons.

 

Guide Dogs Provide mobility and freedom for blind and visually impaired people.  They also campaign for the rights of blind and visually impaired people, educae the public and fund research.

 

Scope Fighting for disabled people to have the same opportunities as everyone else.

 

Why Not People Members club for disabled people. Hosting accessible live music gigs exclusively for members and their mates.

VI Talk Vi Talk is a registered charity that shares ideas,and  information and also provides help and support relating to all things blindness/visual impairment.

 

LOOK-UK LOOK-UK is a registered charity that provides help and support for children and families with a vision impairment. They also have a holiday flat in Scarborough, North Yorkshire for families to hire.

 

Calibre Audio Library  A national charity that provides a subscription free postal service of audio books for people with sight problems, dyslexia or other disabilities.

Infosound Providing impartial advice on living with sight loss.

 

Useful benefits of being blind or visually impaired

If you are registered as severely sight impaired or sight impaired then there are many useful benefits that you can access.

Half price travel or a free bus pass

No council tax

Half price TV licence

No VAT on certain items

discounts on days out

Blue badge

Access Card

 

Screen-readers

There are many screen-readers out there but here are the main ones. There are some paid and some free.

Paid:

Jaws

ScreenReader (previously known as Supernova)

 

Free:

NVDA

Windows Eyes

Apple VoiceOver (included in all Apple products)

 

Magnification software

I am not sure of the cost implications as I do not use this software.

Video magnifiers

Screen magnification

Magic screen magnification

Zoom text

 

 

Music software

Garage Band

This is on all Apple products, it is fully accessible for blind and visually impaired users. It allows them to write their own songs and much more.

 

Dancing Dots

This is software that you install onto your windows computer. It has similar features to garage band. It also allows users to convert printed music into braille. Unlike Garage Band which is free, Dancing Dots software is not.

 

Sibelius

This is a well-known music software that many people use that is also accessible for blind and visually impaired people.

 

Equipment

There is so much equipment out there that it is impossible to list everything but here are a few examples of very useful equipment.

Braille display

A braille display puts exactly what is on a computer, phone or tablet screen into braille on a device. It works alongside screen-readers such as Jaws, NVDA and Apple VoiceOver. Braille displays come with a Perkins style keyboard so users can either type using the computer keyboard or the braille display keyboard.

 

Braille Note-taker

A braille note taker is like a laptop but instead of it having a screen, everything is displayed in braille and also has a built in screen-reader. There are two types of braille note-takers: a Perkins-style keyboard and one with a QWERTY style keyboard.

 

ClearReader

This uses text-to-speech software to read printed documents out loud. For example, books, newspapers, magazines, letters and so much more. There are many different interpretations of these from various developers and companies.

 

RNIB PenFriend

This is a labelling tool, it allows people to create personalised audio labels of things around the home. Stick a label on a product, record an audio clip of what it is and next time you need to know, scan the pen friend on the label and it reads the audio message out loud.

 

Daisy players

This is a way of reading talking books; either on a cd or other formats.

 

OrCam OrCam is a portable  device that mounts on your glasses. It recognises text, products and faces and speaks what it sees through a mini earpiece.

 

iOS/OSX Apps

A lot of these are available on Android as well.

 

 

Apps for blind and visually impaired people:

 

Tap Tap See

This app helps blind and visually impaired people recognise objects and other things, for example tins of fruit or books. Point your iPhone camera to a tin of fruit for example, and VoiceOver will announce what it is.

 

Cam Find

This app is a low budget version of Tap Tap See.

 

Aipoly Vision

This app tells users names of objects and you can also change the setting easily to say colours. It works in real time so this is also an added bonus. It uses artificial intelligence where users can also edit the description if the app gets it wrong. The longer the description, the more helpful it is to yourself and other users.

 

KNFB Reader

This app is like a ClearReader, scan a printed document and it uses text-to-speech software to read out loud what is on the page. For example, it will read letters/menus.

 

Prizmo

This does the same thing as KNFB Reader but it is a lot cheaper. Despite the price difference it is still great.

 

Voice Dream Reader

With this app users can import word documents, pdf documents etc and it uses text-to-speech software to read them out loud.

 

Voice Dream Writer

This app helps people proofread essays and anything else, it is also great for helping people structure essays.

 

LookTel VoiceOver tutorial

An app that will teach you how to use VoiceOver.

 

LookTel Money Reader

This app identifies money, it is great for telling the difference between a £5 note or a £20 note etc.

LookTel Recognizer

An app that recognises and describes objects using speech.

 

VIA

This is a good app directory for accessible games and all kinds of apps designed for the blind and visually impaired.

 

Ariadne GPS

This is a GPS app for blind and visually impaired people. It helps you navigate places, save routes and so much more.

 

BlindSquare GPS

This is the same as Ariadne GPS, it does have some differences and some similarities. It can help you identify travel, restaurants, shops and uses Google maps/Apple maps to help you navigate to a particular place.

 

RNIB Overdrive

This was covered in the useful website section. The app is fully accessible for blind and visually impaired users.

 

Selfiex

Allows blind and visually impaired people to take selfies independently.

 

Be My Eyes

Allows blind or visually impaired people to contact sighted volunteers via live video chat for help identifying things.

With so many apps in the app store, it would be impossible for me to list every app that is accessible. Apple Vis have put together a great directory of apps specifically designed for blind and visually impaired people. Check it out here.

 

Other useful apps:

National rail

This app tells you what stops you are at and it also tells you train times.

 

The Train Line

This allows you to book tickets and is accessible with VoiceOver.

 

Bus checker

This app tells you what bus is coming next at a bus stop.

Moovit

Moovit helps you travel independently, it’ll alert you on bus times and also give you a notification when you reach your desired stop.

 

Pages (Apple’s version of Microsoft Word)

It allows you to write documents. It also comes with a range of templates, for example CV or letter templates which are really useful. This is available on all iOS devices and on Mac.

 

Kindle

It allows you to read books from Amazon’s Kindle website using VoiceOver. The app is fully accessible with VoiceOver.

 

Audible

It gives you access to Amazon’s audible website that has a huge range of audiobooks. It is also fully accessible with VoiceOver.

 

Twitter

This is a social networking website.

 

Facebook

Again, this is a social networking website. Facebook have now released a feature where images are described to blind or partially sighted people using a screen-reader.

 

Google

This is a search engine that is fully accessible.

 

Youtube

Allows people to watch and upload videos.

 

Spotify

Allows users to listen to music from just about any genre, artist or playlist.

 

WhatsApp

A great app for texting/voice messaging people.

 

Shazam

Identifies songs.

 

WordPress

Great for writing blogs and reading other people.

 

Netflix

Users can watch a huge range of TV shows and films. It also has audio description in a lot of its content which is great.

 

 

Facebook groups

There are many Facebook groups out there for blind and visually impaired people or parents/carers of children or young people living with sight loss. You can post questions and help each other out, they are quite like forums.

Here are a list of some of them:

British Blind Community

Blind and Vision Impaired Community

VI Talk

VI Talk Extra

VI Talk Travel

iPhone and iPad Apps for the Blind and Visually Impaired

JAWS screen reader users

VIP – Hair & Make-up

Playful explorations for children with visual impairment

Blind penpals

YoungRNIB

Facebook Launch New Photo Description Feature

Hi everyone,

Today I wanted to share with you something super exciting (well I got excited about it anyway) so read on to find out what it is!

 

One of the biggest features of Facebook is uploading and sharing photos but for blind and visually impaired people this can often be frustrating. It’s fine if you upload the picture yourself and actually know what it is but can be rather annoying when someone tags you in a photo or shares one with you and you have no idea what it is.

Well guess what? Facebook have now developed a photo description feature that uses artificial intelligence to describe photos to blind and visually impaired users that are using Apple’s VoiceOver on iOS. It is in its early stages, but it is expected to soon be available for android users and people using Facebook with a screen-reader on the web. For those of you that don’t know what a screen-reader is, it is software that reads what is on the screen out loud to blind and visually impaired users enabling them to be able to use a computer, phone or tablet. On apple products it is pre-installed on all of their products, it is known as VoiceOver.

Facebook call the photo description feature “Automatic alternative text” because when it detects a photo it describes it to users automatically. It recognises transport such as “train” “car” or “boat”, nature such as “flower” or “snow” and it can even recognise a selfie. For a selfie it reads “image may contain, x amount of people, selfie, close up”.

Twitter announced a similar feature last week but personally I think that there are a few downfalls with twitters photo descriptions. Firstly, users have to enable this feature, and it is hidden away in the accessibility settings within the app. The other downfall is that users have to type photo descriptions in so that they are accessible for blind and visually impaired users. Personally I don’t think that many sighted people will even think to enable this feature let alone type descriptions when tweeting a picture. It may improve over time though!

The Facebook photo descriptions do have negative aspects as well, some of the descriptions are very vague so users don’t have a clear description of what the picture is. Also, they do not read text within photos, it says “image may contain text”. I’m sure that Facebook will improve the descriptions though.

I love how both social networking websites are taking this approach to making it more inclusive and giving disabled people the same experience as everyone else. Personally I think that this is a huge step in the right direction for blind and visually impaired people and I would love to see other social networking websites adopting the same or a similar approach.

 

I hope you found this post useful if you didn’t know about the photo description feature! I would love requests on topics you’d like me to cover, please do send me your suggestions, you’re the readers after all!

Hol x