Text messaging becomes reality for the blind
Text messaging has become a key part of most people’s lives in the UK over the past ten years. It’s estimated that 85% of the British population own a mobile phone, with a staggering 11 million text messages sent every hour*.
It’s great news for helping the average person keep in touch with their friends and family – but less so for the more than two million blind and visually impaired people in the UK**, for whom text messaging on a mobile phone can be difficult or impossible.
Whilst many other developments have been made in society in terms of technology for the blind and visually impaired population to help them go about their daily lives with ease, text messaging hasn’t been one of these. In contrast, as more and more people take to communicating by text rather than by phone calls, it can lead to the visually impaired becoming alienated from their text-messaging social circle.
However, good news is at hand – text messaging is no longer restricted to small and fiddly mobile phone keypads and screens. Technology for the blind by companies such as TextMagic (textmagic.com) means that communicating by text message has been made simple and easy to perform on a PC, MAC or laptop – which opens up the world of text messaging to those new areas of society.
The services offered by TextMagic, which includes a simple to use web-based application called TextMagic Online and Email to SMS software which assist users to easily send and receive online text messages from their email account, mean that this technology for the blind and visually impaired helps them to easily send and receive text messages to mobile phones anywhere in the world, in any of eleven different languages.
Visually impaired users currently using the TextMagic online text messaging service have heaped praise upon the applications and how they have helped them to communicate with family and friends. C. Landsdown, a TextMagic customer, required assistive technology for the blind and had always found it difficult to use mobile phones. In his experience, companies and manufacturers often make phones suitable for the deaf but not for the blind or dexterously impaired. He currently uses TextMagic’s PC and web-based programmes, using his magnification software to send and receive messages with ease.
It’s not just the blind and visually impaired population who struggle with text messaging on a mobile phone – there are many others who suffer with impairments or paralysation who have found more accessible software such as TextMagic a huge boon to their daily lives. Many people who have suffered strokes or other paralysis are unable to use mobile phones, but with small modifications can use computer keyboards – meaning that using the TextMagic technology for the blind, keeping in touch by text messaging is now within their reach.
TextMagic firmly believes that their software has an important place in making popular technology accessible to the wider population, particularly those who via illness or disability find mobile phones difficult to use. Their services are reliable and affordable and have the benefit of not being reliant on mobile phone signals – meaning that TextMagic is invaluable for sending urgent or critical messages, which can be a lifeline for those who are reliant upon others for assisting with their daily needs.
For more information about the simple to use TextMagic online text messaging applications and how this technology for the blind and visually impaired can help change lives, visit textmagic.com. Visitors to the website can sample how easy it is to use by sending a test message before signing up. There’s no contract commitment, for TextMagic operates a ‘pay as you go’ system, with a purchase of 200 credits for 250 SMS text messages within the UK costing just £19.99 – that’s less than 8 pence per text message.
* Mobile Data Association, January 2010
** Data from Wireless for the Blind Fund