The most common memory I have of my father is seeing him hold his old Nokia 3210 cellphone as close as he can to his face. Whenever I asked him why he does that, he would proceed to call me and ask me to read the messages on the phone. He said the letters on the screen and the keypad are too small for him, so he would ask for me or my mom's help in reading his messages.
Nowadays, even with today's technology, with most screens on smartphones getting larger and larger, I still see my father hold his iPhone so close to his face. My father is considered legally blind by law, the type of legal blindness where his eyes could not see better than 20/200 even when wearing glasses.
Legal blindness is defined by law as a level of visual impairment that limits a person's allowed activities (such as driving) for safety reasons. The U.S. Social Security Administration defines legal blindness as:
In this age of technology where everything can be seen or read in the palms of your hands, the hardships experienced legally blind people had dramatically increased. However, we have an app in our hands that is sure to alleviate some of the hardships.
Legally blind people often experience problems seeing the keys on the small, standard keyboards on their smartphones. In this world dominated by the handheld technology, there had been several apps create on the market that assist sight-disabled persons like the app that allows a blind person to contact a helper to read the words for them. This, however, can prove useless on places where internet connection is either insufficient or non-existent. Accessing those apps also proves to be a challenge if you can't even press the right keys for it. Situations such as these are the driving force behind the creation of this app: Big Keys - by Hassan Hattab.
This application was made with the intent of making life easier. It caters to several hosts: people with large fingers, those who simply prefer ease-of-access when typing on their phones, and to those who have poor eyesight. The keys on this app are highly customizable. Depending on your need, you can either increase or decrease the size of the keys. The keys can be magnified up to three times its original size, yet the app makes sure that all of the keys are still within the width of the screen.
The keyboard also features a numeric keyboard, the same type of keyboard that was in use before the QWERTY keyboard became prevalent. It is definitely easier for a legally blind person to use the numeric keypad offered by this app, since you would only need to look at 10 keys and if you are already used to the touch of the old keypad phones, then your hand would already know by memory which keys contains each letter.
The color of the keys and its background can also be changed depending on your preferences. This is a really useful feature since you can increase the visibility of the keypad depending on the color of each key and on the background color.
There are also several prebuilt themes that are made with the intent of making your keyboard typing experience better as well.
Technology exists to lessen the burden that people encounter on a daily basis. I believe that this app will truly help those people who have vision disabilities.