The rise of mobile phones and tablets has created an enormous shift in the way we approach universal accessibility. Users with disabilities no longer have to rely on high-priced specialty equipment to navigate and function in the world. Mobile devices provide low-cost alternatives that often adapt faster to accessibility needs. Apps like Ariadne make it possible for blind users and those with vision impairments to learn more about their surroundings, navigate to locations, and explore with auditory cues. Ariadne GPS is so innovative, that it has received recognition in one of Apple’s WWDC Keynote presentations.
Your Immediate Area
The Ariadne interface is intended to be used with little to no sight. Tapping and swiping gestures allow users to scroll through and select the features they wish to use. You can trigger the “Where Am I?” feature, which gives you an audio run down of your current address, along with nearby landmarks and their coordinates. You can customize Ariadne to give you location updates periodically or after you manually request location information. In order to decrease redundancy, the app will only tell you about the details that have changed (such as streets), rather than reciting your address constantly.
Ariadne users can instruct the app to remember certain locations as “Favorites,” so that you can quickly select common destinations and receive directions without the need for manual address input. As you get closer to your destination Ariadne continually informs you of how close you are to a favorite location. This can be immensely useful while walking or while on public transportation, since the app’s vocal system chimes out the miles or kilometers until you reach your destination. This distance countdown can be immensely useful if you are worried about missing your bus stop.
One of the most exciting aspects to the Favorites tool is that these locations can be shared with other Ariadne users. Once the location is selected, you can compose an email with an Ariadne GPS attachment, which will open on your recipient’s mobile phone. This enables users to quickly share location information for upcoming meetings.
The Ariadne app even works when you don’t have a particular destination in mind. The map exploration feature provides verbal descriptions as a user moves their finger across a map. Users can zoom in to get a fine understanding of their surroundings, or zoom out and hear about the general layout of a town or city. These descriptions include compass and angle information, to help you navigate toward points of interest.
You can customize the audio and kinetic feedback of Ariadne as you move through the world. For example, you can set phone vibrations once you reach favorite locations or travel within a certain distance from these landmarks. Alerts can be fleeting or persistent – it’s all up to you. Sound alerts can also be customized, so that you’re able to hear specific sound effects denoting your arrival at certain locations.
Ariadne GPS puts sophisticated navigation technology into the pockets of blind and visually impaired users. It is just one example of many accessibility apps that are extremely versatile and affordable. Mobile devices are quickly opening assistive technology options for users with disabilities.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00QW4I5PK,B00QKTDDN6,B00QKT7LSO]