Be My Eyes

Last modified
Tuesday, June 9, 2020
Category

Description of App

Need a pair of sharp eyes? Or have some sight to lend? Be My Eyes is a simple, free tool to see the world better, together.

Be My Eyes connects you with a global community of volunteers and company representatives who are ready at a moment’s notice to help you see – to lend their eyesight and support with everyday tasks.

FREE. GLOBAL. 24/7.

Be My Eyes is a multi-lingual support community millions strong, available globally day or night, and has volunteers answering calls in more than 185 languages. Join the community today!

Sign up to get free visual support with tasks like reading small print, matching clothes, troubleshooting technology, setting up home appliances, or any other simple task a volunteer can complete over live video. If a task is too complicated or requires expertise, call one of our company partners for on-demand video customer support via Specialized Help.

If you have eyesight you want to share, sign up as a volunteer and answer calls from a person in need! Tasks are usually completed in just a few minutes, and if you’re busy there’s no need to answer – someone else will get it.

HOW IT WORKS:

1. Anyone 17 or older may sign up as a user or volunteer.

2. Calls are connected based on daytime timezone and language. Average wait time is about 15 seconds.

3. When a call is answered, a live one-way video (two-way audio) is initiated, allowing volunteers or company reps to see what’s in front of the user’s camera and provide verbal support.

Note: Specialized Help availability varies by region and company opening hours.

WHAT CAN VOLUNTEERS HELP YOU WITH?

• Reading home appliances

• Reading product labels

• Matching outfits and identifying clothes

• Help in the kitchen

• Reading digital displays or computer screens

• Navigating TV or game menus

• Operating vending machines or kiosks

• Sorting music collections or other libraries

• Picking jewelry or crafts

WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH SPECIALIZED HELP?

• Web and Computer Technology

• Health and Beauty Products

• Banking and Finance

• Nonprofit Organizations

• More

WHAT’S NEW:

• We’ve just reached 3 million volunteers! Thank you for making Be My Eyes the biggest community support micro-volunteering platform ever.

SELECTED AWARDS:

• 2020 Dubai Expo Global Innovator.

• 2018 Winner of the Dr. Jacob Bolotin Awards at the NFB National Convention.

• 2018 Winner of AbilityNet Accessibility Award at the Tech4Good Awards.

• 2017 Winner of World Summit Awards - Inclusion and Empowerment.

Version

3.3

Free or Paid

Free

Apple Watch Support

No

Device(s) App Was Tested On

iPhone

iOS Version

13.5.1

Accessibility Comments

Very simple to use. Connected to somebody after about 60 seconds, and they were able to answer my question about something in my food larder.

So, essentially, this works as advertised (smiles)

VoiceOver Performance

VoiceOver reads all page elements.

Button Labeling

All buttons are clearly labeled.

Usability

The app is fully accessible with VoiceOver and is easy to navigate and use.

Developer's Twitter Username

@BeMyEyes

Recommendations

16 people have recommended this app

Most recently recommended by JLove 9 months 3 weeks ago

Options

Comments

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Thursday, January 15, 2015

I think the description shoudl be amended slightly from

As a sighted user you don't need to worry about missing a call and 'leave a blind person hanging' - you are a part of the bigger Be My Eyes helper-network and we will find the next available sighted person in the network. The challenges that the blind person needs help with can be anything from knowing the expiry date on the milk to getting help crossing the street.

to the following

As a sighted user you don't need to worry about missing a call and 'leave a blind person hanging' - you are a part of the bigger Be My Eyes helper-network and we will find the next available sighted person in the network. The challenges that the blind person needs help with can be anything from knowing the expiry date on the milk and more. Note do not use this app to get help crossing a street. Your life can be at wrist if this action is attempted. Use good mobility skills.

Just my thoughts. is there a way you can submit this change to the dev for the itunes description? I'm worried that many of us that don't or will not get mobility will be seriously hurt. This is a bad oversite on the devs part.

Submitted by Jessica Brown on Thursday, January 15, 2015

I wanted a can of apple juice. So I grabbed a can out of the fridge and connected to be my eyes. I waited for about 5 minutes then hung up thinking it was over loaded from everyone trying to try it out all at the same time. I ended up drinking root beer instead. But that's ok. I like it as well. What I am worried about is after I disconnected and pressed the home button to get back to the home screen, VoiceOver sounded muffled and to fix it I had to go into the app switcher and close be my eyes. Once I did that, VoiceOver was its old self again.

Submitted by Michael on Thursday, January 15, 2015

I thought the same thing when I first read that statement on their website. I totally agreed with the comment left here about using the app to help one cross the street. I was so concerned that I sent an email to the developers, who immediately got back to me via email and changed the statement on their website.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Thursday, January 15, 2015

In reply to by Jessica Brown

What you just experienced is voice over failing to switch profiles. It was using what I think is called the phone profile. It sounds horable. Good luck and hope your next attempt is better.

That's good, but the description on iTunes needs to be changed to reflect that, something like what I said in the comment I posted.

Submitted by Michael on Thursday, January 15, 2015

Yes, the iTunes description should be changed as well. I will let them know, and hopefully their response will be as quick.

Submitted by Mr Potato Head on Thursday, January 15, 2015

Interesting to see that in the 12 hours since I installed this app, the number of sighted volunteers it reports as being registered has risen from 1900 to 4600.

Part of me is thrilled to see so many people getting involved. However, there’s another part which is concerned that this suggests that there is no checking of volunteers being carried out. If true, I would be worried that it won’t be too long before we start hearing of some bad experiences from people using the app.

Here’s hoping that I am wrong. Or, even better, that some form of checks are carried out before volunteers are able to receive questions. Does anybody know if this is the case?

Submitted by Darrell Shandr… on Thursday, January 15, 2015

Let's keep in mind this is a free app operated by a nonprofit organization. They probably don't have the bandwidth to check volunteers. Having said that, my understanding is that there is a way to rate blind people and volunteers so, presumably, those ratings impact things somehow?

Submitted by dezzi on Thursday, January 15, 2015

I just tried the be your eyes app for the first time today, and I'm really impressed with it. I was able to tell the difference between two containers which feel the same, and the person was really great about detail.

Submitted by Usman on Thursday, January 15, 2015

I've already had bad experience on my first attempt at using this app.
I wanted to know the name of the medication bottle. I knew what it was, but did it to test the person. As it turned out, the person gave me the wrong information. I was told that I held a bottle of vitamin c tablets. The bottle actually contained aspirin. Looks like I will not be using this service in an important situation.

Submitted by Darrell Shandr… on Thursday, January 15, 2015

In reply to by Usman

There are bound to be kinks as many new blind users crowd into the system. Please be sure to report all issues you find. Misidentification of medication is rather serious. Yikes!

Submitted by alex wallis on Thursday, January 15, 2015

getting medication wrong is quite serious,
but also remember one issue with this app it is rather dependent on what the camera focuses in on,
so perhaps it wasn't pointed properly at the actual label so the person had a guess based on looking at the actual bottle.
Just out of curiosity to the person who had the medication identified wrongly have you tried doing the same experiment with tap tap see to see what happens?
personally I think for important stuff like that I would resort to knfb reader or if that didn't work talking goggles to try to read the bottle first.

Submitted by Usman on Thursday, January 15, 2015

Yes, the camera was focused properly on the bottle's label. I even made sure with the person that it was lined up properly so she can see it and be sure as to what the label is. Needless to say, I was disappointed.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Thursday, January 15, 2015

Hmm. Did you report the issue and say the problem is not listed, then type the happenings in to the box? I'm sure if they get enough of those they will either get a talking to, or quit.

Submitted by Usman on Thursday, January 15, 2015

I reported it. Only time will tell if more such problems occur.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Friday, January 16, 2015

Well that's a start AGain mixing up meds is not cool and you did have the camera right. I'm a nitpick with that stuff as well.

Submitted by Darrell Shandr… on Friday, January 16, 2015

I have noticed that it can take well north of 10 minutes to get help, despite there being reportedly more than 12 thousand volunteers. This morning, the Be My Eyes team announced they are performing server upgrades. Let's see if that helps. I have high hopes for Be My Eyes!

Submitted by Elena Brescacin on Friday, January 16, 2015

Hello, here in my office I have an automated distributor. Those machines which have coins or a prepaid key where to buy snacks and drinks.
The issue is that "coke man", the guy who fills in the machines when they are empty, always changes the positions of things to buy.
So, what's on number 11 a first time, a second time may result in 22 position
and, you cannot see the remaining credit on your prepaid key as it's on a screen.
Well, Be my eyes app, helped me and I managed to have credit read; I did not try to make me help for reading the snacks in the numbers on the food's machine, as there are too few Italian volunteers and I'd never had asked help in a context full of Italian words, to a person who cannot speak the language. It creates difficulty to who should give me a help.
Today evening I think I am going to ask help for my computer which does not start, the old windows machine.
But, there is a but: I have the same doubts many people have here. What happens to people who tell wrong info or abuses of the service?
There is not a check on volunteer's honesty. It's true it's a free app for now, but, this must not be a reason to forget misuse. I use a service, I want that service to work, it's not because it's free so let's forgive whoever gives me a wrong information! And, from the blind users' side, we must be polite too!
it would not be nice if, for example, a blind person profits of Be my eyes for telling the volunteer, such as Please stay here to watch this film with me as it is not audio described!
Or, if a girl has her period, call them and say, please look if my underwear is dirty!
Or, worse, asking for help but not saying Thank you if the help has been useful, not to give a positive rate, or so. Politeness is the most important ingredient for making such a service work.
It has all pros and cons of a human-driven service, so, by our part we are humans and we can help make it better for what we can do; so, both blinds and helpers, must help each other to improve the service.
I also hope this will be extended to other platforms in future, as, especially for sighted people, having it on a droid device or even a smart tv, could be a better resource.

Submitted by Darrell Shandr… on Friday, January 16, 2015

It would appear the Be My Eyes team has completed their server upgrades. The app appears to be back online. Has anyone confirmed this and have wait times decreased?

Submitted by Darrell Shandr… on Friday, January 16, 2015

Used Be My Eyes over lunch and got help in about a minute! Wow! Awesome! Anyone else noticing improved responsiveness?

Submitted by Darrell Shandr… on Friday, January 16, 2015

I have discovered that, in order for the volunteer to see the video from the phone's camera, the Be My Eyes app must actually be in the foreground on the screen. If Be My Eyes is in the background, the volunteer will hear audio but will see nothing.

Submitted by Nolly on Saturday, January 17, 2015

I don't think it was mentioned in the podcast, but also be mindful of what is in the background. I generally use the same place if possible when taking pictures or videos of things I need help identifying. I'm sure many of us remember the photo a girl took of herself in a mirror with a toilet in the background. It probably still haunts her even now and I would hate for that to happen to anyone else.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Saturday, January 17, 2015

if one uses commen sence, this would not happen. I've taken over 500 pictures and all of them turned out ok in my day. My video is horable, but that will improve over time. I just have good special awareness that is improving.

Submitted by charles on Saturday, January 17, 2015

In reply to by Mr Potato Head

If you worry about what might happen, and it does not happen, you worried over nothing. If you worry about what might happen, and it happens, you worry about it both before and after it happened, so you worried twice. In short, don't worry about it. Doing so is pointless.

I wish all these people would remember that the app hasn't even been out for a week. Why do you think, already, that it won't last? You and others have got to, at least at first, focus on the good rather than the bad or, even worse, the bad that may come down the pipe in the future with nothing to go on. Report both the good and the bad using the report button. This will give feedback to the app developers which wil improve what needs to be fixed.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Saturday, January 17, 2015

I my self am the devel's advocate so I present the big picture and look at something through hall sides. This helps me see if the app will be an advantage to me, or for me, or not. In this case not as I have a lot of sighted help around. Plus Iv'e seen things like this start out good, then end crashing and burning.

Hope you enjoy the podcast I have up, even though it's not my voice. Lol!

Blessings and happy Friday

Submitted by alex wallis on Saturday, January 17, 2015

Hi, I listened to a podcast about the app, where the report dialogue was explored.
The report dialogue only has options I think for reporting abuse unless you use the reason isn't listed option.
I don't think there is any point reporting good experiences with individual helpers, I mean it will tell the developer that someone has been helped but apart from that is it useful to report good experiences?
another thought occurred to me with the podcast I listened to, the report dialogue didn't seem to have a cancel button, it had all these various reasons for reporting problems and a skip button, I wonder if tapping the skip button submits the report rather than cancelling out of the dialogue.
I read somewhere on one of the blog entries someone expressing an idea that maybe the blind users phone number will be transmitted to the volunteer I don't think this is the case, because the phone app isn't used to connect you to the volunteer all communication is handled through the be my eyes app, so I presume that just as for us the sighted helper information is anonymous we are also anonymous unless of course we decide to share personal information over a call, because remember once we disconnect from a helper you can't contact them again unless its buy total chance. Personally I wouldn't share personal information like phone numbers and such,
though I suppose maybe in the future it might be good if you could add particularly helpful people to a favourites list.
I think this app is useful for people who don't have ready access to sighted friends or family over face time, I could see it being useful for me if I need errors or menus reading on my computer screen as my family can sometimes get impatient when I ask for that sort of stuff to be read.

Submitted by Luca on Saturday, January 17, 2015

Had a quite good experience.
I tried to identify a package of meat, at first the person told me it was backon, i knew it was similar but not bacon, so i asked to read the italian writing.. and it correctly identified salame. So it is working very well, but you must be carefull and guide the other person...

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Saturday, January 17, 2015

I assume skip does maybe submit a report but I guess you just hit done. I can't Remember what Darron did to get out. I did listen but I did not keep it in my permanent memmory. Lol! As for yoru email address, that's a bit odd as it really is not needed. Even Darron was a bit surprised by this.

Submitted by Siobhan on Saturday, January 17, 2015

If you think about it, it makes sense, if you want to report the abuse, you can say so and so didn't help, then they can contact you for further explanation. Plus with the free email accounts out the wazoo, you can probably give them a crappy one anyway. I listened to the podcast, but have no use for this app.

Submitted by alex wallis on Saturday, January 17, 2015

I haven't actually used the app myself, I have it on my phone just in case, but I prefer the more anonymous idea of using tap tap see or knfb reader first, the idea of using an app to call up some totally random person who I don't know just feels a bit strange to me, though I would use it if other methods failed to work or I needed something extremely specific.
and darron did press the skip button, and at the time I felt sort of bad in case the guy he delt with got reported.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Saturday, January 17, 2015

I don't think he did, I hope not. and if he did he can maybe just explain what happened and that actually the helper actually did a good job. That pez reaction was priceless.

Submitted by Claus on Sunday, January 18, 2015

In reply to by KE7ZUM

Hi,

Be my eyes has been used in Denmark for some months, so the system is not as new as some of you might think. Development has taken more time, and more resources than I think was thought from the beginning, but the app is here and works internationally.
I am sure the organisation is aware of the cost associated with keeping the system running, and I am also sure that keeping it free is an important goal. I believe that funding may be easier with an app to show to funders. My organisation have funded Be My Eyes, , and we would consider doing it again if necessary.

Submitted by Darrell Shandr… on Monday, January 19, 2015

Let's all do everything we can to help make Be My Eyes work. It is an amazing app that is already working better and better, and has huge potential to improve our lives even more.

Submitted by Lynne Adema on Tuesday, January 20, 2015

In reply to by Jessica Brown

Yes, I had the same experience with VoiceOver. I had to go to the app switcher and close it to get VoiceOver sounding right again. I also got someone who didn't speak English so the app didn't work well for me at all. We probably need more volunteers.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Maybe in your settings you can include a language thing, or when you get help you can say to only have an english speaker this way you can use the app more comfortably. Thoughts? This can apply to any language btw I'm just using english as that's all I speak.

Submitted by Lynne Adema on Tuesday, January 20, 2015

In reply to by Usman

I understand your problem and there are some things which might not be safe to use this app for. It's harmless to drink a diet coke instead of a diet rootbeer but asking to verify pills could be risky. I wouldn't be too hasty though, the app has good potential.

Submitted by red.devil7 on Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Hey guys.
So I tried to register but its not working. the following message comes up
Registering …
Indeterminate Progress

and then it says your account cannot be created, please check your internet? anyone else had the same issue?

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I know they were working on some server things yesterday, maybe keep trying I guess. ¬

good luck.

Submitted by Santiago on Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Hello,
I just heard that their server is back up, so everything should be working as expected.

Submitted by Darrell Shandr… on Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I think I would use Be My Eyes for identifying medication. I would just be sure to get a second opinion from a second volunteer. I think it would depend on the situation. Certainly, using Be My Eyes is better than getting no help at all, especially if a second opinion is sought. Sadly, no help at all is too often the case when we live on our own with no sighted help available.

Submitted by Darrell Shandr… on Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I would like to see a greater American presence of volunteers on Be My Eyes.

There is often a language barrier. The app has a language setting. Presumably, shouldn't that serve to reduce the language barriers by selecting volunteers appropriate to the language the person understands?

The donation page appears to be in Danish without any way to change its language.

I think it would be a good idea to recruit for volunteers on VolunteerMatch.org.

I have sent emails to the Be My Eyes folks asking about these things and more, but have yet to get a single response. I presume they are just very busy, and I am hoping for responses soon.

I believe there are drawbacks, both attitudinal and practical, to using apps like this.

Since Applevis isn't a debating society, I'll leave it at that.

Submitted by Usman on Tuesday, January 20, 2015

So my second attempt at using this service resulted in getting someone who can't speak a word of english. so, as of now, I am very disappointed by this service. But It is what I expected and knew it was too good to be true which is often the case.

Submitted by Toonhead on Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I think to say the app is too good to be true is a tad harsh. Yes, the lack of an American presence is an issue, and presumably you would think that the issue of non-English speakers could be worked out. I would write to the be my eyes folks and just tell them about your experience. Maybe in an app update they could set it so the only people who answer would be English speakers, lowering the frustration factor. In other words, if you set your default language to be English, the only people who could respond would be people who speak the same language. That just makes logical sense to me.

Submitted by Darrell Shandr… on Tuesday, January 20, 2015

In reply to by Mike Freeman

Mike,

It's about interdependence here, and using an app like Be My Eyes does not, in any way, go against NFB philosophy. There's an irony here, my friend, which I shall fail to bring to light. :-)

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