Extra Cost for Blindness Apps: Reasonable or Not?
Within the last couple of years, many apps have entered the market specifically for iPhone users who are blind. They range from color identifiers, to VoiceOver-specific Facebook clients, to touch-typing apps…and everything in-between. Some people think a higher price tag for blindness-specific apps is reasonable, others do not. The answer, I think, lies somewhere in the middle.
As many AppleVis users have pointed out in various discussion threads, many assistive products are very expensive — sometimes prohibitively so. While the manufacturers of such products may insist they are keeping their prices as low as possible, many blind people beg to differ. I myself recently heard the estimated price of a new note taker to be released in the near future and thought, “Seriously?”
Most of the blindness-specific apps I have come across are priced reasonably. Are there some apps out there that I think are overpriced? You bet. Just as I think there are other assistive technology products that are much more expensive than they need be. But, to an extent, an app that doesn’t meet your needs will naturally seem overpriced when compared to an app that you use every day.
Does that mean that it should be okay for developers to overcharge for apps just because they know people will buy them? Of course not. However, the unfortunate reality about many (if not all) of these apps developed specifically for people who are blind is that they won’t be bestsellers on iTunes—or even come close—because there is such a low demand in the grand scheme of things.
In the end, it comes back to what is important to you. And what is important to one person will not be to another. And that is as it should be.
I like the idea of a seal of approval. That way, people would know prior to even downloading the app whether or not it is accessible. I suppose a developer could lie about this, but I think that would need to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Regarding pricing of these things, I definitely agree that some of these costs, or a lot of them, need to be reduced. Some of the Windows-based screen readers certainly come to mind here. But there are some apps which I believe are reasonably priced. Granted I've not yet used most of them, since I am still rather new to the Mac. But one example of this is Battery Monitor, which I purchased and installed earlier this year. It does exactly what the developer claims it will do, and works great.