ViA: Why Reinvent the Wheel?
Submitted by Michael Hansen on Sunday, July 22, 2012.
The Braille Institute recently released a new app, ViA (Visually Impaired Apps), that lists other apps developed specifically for people who are blind or visually impaired. Even before I finished reading the app's AppleVis entry (http://www.applevis.com/ios-app-directory/education/braille-institute), I thought to myself, "Why are they reinventing the wheel?" The blind community already has mailing lists, podcasts, and--of course--AppleVis. Do we really need an app to help us sort through other apps? In almost all circumstances, I think not. The one exception is for people who are new to the iPhone and not familiar with the resources available. For new users unfamiliar with the vast number of web resources available to them or withinternet navigation in general, having an app to help them get up and running could be useful. Beyond those new to the iPhone, though, I don't see this app being of much use--certainly not a "a game changer" as one iTunes reviewer put it. There are already mailing lists and websites devoted to iPhone accessibility, and this app just seems like a reinvention of the wheel. I don't know what the Braille Institute expected, and for all I know, I could be totally misjudging this one. Time will tell, I suppose.