What would people want from a mobile web browser developed specifically for the visually-impaired?

App Development

Hello Everyone,

I am a Visually-Impaired Mobile Software Developer.

I suffer from severe ocular migraines that temporarily leave me completely blind.

My partner is also VI and she uses voice commands and screen readers to use her laptop and phone. Our experience is that screen readers still read out more information that needed and it takes too long to get the right information. I know that there are countless difficulties that others have and want help to identify them.

What I am trying to do is design a free mobile application that adapts websites for the visually-impaired. I want to make it for phone and tablets because of the hardware (microphone, speakers, camera).

I have looked at what already exists and I want to improve on existing technologies. I don't want to make assumptions of what is needed.

I would appreciate it if any members on this forum could share some insight on what they feel we need from a dedicated VI Mobile Browser.

Thanks in advance.


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Submitted by Tree on Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The only feature I can think of would really work better on the desktop.

I would love to have a browser that could offer true accessibility to tagged pdfs. There is currently no proper pdf app on the mac, and it is therefore impossible to efficiently access pdf features such as headings, alt text, form fields etc. I think that a web bowser could provide this kind of access; The Icab desktop browser, for example, is a better pdf reader on the mac then preview, but it is still not acceptable.

Until we get a proper pdf app on the mac we as blind people have to use windows to do countless important things, like filling out our taxes.

Submitted by OldBear on Wednesday, May 11, 2016

That PDF idea is good; I recently decided to hold off on buying a Mac partly because of it.
I use the heading navigation on the Voiceover rotor more than any other element on web pages; I'm totally blind.
If you could cook up a way to fool VoiceOver into navigating by specific, adjustable heading levels in a browser that would be useful.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Wednesday, May 11, 2016

I already think quicknav can do this in safari. At least I can do that on osx. Not sure about ios as I don't often brows on ios.

Submitted by OldBear on Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Yes, with a bluetooth keyboard, IOS Safari can move by heading 1-6.
I was thinking about the flick up and down on my iPhone when I posted, but left that out. Sorry.
Maybe it wouldn't work out too well, but I was thinking along the line of how Firefox plugins can filter out or even change html elements on web pages when it loads them. More adjustable on the fly, though.

Submitted by Ekaj on Thursday, May 12, 2016

First off let me say that I only have a MacBook Air, at least for the time being. But I love this idea. The .pdf suggestion is a good one indeed. A suggestion I have is a fully accessible video player. The American Foundation for the Blind recently came out with an HTML5 player, but it hasn't yet been widely implemented at all. At least not that I've seen. Their player includes controls which are fully keyboard-accessible and I'm pretty sure it also includes captioning. Someone please feel free to correct me if I'm mistaken, but I think all the other options out there are loaded with extra features and come with a price tag. YouTube's player is sort of accessible in my books but it could stand some improvement. I don't know how exactly captioning works since I don't need it, but audio description would be very welcome too. Best of luck with future plans.

Submitted by Dalia on Thursday, May 12, 2016

There’s only one thing on my wishlist right now, and that’s a means of solving graphical CAPTCHAs.

Submitted by Jake on Thursday, May 12, 2016

What I want from such a thing? Nothing! These special apps for blind people serve no purpose save to isolate us, and prove that we are unable to use mainstream tools. Drop the idea, I'd say, and concentrate on other areas.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Thursday, May 12, 2016

In reply to by Dalia

Captcha solving already exists with rumolla. I use the google chrome extension as the safari one disappeared for some reason, but it really rocks. It might work on the chrome browser.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Thursday, May 12, 2016

In reply to by Jake

I actually agree. If we can find a way to implement such technologies into the main stream browsers it woudl serve as an education for the sighted population in that we don't need for example phones that say the number sas you push them (except the iphone of corse) but yeah. Even that has voicoever in mainstream technology. Pretty neat eh?

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Thursday, May 12, 2016

In reply to by Jake

I actually agree.I mean, apple have done a good job wiht mainstream technology so why can't we impmement all of this in let's say safari or chrome via extensions. Or build it right in, or ask the devs to anyway.

Submitted by The podcast junky on Thursday, May 12, 2016

A few days ago, I was signing in to my e-mail account in safari. Durring this process, there were captchas. My iPad told me to enter the characters that I see, so I got sighted assistance.
Captcha solving would be nice, especially if it was free.

Submitted by Oriol Gomez on Thursday, May 12, 2016

It's simple, we don't want it developed. We need inclusion, we already have safari, we have chrome, we have firefox. If you start using a blink browser with captcha support, spammers are going to start using it to solve captchas because it would be one of the only solutions on mobile that solve captchas and websites would start blocking it. Back to safari we go.

So tis simple. Don't develop a blink browser or, at the very! least, don't add captcha solving support.

Submitted by Tree on Thursday, May 12, 2016

I agree with the people who have pointed out that mainstream browsers are the way to go; thats why I suggested the pdf idea.

To be honest the web is the most accessible arena for us; of course, there are accessibility issues with browsers, but there are much bigger issues to tackle, and most accessibility issues are with specific web sights, not browsers.

I use mainstream solutions as much as possible, although sometimes assistive tech has it's place. For example, mainstream pdf options have failed us on every platform but windows.

Submitted by Justin Cann on Sunday, May 15, 2016

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for your feedback.

You have given me a lot of think about.

Considering our ability to use plug-ins to add features to mainstream browsers, both desktop and iOS, what do you feel are the key areas of improvement for us?


Submitted by KE7ZUM on Sunday, May 15, 2016

If we could work and build a pdf plugin that can render properly tagged pdfs in safari and chrome for osx and ios, that would be a good steping off place in my opinion. We already have rmolla for osx and chrome, not sure about ios.

hope that helps a bit.

Submitted by Ekaj on Sunday, June 12, 2016

I have to agree with those of you who say mainstream web browsers are the way to go these days for the most part. Accessibility has come a long way, and although I haven't used every web browser on the market today I'd have to agree with those who assert that it's a good time to be blind. Having said all that, I think a free CAPTCHA-solving thing would be awesome. I've read about WebVisum, but that is only available for Firefox and not all of us use that browser. So I guess what I'm saying is that I can see the plus side of both of these: having a browser specifically designed for those of us who use assistive technology and the mainstream solutions already out there.