Launch of new Mobile @Vodacom Kiosk for the blind and visually impaired at @CouncilForBlind

In partnership with Vodacom, the South African National Council for the Blind (SANCB) officially launched a mobile service kiosk at their Pretoria offices yesterday (Wednesday 8 June), bringing mobile communication closer to visually impaired people.

These days, smartphones come with built-in accessibility features on both Android and iOS platforms enabling people with various disabilities to also have access to the amazing world of independence and the internet.

The kiosk will provide step-by-step guidance and serve as an information hub and one stop shop for blind and visually impaired people who are interested in accessible phones.

For more information, please contact the SANCB on 012-452-3811.

Call+ – not accessible to blind users on Android

What is Call+?

Call+ is an app with in-app purchases but, essentially you can make phone calls to regular phones to a number of countries absolutely free.


There are versions for both iOS and Android.


I downloaded the app from the Android Playstore and installed it on an LG G2 running Android v4.4, KitKat with the Talkback beta installed.


The installation of Call+ took a few seconds on my 3g connection.


Upon opening the app, I was asked to enter my own phone number to
initiate the app.


The list of countries was easy to navigate and I managed to select South
Africa reasonably quick.

It would be nice if I could just type in the first few letters but, hey,
I only have to do this once so, no big deal.


After I have selected South Africa, I entered the rest of my phone
number in the edit field just below.

And a little further down, there was a start button with terms and
conditions just underneath that.


I double tapped on the start button to continue and was asked to confirm
if my number is such and such.


Here I was given two options.  I could edit my number by double tapping
the edit button or the ok button if I was satisfied and yes, my number
was entered correctly so, I decided to proceed.


When I double tapped ok, I was told that an sms was sent to my number.


This sms contained a 6 digit code that I then entered into the provided
edit field.


On this screen, you are also able to request for the system to phone you
instead with a code.  By proceeding, you also acknowledge that you agree
with the terms and conditions.


Upon completing the entry, it just jumped to the next screen without


Everything on this screen was 100% inaccessible.


The app on Android is useless from this point on.

How developers can make such mistakes is beyond me.

It is almost as if they are doing this intentionally.


I contacted the developer so, let’s see what kind of response I’ll be getting from them.

Web site and download

Visit the Call+ web site at

You can download Call+ from the Android Playstore or from Apple’s Appstore.

Sony Xperia S accessibility review

By Calvin Botha


Sony Xperia S accessibility review
Hi to you, dear reader! Thought I’d shoot through a
quick review of my experiences with my first android device and how accessible it is for those of us whose eyes don’t feel like working:).


the Sony Xperia s lt26I sports 32GB of internal memory, a 4.3″ HD Reality Display which, although quite large in phone terms, is extremely comfortable to use and, with the latest official updates, runs android 4.12.


In a word, jumping from good old symbian to android is akin to falling in love. OK, maybe a little dramatic, but you get the idea:).  The interface is snappy, the touch screen feels more interactive and the customization that is possible is staggering.


If you were as fearful as I was getting a touch screen device, android will put it to bed.


Dialing on my Nokia 701’s touch screen was always such a mission, but now, with the explore by touch feature (where you drag your finger across the screen and tap on the item you’d like), with the number pad taking up the entire screen, (feeling more like an old phone with physical buttons)), dialing is a breeze.


There were however 2 gripes. These were typing on the main keyboard and answering calls.


The built in xperia keyboard was totally unusable with talkback.

Fortunately, a few tests of the multitude of keyboard apps on the play store later, and I found swipe, created by nuance, the same company responsible for Talks.  Now I can qwerty type away!


Answering calls is for some reason also not supported on my device with talkback. It was quite frustrating tapping and swiping around as my device continued ringing. Fortunately, thanks to an app called easy answer, I now need simply lift the phone to my ear to answer it.


That summarizes my experiences thus far. The xperia S can now be added to the list of accessible devices.




When deciding on which smartphone to purchase, it is always a good idea to do one’s homework prior to swiping your credit card. As visually impaired people we are fortunate enough to have a range of devices to choose from nowadays. When contemplating an Android handset, it is especially true that one should ensure that your new toy will ultimately live up to your expectations. What may perfectly fit the needs of one person, may not be suitable for someone else. It might be prudent to ask oneself the following questions prior to heading for the shops.

  • What do you intend using the device for? If you are a very basic user, only needing a phone for things like SMS, making phone calls and perhaps using a Twitter account, a low budget handset may very well suffice. However, if you wish to make use of the multitude of handy apps available from the Google Play Store, make sure that your choice will have the necessary specs to handle these apps. For example, when wanting to use an OCR app to translate digital images to text, a handset with a low MP capacity may not crack it.
  • A device with low memory specs is likely to leave you frustrated when having multiple apps opened simultaneously, as the phone may become unusably slow.
  • Ask around if any other visually impaired people are using the handset you are considering. Very importantly, once again, make sure what they are using the phone for and what their experience is. If you can’t track down a person using the intended handset, ask our good friend Google for reviews to see what other visually impaired folks have to say.
  • Determine which version of Android the handset is running. Some of the most useful accessibility features were only introduced in the later versions of Android.
  • Some folks hack their devices in order to install a custom ROM on it, often to obtain a later version of Android if it’s not available through the normal channels. This procedure is called rooting. Be aware though that upgrading a handset in this way may lead to disappointment, as the phone may run noticeably slower on a newer version, and, even worse, may cause problems with sound output.



When recently evaluating a low budget Android handset I experienced the following behavior, which will be disappointing to anyone using his / her handset for more than just the basics. The phone in question is the Vodafone Smart 4 Mini. Please note, this phone should not be confused with the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, which has much better specs.

  • The Vodafone Smart 4 Mini runs on Android 4.2. Although this is better than some other devices still running 4.1 or older, it does not offer the best user experience in terms of accessibility.
  • General operation of the phone is disappointingly slow, especially after opening a few apps.
  • The handset does not have a physical home key, which may pose a problem for some. Thus, the only physical buttons on the phone are the power and volume buttons.
  • The handset has a 3.1 MP camera, which, at best, will give less than ideal results when using an OCR app.
  • Many of the apps on the Play Store will not run on this device, due to its poor hardware specs, including a mere 512 MB RAM.
  • The quality of the loud speaker is rather disappointing.
  • Despite numerous attempts, removing and re-installing Brailleback, I simply could not get this accessibility tool to run on this device. This may have been specific to this phone, but it nonetheless left me disappointed, especially in view of the fact that Brailleback installed and worked first time, every time, on my Samsung Galaxy S4.

A very basic short tutorial for XP users who are moving to Windows 7 by Gene Asner – Free download

Please note that I am not the author of this document.

If you are still stuck with Windows XP and you are finally considering moving to Windows 7, this short introduction will be of great benefit to you.

Please share with your friends and others who may benefit from it.

Introduction, taken from document:

Just What You Need to Know
A very basic short tutorial for XP users who are moving to Windows 7
Gene Asner

this informal short tutorial is based on messages I wrote to e-mail lists. You will see repetition in the discussion of ribbons which occurs in two separate messages but I’ve left the repetition in the material because it may help you understand points to see both discussions.

The goal of this informal tutorial is to present what a new Windows 7 user, who is familiar with Windows Xp needs to know to work with Windows 7. Where possible and where I deemed it desirable, I’ve presented techniques that are most similar to those used in XP. Where not possible or where I deemed it not desirable, I presented or concentrated on other methods. but I gave no unnecessary information and the other methods are easy to use and learn. You will likely learn a lot more about Windows 7 over time but this guide will probably allow you to use Windows 7 with reasonable ease and convenience within a much shorter time than you may have thought possible.
I hope those who read this material will distribute it widely. I would like it to become well known and available for download in many places such as from web sites that present such material for blind computer users.

End of introduction:

Download the file Windows7 Messages, extract it and inside you’ll find the text file.