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#62 – 8 Hints for Cell Phones -

You will probably need help from someone whose eyes are good to set up these hints. Once set up, they can really help decrease search time on your cell phone. And that means a decrease in frustration.

By the way, it can be really hard for some folks (with low vision or not) to ask for help. They might feel like they are a burden to ask others for help. Or they might be in the habit of helping others, not accepting help. Reminder — most people love to help but will not know how unless the one with low vision is willing to share their needs.  

That’s what the app Be My Eyes is all about. See blog # 23 (link)  if you aren’t familiar with Be My Eyes. It’s all about someone with low vision asking for help by pointing the camera on their phone to whatever it is they need help seeing. The volunteer who looks at the picture lives in the same time zone and speaks the same language. If you volunteer to help, it might be a long time before you get a call. That’s because there are more volunteers than low-sighted people asking for help.

Here’s a 5-star review that tells how the app gives the volunteer such a good feeling to help someone with low vision. It’s a win-win situation!

                        Amazing App, Amazing Community & Amazing Service

I’ve been involved with this project for a year or so now and I’m still just as happy with the app as when I started. Since the purpose of the app is to connect someone with a question to someone who can give a visual response, I have no suggestions on how to improve it. It does exactly that.

I think it might be helpful to be told how to respond answering the call though. The callers are always nice, but not looking for friends or conversations. Just answers to their momentary dilemma. I answer: “Hi, this is Helen. How can I assist you today?” It’s short, friendly and informative. The caller doesn’t always give their name and usually go straight to their question.

My calls so far are: do these slacks match this blouse? I have 2 pieces of mail; who are they from? How much is this bill for? I’m in a meeting and don’t know what the error message is on my screen. And the like.

I have missed a few calls because I didn’t answer the phone quickly enough and my disappointment was always real. I’m glad the service moves quickly through phone contacts to better help the caller, but disappointed that the helper wasn’t me. If I did nothing else that day, I knew I gave someone real help and the sense of pride and satisfaction is terrific!

Long review, but aside from wishing I received more calls, I can’t recommend this app or service enough! It’s 5 star across the board!

Blog #59 (link) is titled Voice Commands. Here are eight additional hints for using smartphones.

  1. In the phone app is a list of contacts. The list of favorites (far left with a blue star) are people you call often. Instead of going through a long list of names in the contact list to find the one you want, the list of favorites will be much shorter = people you really call a lot.  
  2. Even easier — ask Siri or Google to call the number. Then you don’t have to search for the name. “Hey Siri, call Nancy.” One hint, you shouldn’t have two people with the same name or Siri won’t know which one to call. To solve this problem, you can add the first initial of the last name.
  3. With newer phones, facial ID solves the problem of putting a pin number to activate the phone. All you need to do is look at the phone. This, too, requires a setup to do it the first time. If you have a mask on, you will need to pull the mask down to activate the phone.
  4. Put the icons you use the most on the first page. Get rid of the icons you never use.
  5. Make sure the Be My Eyes app is on your phone in a place where you can find it quickly. Register as a person who needs help or as a helper
  6. It’s an easy way to set the timer. “Hey, Siri set the timer for 20 minutes.”
  7. Magnify with the telephone. “Hey, Siri open magnifier.”
  8. If you have a You Version Bible app, the read/speaker feature is a help if it is turned on.


Readers: Do you have good vision? Why not offer to help a low vision friend or relative set up these changes on their phone to make life easier.

If you have low vision, why not ask a friend or relative to help you make these changes on your phone? You will be glad you did.

Other suggestions? If you put them in the comment box below, they will help others.

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