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Abstract

The pervasiveness of mobile devices and other associated technologies has affected all aspects of our daily lives. People with visual impairments are no exception, as they increasingly tend to rely on mobile apps for assistance with various visual tasks in daily life. Compared to dedicated visual aids, mobile apps offer advantages such as affordability, versatility, portability, and ubiquity. We have surveyed hundreds of mobile apps of potential interest to people with vision impairments, either released as special assistive apps claiming to help in tasks such as text or object recognition ( = 68), digital accessibility ( = 84), navigation ( = 44), and remote sighted service ( = 4), among others, or marketed as general camera magnification apps that can be used for visual assistance ( = 77). While assistive apps as a whole received positive feedback from visually impaired users, as reported in various studies, evaluations of the usability of every app were typically limited to user reviews, which are often not scientifically informative. Rigorous evaluation studies on the effect of vision assistance apps on daily task performance and quality of life are relatively rare. Moreover, evaluation criteria are difficult to establish, given the heterogeneity of the visual tasks and visual needs of the users. In addition to surveying literature on vision assistance apps, this review discusses the feasibility and necessity of conducting scientific research to understand visual needs and methods to evaluate real-world benefits.

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2023-09-15
2024-06-23
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