Thursday, April 24, 2014

Matt's Phone

For Christmas two years ago I bought Matt an iPhone.  Ever since the 4S came out, he had been reading about the usability of the iPhone for visually impaired individuals.  If you know us, you know that we are not quick to make a decision.  It took us weeks to decide on a vacation rental for this summer so if we are talking about an electronics purchase it can be months before we make up our mind.  At the time Matt had a flip phone (remember those?!) and was undecided on whether he wanted a smart phone.  He was able to make the font larger to read the time, but he had to dial by feel.  Texting was out of the question for him.  I was a bit skeptical about how well he would be able to use the iPhone, and I never thought he’d be able to use it as a running tool, but two years later it is indispensable.  There is a built-in voiceover function that works with most of his apps.  When it is on, the phone will speak everything he touches.  There is a learning curve because to select something when the feature is on requires two taps and there are lots of short cuts to do things differently than if you don’t have voiceover on.  I still can’t send a text when the feature is on, but Matt is a whiz at it and also uses the Siri feature to do searches and send texts to help him when he doesn’t have time to type everything out.  As I mentioned in Monday’s post, there isn’t a GPS watch that Matt can use to track his pace and mileage, but he can use his iPhone.   One of the apps that he can use with the voiceover feature is a running app that acts just like a GPS watch.  When he uses it, it will speak his running distance, current pace, average pace, and give him splits.  It has been a huge help to him during his training.  I always ask him to have his phone with him on his long runs or runs at night, just in case, so it does double duty as a training partner.  He even used it on the track last night.  I don’t know that our twins realize that daddy doesn’t see very well, but to attest to the usability of voiceover, our girls know that daddy’s phone talks and they know how to turn voiceover on and off so that they can listen to their favorite Disney song…over and over and over again.  

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