Wednesday, August 8, 2012

BlackBerry Screen Reader Review

The BlackBerry Screen Reader is designed to make BlackBerry phones accessible to the visually impaired. BlackBerry Screen Reader is compatible with the BlackBerry Curve 9350, 9360, 9370, 9320 and 9220.

Installation is complicated and may require the assistance of a sighted person. Unfortutantly, BlackBerry Screen Reader is not built into the phone. There are two methods for installing the BlackBerry Screen Reader. The first method is to visit this webpage from your BlackBerry. Another option for installation is to plug the BlackBerry into your computer and then install the Screen Reader. Connecting your BlackBerry device to your computer is the most accessible option for installation.

  • Physical Keyboard
  • Keyboard Shortcuts
  • Speak Everything On Screen
  • Free For Compatible BlackBerry Devices

Once installed  you will be greeted with a solid Screen Reader that makes the BlackBerry accessible. The visually impaired user benefits from the numerous physical buttons, including a full physical keyboard. Five buttons on the device are less tactile. These buttons include the answer, end, menu, back and end/off. While these buttons are flush with the device they are still used for the visually impaired once there location has been memorized. To be clear these buttons depress when pressed. The physical keyboard makes it possible to type eyes-free. Once you move away from the physical buttons and start navigating the screen, a text-to-speech voice begins speaking everything under your cursor. The BlackBerry I tested had a very loud speaker that made hearing the voice easy. To navigate the cursor you can use the trackpad. The trackpad is fairly sensitive so it may be best to turn down the sensitivity. Also, I found it helpful to turn on audible clicks when the cursor moves from one object to another. The BlackBerry Screen Reader also excels with the use of keyboard shortcuts. For example you can press a key combination to speak the time. Users can change the speech rate, verbosity and pitch.

Overall the BlackBerry Screen Reader is a solid screen reader that makes the BlackBerry accessible for visually impaired users. It is not as polished as other mobile screen readers such as Apple's VoiceOver. BlackBerry Screen Reader may not work with third party apps. Some work could be done in streamlining operations and stability. Also, the screen reader should be built into the BlackBerry from the start. Click read more below to view screenshots of the BlackBerry Screen Reader.

Device Provided Complimentary To Reviewer 


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