Along with the built-in features for accessibility in today's smartphones, there are many after-market products available that make using mobile phones easier for people with cognitive difficulties, impairments or disabilities.
These include devices that convert the contents of a mobile phone screen into speech for users with limited sight, external keyboards for users who have trouble typing on phones and products that can display speech in text for users with hearing loss.
But just like an old printer might not work with the latest laptop, for some of these products to work effectively their software must be compatible with the software used to operate a mobile phone.
This is why phones with Application Programming Interfaces (API), which allow accessibility software programs to communicate with a mobile handset, is one of the features consumers can now search for in the GARI database when choosing a new phone.
An example of how important this software compatibility can be is with the use of Braille devices that give blind and deafblind users access to mobile phone technology.
Special displays can be connected to a mobile phone, which read a screen’s contents back to the user in Braille and by connecting a Braille keyboard to a phone a user can control many of the phone’s functions.
But unless a user’s phone has an API that can be used to support the Braille keyboard and display, the devices won’t operate correctly.
To search for a phone that supports accessibility API’s use our online search tool or click on the 'find phones' link at the top of this page.
As always, before buying a phone you should check its compatibility with the specific external hardware you want to use it with and if possible test the phone to determine whether it will meet your needs.