A Special Phone is an iPhone application that can be used as a voice over for dialing a phone number or act as speed dialer.
The application has an “eye free mode”, which allows you to dial any phone number without having to look at the screen. When the application is opened, a phone number keypad is display. By tapping any part of the screen, the application speaks the number in which you are touching. Once you find the number you need, just tap that area again for the phone to dial that number. The application will display an enlarged number on the screen and again speak it out loud.
The application can also be used as a speed dialer by simply shaking the phone. The number of shakes you make corresponds to the number each contact was given. The application allows for up to six contacts to be stored. The developer suggests that the application is placed in one of the four corners of the iPhone screen to make it easier to locate when trying to make a call.
Let’s pretend that you have opened up the application and want to call “John”, who was previously assigned to the 3rd contact. To do so, you would simply shake the phone three times. There is one huge advantage to this feature: it does not require you to remember each person with his or her corresponding number. During the application set-up, it asks that you voice record the name of the person for each contact. With every shake, the application will speak each person’s name in the order they were assigned. When you want to call one of the six contacts, keep shaking the phone until you hear the name of the person you want to call. Then immediately stop once you have heard their name. After about two seconds, your phone will begin to dial that person. In which case, you will now be calling someone without having to search through your contacts or dial a specific phone number.
Although this application may be great for people who are blind or visually impaired, it has some setbacks. For example, it requires the user to have some vision and/or assistance when setting up the contacts. The set-up requires the user to search through his or her iPhone contacts in order to select each of the six people. Since it only allows the user to choose six people with only one phone number assigned to each, we are limited to whom we select as our six. Many of us have more than six people we communicate with regularly. In addition, these people may have more than one contact number, i.e. home, office, mobile, etc. Lastly, this application may be great when you want to initiate an outgoing phone call, but it does not have any features for answering an incoming call.
A Special Phone can also be helpful for a variety of other purposes. The developer notes that it can be used by children to call for help in case of an emergency or others may find it practical to use while driving. However, a person who has trouble with fine motor coordination may find this application difficult to operate.
By Kelli-Ann Flynn