How Do Blind People Tell the Time?
One second is all it takes to know what time it is. That is, if you can see your watch or clock. On the other hand, if you are blind, have low vision, or are deaf blind, it would be a very different situation. You may even think of resorting to the help of others in doing this vital task due to the disability you have.
There are, however, a number of assistive technologies you can use to independently know the time. Below we talk about some of the most common time-related devices and software for blind and visually impaired persons.
Tactile watches are timepieces with a face, hands, and dots you can feel with your fingers. Hours are represented by the dots. These are suitable for persons who are totally blind and for people who are deaf blind. To know the time, you feel which dot the hour hand is pointing to. Then you do the same with the minute hand. Tactile watches are also called Braille watches.
Here is a short demonstration of a tactile watch.
These are devices that speak the time when you press a particular button. Talking watches are for blind people but may not be suitable for deaf blind persons. Most talking watches also let you set the time for their alarm.
Here is a short demonstration of a talking wristwatch.
Other talking watches have large clock displays. These are suitable for persons with low vision. You can either look at the clock display or press its button to listen to the time.
Here is a short demonstration of a talking watch with a large display.
Time-Reading Function of Mobile Screen Readers
Mobile screen readers are software applications you can use on your mobile device to hear the text displayed on the screen. Its main output is a synthetic voice that reads for you your messages, contacts, and other information in your mobile. A mobile screen reader can also read the time displayed in your mobile device’s clock.
Using this time-reading function, you don’t have to bring any other timepiece. This is of course only if you have a mobile device with a screen reader. Here is a short demo of the time-reading function of a mobile screen reader. In this example, the screen reader also reads the date.
These assistive technologies allow blind and visually impaired persons to independently do a most important activity. They also demonstrate a good level of accessibility as they provide information in more than one format. This enables blind and visually impaired individuals to use these technologies, as well as non-disabled people.