Thanks to a growing number of innovations, day-to-day tasks have become easier for visually-impaired people

From taking the bus to shopping for groceries at the supermarket, certain day-to-day tasks can often be discomfiting experiences for visually-impaired people. A 2016 Channel NewsAsia report, for instance, highlighted the difficulties in taking public buses, given the lack of announcements when a bus arrives at a location.

Fortunately, there is growing awareness about the importance of improving accessibility this community.

Earlier in 2018, the Public Transport Council submitted several recommendations on making public transport more inclusive. Beyond that, there has also been a boom in the number of assistive technologies available today.

“Tech has come a long way to help us,” says Mr Tan, who is partially blind. “My iPhone, for example, is very accessible and simple to use, even for those who are totally blind.

“It has many good features, including apps like Moovit that can help you when travelling on the bus – telling you the bus stop you’re at and when it’s time to alight.”

The voice-over function on phones has also been a boon for Ms Neela Devi, who was born blind. It enables her to access multiple functions on her phone. “I’m using an iPhone, and I use the voice over function to listen the news on apps. I also use apps like Amazon to do my shopping,” says the 50-year-old.

Improvements in technology have offered her greater ease when handling finances. For instance, should she need to transfer money to her friends, Ms Devi simply uses DBS PayLah!, a mobile wallet.

And to withdraw money, Ms Devi can head to one of the POSB talking ATMs, which provide voice instructions for visually-impaired customers to perform their transactions. Previously, she would have to go to a bank branch or find someone she trusted to withdraw money from her account.

“I feel more independent as I can withdraw money on my own using the POSB talking ATMs”

Ms Neela Devi, who is visually impaired