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Blind Bargains Top 10 Stories of 2012: 1. Fleksy Blends Assistive Tech and Mainstream Simplicity

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Posted by J.J. Meddaugh Thursday, 03-Jan-2013 4:07 PM ET

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We've made it. It's time to reveal the top story of 2012 in our Blind Bargains top 10. This year's panel included participants from across the assistive technology scene: Darren Burton, Jason Meddaugh, Wayne Merritt, Jamie Pauls and Joe Steinkamp. We'll post a new story every day until we reach number one, which will be revealed on SeroTalk live on Thursday at 2 PM Eastern. In case you missed them, you can read our earlier stories on our countdown. For number one, we go to the biggest app release of the year, but it was about so much more.

When the designers of Fleksy introduced a new way to type using gestures, the idea sounded pretty novel, though some questioned if it would really work. But after people tried the app hands-on at the summer shows, doubters were turned into believers. Fleksy quickly became one of the most talked about apps for the blind, but that's not entirely what pushed it to the number one story. Over the past few months, Fleksy has gone from cool tool for the blind to actively pursuing the definite possibility of gaining mainstream acceptance. How often do you see a blindness-specific app receive venture capital funding? Fleksy has proven that ideas can be designed that will both improve life in our little nitch but also be valuable to the greater populus. We salute you for the progress you've made and are excited to see what's next.

Here's more from Joe, "No other story in 2012 hit on so many levels. Here’s a company whose app went from being Blindness related to having mainstream success with a product that could be used universally. That is except for the fact that the iOS ecosystem really demonstrated its limitations to both sets of users as the functionality desired is not allowed by Apple in iOS. Then you have the possibility of the app moving to Android and doing everything it couldn’t do on iOS. Plus, the gang at Fleksy is just a great group of people. Making the success even better all the way around. Sure some may not have been thrilled about the price drops, the options on iOS initially but the company has been very forthcoming about what is possible and what they see as the potential in their future releases. This drive in their outward facing efforts, especially in social media, has been astounding, and for me, this app’s triumphs in so many arenas are why I believe that it was the biggest AT story in 2012."

Listen to the SeroTalk interview with Fleksy from their 2012 Summer Convention Coverage.

Thanks for sounding off in the comments, and for following along. And thanks again to all of our panelists for 2012 and especially Joe Steinkamp from the Serotalk Podcast Network for helping to organize the event. Here's to a great 2013!

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