Blind Bargains

Blind Bargains Top 10 Stories of 2014: 1. K-NFB Reader Changes the Accessible App Landscape

We've made it to number 1! Thanks for following the top 10 stories of the year in assistive technology, as voted on by our panel: Jeff Bishop, J.J. Meddaugh, Jamie Pauls, Alena Roberts, and Joe Steinkamp. Number 1 was a pretty simple choice for us this year, and we discussed it in detail on the This year in Assistive Technology podcast which you can listen to now. So without delay, the top story of the year.

When's your iPhone app coming out? This is a popular question asked of many popular software vendors from Sendero regarding their GPS products to the National Library Service and their BARD app for downloading books. In 2014, the question's target turned to K-NFB Reading Technology, who has discussed the possibility of their OCR app coming to the iPhone for a couple of years. First, the limitations of the camera were to blame. Later, the features of iOS 8 were mentioned as important to the product. But finally, in the last days of September, the K-NFB Reader app appeared for the iPhone.

We learned something about the price of apps in assistive technology. While it was long assumed that there was no room for more expensive apps for the blind in the app store, people flocked to the K-NFB Reader app in droves. While we don't have official sales numbers, the app was listed on some of the top lists in the app store shortly after its release. The message that seemed to be sent was that people are willing to pay for a quality app that can help them in their day-to-day lives.

Indeed, the K-NFB Reader app is more powerful than other solutions available for the iPhone, including the Field of View Report and Tilt Guidance features of its Nokia predecessor. But unlike the Nokia app, a huge speed difference was realized, cutting OCR time from about 15 seconds to under 3. Suddenly, OCR wasn't a huge pain-staking process, nor was it as expensive as older solutions of $995 or more.

To the staff behind the app and its development, a job well done. We look forward to seeing the future progress of the app in 2015.

And there you have it, the top 10 stories in assistive technology for 2014. Thanks again to our panel for submitting their votes and for coming on the podcast. And be sure to follow Blind Bargains as we report on the biggest stories of 2015.

Category: Articles

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J.J. Meddaugh is an experienced technology writer and computer enthusiast. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a major in telecommunications management and a minor in business. When not writing for Blind Bargains, he enjoys travel, playing the keyboard, and meeting new people.

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