University of Oulu

Milla Emilia Järvelä, Aura Aino Kaarina Falck, Mira Maaret Rajala, Helvi Aulikki Kyngäs & Heidi Johanna Siira (2020) The extent to which mobile applications support independence among the visually impaired – a pilot study, Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, DOI: 10.1080/17483107.2020.1775314

The extent to which mobile applications support independence among the visually impaired : a pilot study

Saved in:
Author: Järvelä, Milla Emilia1; Falck, Aura Aino Kaarina2; Rajala, Mira Maaret1;
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Nursing Science and Health Management, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Ophthalmology, Medical Research Center and PEDEGO Research Unit, University of Oulu and Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Informa, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-06-10


Background and aim: Visual impairment (VI) problems are increasing as the global aging population grows. Mobile devices have become essential to interacting with friends and society. Because the visually impaired are no exception, it would be useful to determine the functionalities that best support the independence of people with VI. The currently available functionalities and applications were analysed to provide insight about which features the visually impaired value most.

Materials and methods: A Webropol survey with structured and open-ended questions was carried out. The participants (n = 26) were asked about their use of mobile applications and opinions regarding the usefulness of certain applications in promoting independent functioning. An instrument was developed for this study based on previous literature, and its quality was assured through an expert panel evaluation and pre-testing. The collected data were analysed statistically and by inductive content analysis.

Results: A majority of the participants were active users of mobile devices. Substantial variation was observed in the evaluations of how useful various applications are to different everyday tasks. The participants suggested numerous improvements, such as additional customization, to the current mobile devices and applications.

Implications for Rehabilitation: People with VI benefit from the use of mobile devices in the same way that the population with normal vision does, and mobile devices and applications can be pivotal to supporting their independence. The participants offered innovative ideas and suggestions for how mobile devices and applications could be designed to better meet the needs of the visually impaired.

see all

Series: Disability and rehabilitation
ISSN: 0963-8288
ISSN-E: 1464-5165
ISSN-L: 0963-8288
Volume: In press
DOI: 10.1080/17483107.2020.1775314
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 316 Nursing
Copyright information: © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology on [date of publication], available online: