Smartphones and tablets

Smartphones and tablets can make it easier to access the internet. This can give you a range of benefits, including being able to find information, contact friends and relatives quickly, and read news and weather forecasts.

You can download programmes, called apps, which can help with a lot of daily tasks. There are apps for doing your shopping online, for video-calling people, for reading books in accessible formats, and much more.

Many smartphones and tablets also come with a virtual assistant that can operate your device using voice commands. This can be useful if you find it difficult to see things on your screen, or if you find a touchscreen hard to use. It can also be useful in an emergency, as you can tell it to call someone if you can't make it to the phone.

Most of the rest of the technology on this page requires a smartphone or a tablet to use.

Wearable technology

You might benefit from wearable smart technology, such as smart watches and fitness trackers. Both work when connected wirelessly to a smartphone.

A fitness tracker can help you monitor your overall fitness, including counting your steps, measuring your heart rate, and seeing how well you're sleeping.

Smart watches can do a lot of the things your smartphone can do, including making and receiving calls and texts. They can also use certain apps, some of which can monitor your wellbeing and remind you when to take medication.

One benefit of wearable devices is that they can be harder to lose, since you wear them. Some models can also be voice activated.

Smart speakers

Smart speakers are voice activated, which means you tell them to do things simply be speaking to them. You can ask them to do a lot of the things your smartphone can do, such as calling and texting people, setting reminders, playing music, and ordering things from the internet.

You can connect smart speakers to other smart devices, such as smart home devices (see below) so you can control lots of other things using your voice. If you need help and can't reach your phone, you can call out to your smart speaker to contact someone for you.

Smart home technology

A lot of the things in your home can be connected to the internet and made 'smart'. Having smart home devices can make it easier to control things like your heating, TV, oven, water, lights and even vacuum cleaner. Once they are connected to the internet you can control them with a smartphone, tablet or speaker.

How to get smart technology

Large technology and electronics shops will likely sell most of the products listed here. It's important to shop around, as prices can differ, and the precise details of what each device can do will differ between models.

Assistive and inclusive technology

Some devices are designed with consideration of the needs of people with vision, hearing or mobility impairments. Assistive and inclusive technology covers a wide range of devices that can make everyday tasks easier. Examples include:

  • mounts that attach to a wheelchair and let you hold and use a tablet more easily
  • larger computer mice with bigger buttons, if you have problems holding and using regular-sized mice
  • smartphones with settings that allow you to adjust the contrast, brightness and magnification of the screen easily
  • larger computer monitors.

The Disability Living Foundation has a number of different websites for advice and help with assistive and inclusive technology. They have factsheets and a helpline if you want more information (0300 999 0004, dlf.org.uk). Their AskSARA website (asksara.dlf.org.uk) can help you find out which devices you could benefit from. If you already have something in mind, visit livingmadeeasy.org.uk to see which models they recommend.

 

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