We believe everyone should be able to connect to the people and things that matter. This is why accessibility is a central consideration for everything we do.
Over 600 million people worldwide have a registered disability, in addition to the people who need improved accessibility because of their vision, hearing, speech, mobility, cognition, or simply their age. For instance, many elderly people have already been using mobile communications for years and expect to continue to use their handsets – meeting their needs is important for us.
We aim to bring the world to everyone, and continually develop innovations to meet every conceivable need. That’s why we create a multitude of accessibility options, helping people to enjoy mobile services in exactly the way they want. And just about everyone can benefit from ideas that make handsets easier and safer to use – for instance when people are multi-tasking, or in challenging situations.
Bringing the world to everyone
We have a long and proud history of enabling the freedom of wireless communications. We believe accessibility is an integral part of the design of our handsets and tools.
We build devices that offer choice in shape, style and input – all with familiar, functional and intuitive design. We make devices with traditional, QWERTY and touch screen interfaces, with accessibility features such as speed dialing and vibrating alerts – things that benefit everyone.
In addition, Nokia Store develops many accessibility applications for specific needs, and Nokia Store Accessibility Channel groups a range of handy apps together offering tools for people with vision, hearing and speech impairments, as well as for those with problems with cognition and dexterity. Applications compatible with Nokia Lumia phones are available at the Windows Phone Marketplace.
Together with our partners, we have developed screen readers, mobile captioning services and optical character readers for people with impaired vision, and we take continual advice from our team of experts and we are in continuous dialogue with disability organisations, regulators and developers to discuss requirements and develop new solutions, drawing upon cutting edge accessibility research and innovation.
Practical innovations: a short history
Introduced in 1996, the first Nokia Communicator offered new ways to communicate for people who are hard of hearing. Soon after, the Nokia LPS-1 Inductive Loopset was introduced, which helped people who use telecoil-equipped hearing aids to use a mobile phone without interference.
Today, the Nokia Wireless Loopset (LPS-6) couples a telecoil-equipped hearing aid to any Bluetooth enabled Nokia device, but additionally enables Near Field Communication (NFC) pairing and USB audio support. Inductive coupling with hearing aid enables attenuation of possible background noise from the environment, which greatly improves speech reception in noisy surroundings. The LPS-6 has been further enhanced with superior audio quality and improved vibrating alerts.
Since 2003, video messaging and video telephony services have become popular with people who use sign language. We also began to collaborate with text-to-speech application developers. In 2004, this led to the first screen reader for Nokia devices, bringing totally new possibilities for millions of people who are blind or have low vision.
In 2011, we announced the Nokia Screen Reader application. It converts what is displayed on the screen into speech, and is helpful not only for users with sight limitations, but also for anyone in a situation where it’s not practical or safe to look at the screen (for example listening to text messages whilst exercising). Besides calling and texting, the screen reader is helpful for browsing the internet, reading and writing messages, accessing call lists and contacts, and managing the calendar. It works on both touch screen devices and those with a physical key pad. The reader features a simple and easy-to-remember command structure, as well as a control panel configured by the user. It’s available in eight languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Finnish, Swedish and Italian. The Nokia Screen Reader can be downloaded from the Nokia Store Accessibility Channel free of charge for nearly all Nokia Symbian devices, and in 27 languages.