Thanks very much, Andrew, for coming along to explain to me about mobile phones. Basically, I've got retinitis pigmentosa, so I've only got central vision. So if you can just explain to me what mobiles are and what they do.
A mobile in simple terms is just a phone that you can carry around with you. You can use it to make phone calls. You can also send what's called text messages, which are short messages that you type out.
But you might be wondering what a smartphone is and how that differs from a normal phone. In real simple terms, a smartphone allows you to do the basic things like phone calls and messages, but it gives you many other options as well.
So, to give you a few examples. I use a smartphone. I use it as my alarm clock in the morning. I use it to listen to my music. If I'm waiting for a bus or I've got some spare time, I'll use it to read my e-books, for example. I use it to send my e-mail. So if I'm at work and I need to send an e-mail, I can do that on my phone. I can also go online with it. I can browse the internet. When I'm out and about, if it's a place that I haven't been to before, I have maps on my phone, so I can use what's called navigation.
There's so many things you can do with it.
That's a great overview. Where can I go out and get a mobile from?
That's a great question. RNIB's been working hard to make sure phones we discuss in this video are available on the high street. Carphone Warehouse, O2, Vodafone, Three. Any of those stores, they will sell these phones.
They all have accessibility features built into them to some degree. RNIB does actually sell a range of specialist phones that have been designed for blind and partially sighted people. They have very high-contrast screens and they have tactile buttons which some people prefer. But with smartphones, one of the key things to consider is the size of the screen. If you're partially sighted, having a bigger screen can help. Also the clarity of the screen as well, so how sharp the resolution is. If you're looking to use magnification or make things bigger on the screen, having a good-quality screen can keep things sharper.
Finally, price will be the last thing to consider. Smartphones come in many different prices that will suit every budget. They start around £100. The most expensive ones, because they're very similar to computers, they are quite expensive. They can go up to £400, £500.
There's a few things you will need to do when you buy the phone. The first is to install what's called a SIM card. The SIM card is a small microchip. It identifies the phone as yours. The good news with the SIM card is they're shaped, so it'll only go in one way around.
Some phones also have a removable battery. You have to install that before you first use the phone. The batteries are normally shaped so you can't put them in the wrong way round.
Once you've got the SIM card and battery installed, you need to charge the phone up. We normally advise plugging it in, leaving it for a few hours before you start to set it up. Once you've got it charged up, you need to switch the phone on. Most phones, although they are touchscreen phones, they do have a few buttons around the edges of the phone. The power button is normally located on the top of the phone or on the side. The key thing to remember with that is that you need to keep the button held down for a few seconds to turn the phone on.
During the setup process of the phone, you can turn on some of the accessibility features. On the iPhone, for example, there's a button underneath the screen. If you press that three times, it will turn the screen reader on the device. On the Android phones, you actually have to hold two fingers on the screen to do that. So you can turn the accessibility features on while you're setting the device up. But you might find to get started, you need some help from family or friends.
Now that you've shown me how to set up the mobile phone, have you got any hints or tips on how to use it?
Yes, sure. On the phones, they'll all have a central place where all the settings are. The icon normally looks like a set of gears and it'll be called settings. In there, you'll find all the accessibility features, so things like the option to magnify the screen, adjust the font size and the colours and turn the screen reader on and off. That's where you'll find all that stuff.
Similarly, if you want to make a phone call or send a message, there'll be icons on the screen. The phone call normally looks like an old-fashioned handset that you might hold to your head. For text messages, the icon looks like an envelope. So, they'll normally be labelled phone and messages if you're using a screen reader. So, installing apps on the device is pretty easy. You'll have what's called an app store on the device. You normally go into that and do a search for the actual app that you're looking for. It'll just be one or two button presses to get that installed. The final thing that might be useful to know is how you lock the device.
Because it's a touchscreen, when you put it in your pocket or your bag, you want to make sure that the screen is turned off so that things don't activate accidentally. The way you do that is with the power button. Rather than hold it down for a few seconds, just press it very briefly and it will lock the screen for you. If you want to unlock the phone, again just press that button really briefly. It's worth remembering as well that some of the apps that we mentioned are free, but some of them do cost a small amount of money. It's normally just a few pounds at the most, so not too expensive.
Thanks very much for showing me how to get started with my mobile phone. But where can I go if I get stuck on how to use it?
OK, so all the smartphones we're looking at today are available on the high street. The first place to ask is the store that you brought your device from. If you're on a contract, you might want to ask your network operator for help. RNIB also has a lot of resources that can help. We've got a lot of written guides and also videos. RNIB also has a Technology Support Squad service.
RNIB – supporting blind and partially sighted people