10 Gift Ideas for people with a Visual Impairment
Knowing what to get your loved ones for Christmas can often be a struggle. If you know somebody with a visual impairment, or are a visually impaired person yourself struggling with what to ask for, read on for some inspiration.
In 2018 and 2019, we published two blogs which outlined seven gift ideas for a visually impaired person. Our 2018 blog and 2019 blog featured products for cooking, leisure, accessing information and more.
There is so much out there, and new products are always becoming available, so we decided to do it for a third year in a row. This time, however, we are giving you 10 ideas instead of 7!
Apple Store Gift Card
All Apple products have many accessibility features so they can be customised to suit a person regardless of their level of vision loss. These features include VoiceOver (Apple’s built-in screen reader), Zoom (Apple’s built-in magnification feature) and the ability to display text in a larger font.
Why not treat your loved one to an Apple Store gift card so that they can browse Apple’s product range and pick a product that suits them. They could use it to upgrade an iPhone, try out an Apple Watch for the first time or buy an accessory such as the AirPods or a wireless charging stand.
An Apple Store gift card is perfect for an experienced Apple product user who wants to upgrade their device, or a person who would like to try out a new Apple product for the first time.
You can purchase an Apple Store Gift Card, providing it is between £25.00 and £2000.00 inclusive.
You can find out more and purchase gift cards by going to the gift cards page on Apple’s website.
We also have a playlist on our YouTube channel dedicated to Apple accessibility.
£249.00 (EX VAT), £298.80 (Inc VAT)
The Synaptic software, compatible with smartphones and tablets running Android Version 6 or above, is designed to make smartphones and tablets accessible and easy to use for people with sight loss.
Synaptic features built-in speech and magnification making it suitable for anybody with any amount of vision loss. The clear and simple menus make it particularly useful for those people who are new to technology or who are building their confidence with tech.
Henshaws is one of Synaptic’s trusted partners, and you can buy the Synaptic software package directly from our Online Shop.
£7.99-£219.00 (depending on style)
Pingit is a free app, developed by Barclays Bank, that enables you to manage your money from your smartphone. Once you have created a Pingit account, you can send and receive money, manage your budgets and donate to charities.
You can also buy Pingit devices which can be used to make contactless payments in shops, just like you would if you were using a debit card or other digital solution such as Apple Pay.
The Pingit device may be the perfect gift for somebody who is seeking an alternative way to pay for goods and services, for example if they are prone to misplacing their card.
Pingit devices come in different styles. You can find out more about Pingit and how it may benefit a visually impaired person by reading our blog and watching our video. There is also more information, including an online shop to purchase all Pingit devices, on the Pingit website.
Lakeland Pro Chip & Dice Vegetable Chopper and Dicer
This product, while not designed specifically for visually impaired people, is a useful gadget for chipping, dicing and slicing vegetables.
This makes preparing vegetables more efficient and reduces the need to use a knife making the process of preparing veg safer.
You can find out more through our video in which Mark gives a demonstration of the product and talks to Simon, our Rehab Officer, about the benefits of using this as a visually impaired person.
£185.00 (RNIB) or £235.00 (Cobolt Systems LTD)
While not all visually impaired people use them, talking microwaves are one solution which can allow visually impaired people to use microwaves independently.
As of November 2020, there are two talking microwaves on the market. The RNIB Talking Microwave is a more basic microwave with the ability to adjust cooking power, cooking time and speech volume. The Cobolt Talking Microwave is more advanced with additional features including the ability to specify food weight and the ability to use it as a timer independent of the microwave.
£149.00 (Nest Hello) or £199.00 (Ring)
With a video doorbell, you can find out when somebody is at your door, and speak to them, using your smartphone. This means that you are able to find out who is at your door, before you engage with them face-to-face.
While not designed for visually impaired people specifically, this is a great product for anybody who would like added peace of mind and security when somebody visits their property.
£6.00-£90.00 (depending on manufacturer)
Smart bulbs allow you to control lighting using your smartphone, or smart devices such as the Amazon Echo, Google Home or Apple HomeKit.
Depending on manufacturer, different smart bulbs have different features, for example setting timers.
Smart bulbs may be a useful gift for a visually impaired person who benefits from having good lighting in order to take advantage of any remaining useful vision, as they allow greater control of lighting levels in a way that is more accessible.
This article discusses some of the most well-known manufacturers of smart bulbs and their pros and cons.
£12.00-£60.00 (depending on type and pack of tags)
WayAround is a free smartphone app, available for both iOS and Android which enables visually impaired people to label and identify items. To use WayAround, a person must purchase WayTags which can then be set up and scanned using the app.
WayTags come in different styles including clips, buttons, magnets and stickers. WayAround can be used to label and identify products including food items, bathroom products and paper documents.
Disney+ Digital Gift Subscription
£59.99 (for 12 months)
Disney+ launched in the UK in March 2020. The streaming service allows you to watch films and TV shows from distributors including Disney, Pixar and National Geographic, so there is something for people of all ages to enjoy.
The Disney+ app is compatible with screen readers including VoiceOver and TalkBack, and many of the available shows have audio description, so Disney+ could be the perfect gift for a visually impaired Disney lover.
Please note that Disney+ gifts can only be redeemed by new subscribers and cannot be used by existing subscribers to continue paying for their subscription. Disney+ gift subscriptions can be purchased from the Disney+ website.
Audible Gift Subscription
£7.99-£69.99 (depending on duration)
Audible, owned by Amazon, hosts the largest collection of audiobooks in the UK. Audible gift subscriptions give people access to Audible’s features for either one, three, six or 12 months, depending on subscription purchased.
Benefits of an Audible membership include the ability to get one free book per month using an Audible credit and the ability to purchase additional books at discounted prices.
You can listen to audiobooks on your computer, smartphone, tablet, or Alexa-enabled device such as the Amazon Echo.
Audiobooks are just one format that make books accessible to visually impaired people. You can find out more about accessing books if you have a visual impairment by reading our blog.
We hope that this blog has given you some inspiration for potential Christmas gift ideas. As you can see, there are plenty of options, and the products listed can benefit a visually impaired person in many ways, from enabling them to cook more safely and efficiently, to enabling them to turn their home into a smart home.
If you want even more inspiration, check out our Knowledge Village where we have videos, eBooks and many more blogs about apps and products for people with sight loss.
If you live in Greater Manchester, you can access our Digital Enablement services which include assessments, training and our monthly Tech Talk groups. You can also attend one of our Living With Sight Loss courses where you will be introduced to products and services available to you if you have sight loss. You can give us a ring on 0300 222 5555 to find out more about our Digital Enablement service and Living with Sight Loss courses, or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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