Enhancing smartphone and tablet accessibility for individuals with visual impairments
- Hable One
- Country of Implementation
- Start Year
- First published
“Being nominated for the Zero Project is more than an accolade; it is a promise to bridge digital divides. ” Freek van Welsenis, Co-founder, Hable One
Hable One B.V., a start-up company based in the Netherlands, has developed the Hable One, a device that enhances smartphone and tablet accessibility for individuals with visual impairments. Easily connecting via Bluetooth, it has tactile feedback buttons and VoiceOver/TalkBack commands, allowing users to navigate and type without relying on visual cues. It is compatible with iOS and Android devices, supports multiple languages, and is portable for convenience. Between 2022 and 2023 it has already gained 2,500 active users.
For many people with visual impairments, the flat touch-screen interface is difficult to use, denying access to devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
The Hable One is a portable device designed for visually impaired individuals to easily use smartphones and tablets. It weighs only 90 grams, so can be carried easily when travelling or commuting. Connecting via Bluetooth, it features tactile buttons for easy typing and navigation. It supports VoiceOver and TalkBack commands, aiding in faster typing using Braille input, thus making it substantially easier to use the device, for instance, when travelling, during social interaction, at work, or in school. The Hable One was developed with feedback from visually impaired individuals, with over 500 interviews conducted during its design phase, and with many organizations from several countries involved in the design, including the Netherlands, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Hable One is compatible with devices running iOS or Android, and supports Dutch, English, French, German, and Spanish, among other languages. The company operates on a sales-driven business model, with either the user or a support organization paying for the device. By mid of 2023 the pricing was around $300 to $350 per device. From its 2022 launch until 2023, Hable One expanded from three to 40 countries, with over 2,500 active users.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
Hable One works with more than 50 blind or visually impaired ambassadors to guide new developments of the product, and finances its operations and growth with investors. As of 2023 the technology was available in several languages, and new ones are constantly being added. Hable One also plans roll-outs in low-income countries. (Awardee 2024)