Because this could do quite a bit of good for a lot of people, I won’t bother speculating on how Bell, who can’t get even the most basic of customer service requests correct, may go about screwing it up. I’ll just present it as the good news announcement that it seems to be…for now. I may also have to do some investigating on behalf of some Bell customers I know.
Bell today announced a new portfolio of products and support services to make mobile communications more accessible for customers with speech, cognitive, physical, hearing and vision related disabilities. With screen readers and hearing aid compatibility, video conferencing, assisted messaging and voice calling services, Bell’s accessible products help customers take full advantage of their smart devices.
“Nearly 14% of Canadians 15 and older* live with a disability and often face barriers that limit accessibility to the many benefits of mobile technology,” said Blaik Kirby, President of Bell Mobility. “Bell is helping break down these barriers with our leading lineup of accessible products tailored to meet the needs of all our customers.”
Information about Bell’s portfolio of accessible products and services is available at the new online Accessibility Services Centre atBell.ca/Accessibility. Designed to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines AA rating, Bell’s Accessibility Services Centre provides enhanced navigation for screen readers and keyboards. A Mobile Device Selector tool is also available to help customers find devices with features such as screen magnification, TTY compatibility, external Braille support, and guided access mode.
Doro 824 and Doro 824C smartphones exclusively at Bell
Tailored to customers with moderate visual, cognitive and physical needs, the Android powered Doro 824 is a smartphone featuring easy tap targets and icons, large text, bright colours, hearing aid compatibility, and a dedicated emergency button.
The fully customizable Doro 824C is the most complete smartphone available for blind customers, including all the features of the Doro 824 plus dedicated accessibility apps and a tactile keypad overlay. The Doro 824 and Doro 824C are available for $49.99 and $249.99respectively on a 2 year term with applicable rate plan.
Mobile Accessibility app
The Mobile Accessibility app is a screen reader application that integrates with the Android operating system to enable blind and low vision customers to better navigate their devices.
The Mobile Accessibility app is available at no charge to Bell customers with an Android device via the Accessibility Services Centre at Bell.ca/Accessibility.
Developed by Canadian startup Komodo OpenLab, Tecla is a portable and hands free device that enables customers with physical upper body limitations to easily use Android or iOS smartphones and tablets without touching the screen.
With Tecla, customers have a solution to get online, make calls, send messages, read books and more through assistive switches such as buttons, sip and puff controllers, head arrays, joysticks or wheelchair driving controls.
Normally retailing for $613.90, the Tecla Kit, which includes a mount, is available to new and existing Bell customers at the subsidized price of $200.
In the coming months, Bell will also be introducing a dedicated wireless rate plan for the approximately 357,000 Canadians** that are deaf or hard of hearing.
To develop its new accessibility products, Bell worked closely with members from Alliance for Equality for Blind Canadians (AEBC), Canadian Association of the Deaf – Association des Sourds du Canada (CAD-ASC), Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP), Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA), La Confédération des organismes de personnes handicapées du Québec (COPHAN) and Neil Squire Society. The CRTC approved funding for a number of these initiatives from Bell’s deferral account.
For more information, please visit Bell.ca/Accessibility.