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Blind man creates product to help visually impaired people to watch tv

Shared by Ana Duarte on 2016-04-12 19:02

About the solution

Tom was hired by Comscat to work on the support team developing products and services for people with disabilities. It took the team about 18 months to develop the "talking guide."

“Announces menu items, announces the TV listings, the on demand title of menus we have for both TV and movies. It allows someone whose blind or visually impaired to schedule and play back a DVR recording,” said Wlodkowski. The system also has a Spanish version.

“For the first time, the visually impaired can independently navigate the set top box interface,” Wlodkowski explained.

Comscat first presented this technology in 2013. Usability tests were made with blind and visually impaired consumers that helped shape the design and functionality of the feature and showed Tom’s team this could truly be a game-changer.

Customers don’t have to download anything or buy new hardware; the feature is available just by tapping the A button twice on the remote control. The “talking guide” is a female voice that reads the guide, with program names, networks, and time slots, as well as On Demand and DVR information. It will also read program information and ratings that Comcast features from Rotten Tomatoes and Common Sense Media.

“The talking guide is as much about usability as it is about accessibility. We think about accessibility from the design of a product all the way through production and this feature is the result of years of work by our team including customer research, focus groups and industry partnerships. For people like me who are blind, this new interface opens up a whole new world of options for watching TV”, the executive noted.

More info: http://www.xfinity.com/

Adapted from: http://cbsloc.al/1MNnugM

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About the author

Tom Wlodkowski, from USA, is a blind television executive who developed “Talking Guide”, an innovative system that helps visually impaired people to watch tv, using voice guidance. Blind since birth, Tom had long imagined a "talking" set top box to better enable the blind or visually-impaired to more easily control their TV watching experience, turn on accessibility settings like the secondary audio program (SAP) and navigate On Demand programming or content saved on their DVR. He put his team to work on creating a prototype of this technology.

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