The BLV App Arcade: a new curated repository and evaluation rubric for mobile applications supporting blindness and low vision

Bennett M. Liu, Mahya Beheshti, Tahareh Naeimi, Zhigang Zhu, Rajesh Vedanthan, William Seiple, John Ross Rizzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Visual impairment-related disabilities have become increasingly pervasive. Current reports estimate a total of 36 million persons with blindness and 217 million persons with moderate to severe visual impairment worldwide. Assistive technologies (AT), including text-to-speech software, navigational/spatial guides, and object recognition tools have the capacity to improve the lives of people with blindness and low vision. However, access to such AT is constrained by high costs and implementation barriers. More recently, expansive growth in mobile computing has enabled many technologies to be translated into mobile applications. As a result, a marketplace of accessibility apps has become available, yet no framework exists to facilitate navigation of this voluminous space. Materials and Methods: We developed the BLV (Blind and Low Vision) App Arcade: a fun, engaging, and searchable curated repository of app AT broken down into 11 categories spanning a wide variety of themes from entertainment to navigation. Additionally, a standardized evaluation metric was formalized to assess each app in five key dimensions: reputability, privacy, data sharing, effectiveness, and ease of use/accessibility. In this paper, we describe the methodological approaches, considerations, and metrics used to find, store and score mobile applications. Conclusion: The development of a comprehensive and standardized database of apps with a scoring rubric has the potential to increase access to reputable tools for the visually impaired community, especially for those in low- and middle-income demographics, who may have access to mobile devices but otherwise have limited access to more expensive technologies or services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1405-1414
Number of pages10
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2024


  • Visual impairment
  • application evaluation metric
  • database
  • low vision tools
  • low-cost AT
  • mobile applications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation
  • Speech and Hearing


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