Mar 12, 2012

Mobile Money for the Blind

Georgia Tech researchers have built a prototype app for touch-screen mobile devices that enable users to text without the need to look at the mobile gadget screen. The free open-source app called BrailleTouch, incorporates the Braille writing system used by the visually impaired. 

I have always wondered how blind Kenyans use mobile money, especially how they use M-PESA. What are their experiences with M-PESA? Is Safaricom aware of the challenges blind people face when using M-PESA? Why has Safaricom not designed an M-PESA product for blind Kenyans or for Kenyans with disabilities for that matter?

According to the Kenya National Survey for Persons with Disabilities (2007), approximately 518,000 Kenyans are visually impaired.BrailleTouch has got me thinking that it is possible to have a Braille technology for mobile money. The biggest challenge is that this technology only works on smart phones whereas a majority of Kenyans own feature phones. Or is there another better way we can eliminate the challenges blind Kenyans face when using mobile money? What are your thoughts?