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Old 07-08-2005, 06:40 AM
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 2,019
Best mp3 player for a blind person?

I'm looking to help out someone who is visually impaired... There's no way they will be able to navigate a visual menu, so they'll have to do it by simplicity of the interface.

They're looking for a device that will primarily be used for audiobooks, and secondarily for music.

I've not been able to find a device that contains any audio menus, nor any device which contains large-enough text

If anyone here is vision-impaired or knows a vision-imparied person, I'd be grateful for a recommendation. Thanks.
Old 07-08-2005, 08:18 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,497
Ipod shuffle, maybe? It doesn't even have a screen, it either plays at random, or from pregenerated play lists.
Old 07-08-2005, 09:00 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 4,094
My mom is blind, and I don't think there is really any MP3 player that would work well for a blind person. I got her a Panasonic CD player for Christmas that will also play MP3s, but of course they need to be on a CD first. That's about as close as I could get. And I still needed to make a tape for her describing what each button did so she'd know what to do to get the CDs I recorded for her to play. Cassette recorders tend to be the easiest audio devices for blind people to use.

This is the CD player I bought her.

Maybe some day someone will make a player that speaks when you press a button and tells you what is going to happen. That technology certainly exists.
Old 07-08-2005, 09:01 AM
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: In flight
Posts: 4,079
I would think an iPod Shuffle would work great. It has no screen at all, and thus is practically designed for use by blind people. All interaction with it is done by buttons and lights. You can specify playlists on the computer, and then either run through then randomly or in order. It works on both Macs and PCs, and costs $99 for 512MB version and $150 for a 1GB version. The rule of thumb is about one minute of playtime for every megabyte of storage, but that will be a bit conservative for audiobooks (since they don't require as much fidelity as music, and thus are usually more compressed).

The shuffle also has good battery life, around twelve to fourteen hours I think.

I don't think you'll ever find an MP3 player that has large print on the screen - the whole point of these things is to be as small as possible. And I'm pretty sure that no one makes one with audio menus.
Old 07-08-2005, 09:23 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 4,094
There's also the Book Port and the Book Courier, which are multi-purpose devices specifically designed for the blind. They can play MP3s in addition to doing a lot of other things, but they are accordingly more expensive than an iPod.
Old 07-08-2005, 09:53 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 13
I agree with the others who have suggested the iPod Shuffle, it's very intuitively designed and easy to manage. Plus, it has a cord so one can wear it like a necklace.
Old 07-08-2005, 10:05 AM
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Alabama
Posts: 13,974
I also recommend the iPod Shuffle. I often use it in a cleanroom - I keep the iPod Shuffle in my pocket inside the cleanroom suit, and I can still feel the buttons and do the basic operations (pause, volume, ff/rw).

But you should be aware, the reason it's simple to operate is because it doesn't have much functionality. If you keep both music files and audiobooks on one iPod Shuffle, you can't really switch between the two as groups. You just have to keep skipping to the next "song" until you hit the song or book you want to listen to.
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