Facebook, YouTube, Netflix and more get eye-tracking apps from Tobii

Modern apps and services are an assortment when it involves accessibility, and other people with conditions that prevent them from using the standard smartphone or mouse and keyboard don’t often have good alternatives. Eye-tracking tech leader Tobii has engineered an answer with a collection of popular apps that are built for navigation through gaze alone.

Working with a third-party developer that focuses on accessibility development, the company’s new suite of apps includes: Facebook, FB Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, Google, Google Calendar, Google Translate, Netflix, Spotify, YouTube, MSN and Android Messages.

These custom apps are for Tobii’s eye-tracking I-Series tablets or Windows PCs using Tobii peripherals and software.

Previously, users would generally need to use the generic web interfaces for those services, or some quite extra layer on top of the native apps. It can work, but the buttons and menus are generally not designed to be used via eye tracking, and should be small or finicky.

The new versions are still based on the online apps, but designed with gaze tracking in mind, with large, clear controls on one side and therefore the app’s normal interface on the correct. There are simple directional controls, of course, but also context and app-specific ones, like “genre” when browsing Netflix.

The company highlights one user, Delaina Parrish (in the lead image), who relies on apps like Instagram to create her Fearless Independence brand but has been limited in how easily she could use them because of her spastic paralysis . “These accessible apps have improved my daily productivity, my channels of communicating personally and for business, and my overall independence,” she said within the Tobii announcement.

It’s hard to overestimate the difference between a tool or interface that’s “good enough” and ready to be utilized by people with disabilities, and one that’s built with accessibility as a goal from the beginning . The new apps should be available on compatible devices now.

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