With smartphones being omnipresent in today’s world, it’s easy to take them for granted. Unfortunately, there are a number of people who find modern smartphones either too confusing or too difficult to use. Elderly people are prone to being left behind as they find it hard to adapt to rapidly changing technology. Similarly, visually-impaired folks may have difficulty operating a device that relies on hand-eye coordination.
Fortunately, there are ways to combat these problems.
Some may find that specially-designed smartphones are the way to go. Alternatively, if you already have a phone, you can tweak the appearance of your Android phone with apps called launchers. Launchers can change the entire look and feel of your Android device, making them easier to use. The following Android launchers are designed with seniors and the visually-impaired in mind.
1. Grand Launcher
Living up to its name, the Grand Launcher does away with flashy UI elements and snazzy designs in favor of a big, bold interface that prioritizes the important stuff for older users – phone, SMS, photos and (of course) flashlight.
It’s filled with neat touches, like a red notification icon that pops out against the blue background to tell you when you have a missed call or new message as well as a virtual keyboard that displays letters in alphabetical order. Depending on the user’s comfort with tech, the QWERTY keyboard may be more familiar; however, so you can always change it to that if you like.
It costs $8.49, but it’s great value, as after several years of development, it continues to be updated and improved.
2. Help Launcher
If you’re looking for a free, basic launcher that is easy to operate, then Help Launcher is a great option.
Help Launcher offers all the essential features you may need your phone for, like calling and texting. It makes the information in your contact list large and easy to read, and when you click on a contact you have the option to call, message, or view their information. Additionally, it has options to take and view photos and change the settings all from the main screen.
Unfortunately, Help Launcher doesn’t enlarge everything. For example, when you open a messaging app like WhatsApp or select SMS, Help Launcher simply moves you to the app. If that is likely to be frustrating for you and you need larger views on everything, try the next app on our list – BIG Launcher.
3. BIG Launcher
BIG Launcher isn’t just for seniors. Instead, it is a launcher designed for anyone who wants to “dumb down” their overly complicated smartphone.
Big Launcher rejigs Android into a simplified user interface that “just works.” The launcher brings all of your essential apps (call, text, photo) to a large, easy-to-navigate screen so you can access what you need without scrolling through any menus. Additionally, as the name implies, everything on screen is “bigified.” This makes icons clear and easy to differentiate, something visually impaired persons can appreciate.
The app has both free and premium versions. You will have to download companion apps to make contacts and text messaging larger. Additionally, the app requires purchases for features like password protection. However, we suggest users install the free version to give it a test drive before committing to the purchase.
4. Elementique Senior Launcher
If you need a colorful launcher with large, easy-to-press options and step-by-step guides for everything, then you may want to check out Elementique Senior Launcher and its affiliated apps.
Most of the other launchers on this list simply help people see their phone’s basic functions on the main screen, then reroute them to the correct app based on their selection. However, Elementique takes it all a step further by providing large-format versions of all of the basic apps alongside questions to help guide individuals to the right place. So, when you push the email button, it asks what you want to do within the email app (view messages, send a message, etc.), and then directs you appropriately.
While Elementique is free to use, it does require a bit of downloading on the front end since each function (calling, texting, email, photos) has its own individual piece of the puzzle as a stand-alone app. However, once everything is installed, it’s easy to operate and even easier to read.
5. Simple Launcher
Simple Launcher is a free Android launcher that enlarges everything so people who can’t see the standard-sized app icons can navigate their phone more easily.
The launcher lets users keep some of the visual aspects of the natural Android setup while also accommodating visual needs with large, easy-to-see app buttons on the home screen. Furthermore, you can use this app to create preferred contact lists, place necessary apps in an accessible location, and even set up an SOS list in case of emergency.
Finally, the app offers a unique option that children and grandchildren of senior individuals may appreciate: an edit-lock switch. Essentially, this switch makes it hard for someone to accidentally delete or move an app. This can be helpful if the user often presses buttons unintentionally when the phone is in a pocket or purse.
6. Senior Safety Phone
Senior Safety Phone was created with one goal in mind – to make any Android smartphone more senior friendly. When you check out the app, you’ll see that it definitely meets that goal.
Senior Safety Phone takes the native Android launcher and transforms it into a large, easy-to-navigate home screen where you can set up specific items for quick use. It also lets you set up a preferred contact list, and lock volume controls and display settings. You can even set the device to automatically close apps daily to maximize battery life.
Plus, the launcher offers specific functions that would benefit senior users, such as medication reminders and a vision enhancer. Senior Safety Phone is free to download and easy to set up.
7. Simple Mode
If you’re looking for an app to make navigating your Android device easier without making it look like a phone for grandma, then you’ll want to check out Simple Mode.
Simple Mode breaks down your Android operating system to display all the necessary and most-used functions in large, easy-to-press squares on the home screen. You can customize these squares easily to display the contacts and apps you want. The launcher is completely free to use.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I set a new launcher as the default on my Android device?
Most of the launchers on this list will ask you if you want to set them as the default launcher after installation. However, you can navigate to “Settings -> Apps,” then scroll down to “Default Home Apps” to select the launcher you’d like to use as the default.
Do Android launchers drain your battery faster?
Most of the time, no. These launchers are designed to take up very little space on your phone and don’t drain the battery any more than the native launcher.
Is it safe to install a new launcher on your device?
Most launcher apps in the Google Play Store are perfectly safe to install on your device. However, you should always check the reviews and ratings for any application you install on your phone, and that includes launcher applications.
Image credit: Kampus Production on Pexels
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