2 March 2018
by: Nancy Roque
Less than 20 years ago, texting was a novelty service on mobile phones that required users to become well-acquainted with their cellular’s keyboard if they wanted to master the T9 format of predictive text. Nowadays, we can text with smooth swipes across the keyboard, with the technology within these phones being smart enough to piece together your intended word by interpreting the keys you’re swiping over. Better yet, we can talk to our phones instead of using our hands at all.
This differs greatly from the fact that we can call our friends to talk to them, because it’s becoming more and more likely that you’d prefer to send your friend a text than pick up the phone and chat for 30 minutes. In fact, the amount of monthly text messages sent has risen by a staggering 7,700% over the last ten years.
So what are we doing if we’re not actively typing on our phones? We’re talking to them.
Talking via a Phone Takes on a Whole New Meaning
Usually, when someone mentions that they’re talking on the phone, our first thought is that they’re actively participating in a vocal conversation with someone directly on the other end of the line. This likely response is due to the decades during which the only methods of communication required you to be face-to-face with a person, send a letter or telegram, or picking up a landline. Eventually, we were able to send friends, family, and coworkers emails to communicate with them – thus starting our interest with using technology as a form of instantaneously communication.
Even though I’m considered a pretty typical millennial by everyone (I do love avocado on toast and Instagram), I distinctly remember spending hours sat on a chair, clinging to a landline phone in my family’s kitchen as three friends and I chatted through one of Florida’s hurricanes.
Nowadays, it’s not likely that cell phones would be able to keep steady service throughout a huge storm like that. However, it’s also not likely that anyone would want to have a four hour boredom-induced conversation. In 2018, we’d rather talk to our phones.
Voice Commands are Showcasing the Ease of Technology
Though texting and driving is still a deadly problem, more and more people are adopting the “talk to your phone” method and using voice-to-text to respond to messages or even instruct their phone’s “personal assistant,” like Siri, to call someone.
Overall, voice commands are allowing us to talk to our phones and giving us more freedom than ever to go hands-free. Whether that means you want to call a friend, play a specific song, or pull up directions, chances are your phone can do it all from within your pocket, purse, or while hitched to your car’s mobile mount.
When Talking to Your Phone is a Necessity
One of the most wonderful things about this type of adaptive and responsive technology is the fact that people with visual impairments can use their phone’s accessibility features to effectively turn their phone into an adaptive method of communication.
With these features, users can set their phone up to read aloud to them and, with the growing use of image descriptions, experience the full depth of social media and our mobile technology.
By scrolling across their phone screen, these devices will seamlessly state what is being hovered over so that the user can navigate apps and visualize the images posted on Instagram, Facebook, and other programs (assuming they have image descriptions are being employed to allow the screen readers in our phones to function).