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How To Access ChatGPT As A Person Who Is Blind or Low Vision: A Comprehensive Guide

Released: 5/25/2023


Author: Aaron Di Blasi, Publisher, Top Tech Tidbits


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ChatGPT logo. The logo is based on a geometric emblem, drawn in thick lines over a solid background, which is accompanied by a modest title case inscription. The ChatGPT icon looks similar to the ancient Armenian symbol of infinity, but high symbolizes eternal life and development.


The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) has greatly transformed the way we interact with technology.

One such AI, ChatGPT, can hold meaningful and complex conversations, which can be a powerful tool for everyone, including people who are blind or have low vision.

This article will provide a comprehensive guide on how a blind or visually impaired person can access and use ChatGPT for the first time.

Step 1: Setting Up the Appropriate Assistive Technology

The first step is to ensure you have the appropriate assistive technology installed on your device.

There are various assistive technologies available that can help people with visual impairments access digital content.

These include Screen Readers, Braille Displays, and Speech Recognition Software.

1.) Screen Readers: A screen reader is a form of assistive technology that renders text and image content as speech or Braille. Some popular screen readers are JAWS (Job Access With Speech), NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access), and VoiceOver (built into Apple devices). Ensure that your screen reader is set up and functioning properly on your device.

2.) Braille Displays: If you use Braille, a Braille display can be used in conjunction with a screen reader. This device converts on-screen text into Braille characters.

3.) Speech Recognition Software: This software converts spoken words into text. Popular options include Dragon NaturallySpeaking and the built-in speech recognition systems in Windows, Android, macOS and iOS.

Step 2: Accessing the ChatGPT Website And Creating A Free or Paid Account with OpenAI

Once your assistive technology is properly set up you can navigate to the ChatGPT website. The exact steps may vary based on the assistive technology you're using, but in general, you'll follow these steps:

1.) Open Your Web Browser: Use your screen reader or speech recognition software to open your web browser.

2.) Enter The URL: Navigate to the URL field of your browser and type or dictate "https://chat.openai.com". Hit enter or instruct your software to do so.

3.) Navigate The Website: Use your assistive technology to navigate the website. Most screen readers will read the site content out loud, including menu items and buttons.

You will need to create a free account with OpenAI in order to use ChatGPT. This is true for both free and paid accounts.

Step 3: Interacting with ChatGPT

Once you've accessed the ChatGPT website and created and logged into your free or paid account, you can now start a conversation.

Here's a general overview of that process:

1.) Start a New Conversation: Find the button to start a new conversation. This button is currently labeled as "New Chat." Use your screen reader or Braille display to locate this button and select it. Once selected place your cursor inside the field labeled "Send a message..."

2.) Enter Your Message: Also called a prompt. This will give you the ability to type or dictate a message to ChatGPT. For blind or visually impaired users, utilizing the recently released ChatGPT app for iPhone, which has its own built-in speech recognition software, may now be the easiest and most convenient method.

3.) Send Your Message: Once your message or prompt has been composed, find the "Send" button and select it.

4.) Receive and Read ChatGPT's Response: After sending your message or prompt, ChatGPT will respond.

Depending upon your current hardware / software setup, your screen reader or Braille display may or may not automatically read out this response.

5.) Rinse and Repeat: Repeat this process anytime you want to consult with ChatGPT.

To take your experiences beyond experimentation, learn more about prompt engineering techniques.

Example Use Cases:

Use Case 1: Information Retrieval

ChatGPT can be used as a quick and effective information retrieval tool. For instance, if a visually impaired user is studying for a history test and needs to understand the causes of World War II, they can ask ChatGPT, "What were the causes of World War II?" ChatGPT will then provide a comprehensive answer, which the user's assistive technology can read out loud or display in Braille.

Use Case 2: Language Learning

ChatGPT is also a great tool for language learning. If a user is learning a new language and wants to practice their skills, they can converse with ChatGPT in that language. For example, they can write or dictate, "How do you say 'good morning' in French?" ChatGPT will respond with the correct phrase, "Bonjour", and the user's assistive technology will convey this information.

Conclusion:

Though the above steps provide important general guidelines for interacting with ChatGPT, it's important to remember that every individual's needs and preferences will vary. However, with the right setup and understanding of the platform, ChatGPT can be a valuable tool for the blind and visually impaired, providing a new avenue for communication, learning, and exploration.

The world of AI continues to evolve, and with it, the opportunities for accessibility grow as well. As artificial intelligence like ChatGPT becomes more sophisticated, it's exciting to consider how it will further enhance accessibility and inclusivity, empowering every individual, regardless of their physical abilities, to engage and interact with the digital world on the very same footing as everyone else.

Here's to that.

Cheers,

Aaron Di Blasi, PMP

Publisher (2020-Present)
Top Tech Tidbits
The Week's News in Access Technology
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Publisher (2022-Present)
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