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Social networking through voice rather than vision

A free communication app based on voice messages is proving popular with blind and visually impaired users, and has launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to help expand its community.

Users of the Vorail app communicate by recording questions or thoughts as short voice messages, which are available for other users to listen to and reply. Users just need to set up a basic profile, without any photos or images.

One of Vorail’s co-founders, Tom Rosenthal, told e-Access Bulletin that although the app wasn’t designed specifically for blind and visually impaired people, most users are from these groups. As a result, the team behind the app now dedicate resources to making sure it is accessible. Rosenthal said: “Vorail was designed to create a safer place where we can see the true nature of others … There’s much more to a person than a photo or what is revealed in text messages. That’s why we developed Vorail – the voice is a window to the soul.”

Around 80,000 questions a day are asked on the app, covering a huge range of topics. Subjects discussed include: Braille and guide dogs; personal reflections on blindness; requests for relationship advice; and thoughts on anything from favourite foods to nightclubs.

Some Vorail members use the app for dating, but it is also widely used to meet new friends or simply connect with others. The user-community features people who are married, engaged, dating, single and even families, Rosenthal said. The first Vorail marriage is taking place soon, between two people who met using the app, one from the UK, the other from the United States.

Rosenthal said that while social media platforms like Facebook and Snapchat are useful for networking with existing friends, Vorail allows its community to meet new people easily. Similarly, while popular meeting and dating sites are based around users’ photos, “Vorail was designed for people that want to see beyond the picture … Technology can do better at helping us find people who we share chemistry with,” Rosenthal said.

Vorail went live at the end of 2015 on Apple’s iOS operating system, and recently launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to gauge public interest in expanding to the Android operating system as well.

Find out more at Vorail’s Kickstarter page:
http://eab.li/1n .

Download Vorail for free at the Apple iOS App Store:
http://eab.li/1p .

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