If you've never guided someone who's visually impaired before, it can be a little daunting. But don't worry. We're sharing some tips you can keep in mind when you're doing visual interpretation through Be My Eyes to ensure that the encounter goes smoothly:
- Be friendly and patient - It can take a little bit of time for the blind user to complete the task with your direction, and it might require a little back and forth. Be patient and keep guiding - eventually you'll get it!
- Listen to the caller and what they need assistance with - The caller will usually need a specific piece of information. Listen to what they need and focus on that instead of describing everything you see.
- Avoid phrases like 'over there' or 'right here' - If you have no or limited visual inputs, such phrases don't really mean anything. Instead, be specific and say 'the object is right in front of you, about five inches away' or 'put your hand out in front of you, move it forward and then to the right'.
- Be specific about the object you're talking about - Instead of saying 'move it to the right' identify whether you're talking about the object or the camera, as it can create a lot of confusion.
- Be as descriptive as possible - Both when guiding the caller to the right frame and when describing the desired object, be as descriptive as possible. Descriptive language as 'move your camera about two inches to the right' and 'it's a button down shirt in light blue with white buttons' are much more informative than 'move it to the right' and 'it's a blue shirt'.
- Turn on the torch - If there's not enough light, you can turn on the callers torch in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. The torch will automatically turn off once the call ends.
- Ask the caller to place object on a steady surface - If the camera is struggling to get a clear image, it can help to ask the caller to place the object on a steady surface. If the caller is holding the object in one hand, and their phone in the other, both the object and the camera are moving, and it is difficult for the camera to focus.
- Use the clock-system - If you're guiding the caller to locate an object, it can be very useful to use the clock-system. Imagine seeing a clock in front of you, and guide the caller to the placement if the object compared to the time on the clock, eg. 'the tomato can is in front of you at two'o'clock'.
- Their right is your right, and their left is your left - Don't be afraid to use left and right. In most cases (unless they have turned their phone around), your right is their right, and your left is their left.
- Don't assume that the caller can't see anything at all - Blindness is a spectrum, and some users of Be My Eyes have very little to no sight at all, while some still have some useful vision. Don't be baffled if the caller is fully aware of eg. the location of an object - they might be able to see the outline of the object, but not able to read the smaller print.
You are now well-prepared to guide a blind or low-vision user on Be My Eyes. And remember: solving a task on Be My Eyes is team work, so don't feel nervous about your performance!