Tablet for a one-armed friend
October 8, 2012 5:19 PM   Subscribe

A friend has lost their (non-writing) arm in an accident. We want to buy them a tablet. They are not familiar with computers and have, until now, lived a nomadic life. What should we buy and are there extras which could make the learning and use easier?

I'm leaning toward an iPad with the works but am keen to consider android options.

Are their any additional items we could buy that would make using a tablet easier for a one armed person?

The person and purchase is in Australia.
posted by the fish to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Triangular pillow for propping, sturdy easy firm stand for table.

My kids have mastered the squeeze tug to unplug the iPad, but would Suggest one of those leaky chargers (where you put your item on a charging pad rather than plugging in a charging cord) if they work on iPads.

Id seriously consider a grippy Otter box case if they're worried about dropping it. Helpful but makes it REALLY heavy & harder to cord charge.

A roomy padded case to put it in; with a flip over non zipper flap. Not a super tight one so it's easier to get it in & out.

Another consideration might be one handed typing. I've read about the FrogPad; it's a track pad with stickers, a typing program, & drivers, iirc.

If you do iPad, show them accessibility options. My home key is broken & I'm too cheap to fix it, so I use the virtual one on acessability options.
posted by tilde at 5:37 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


This isn't a direct answer to any of your questions but I suggest you get in touch with the occupational therapists who will be or have been working with your friend to help. Confidentiality needs will mean they can't discuss the particulars, obviously, but they should have lots of knowledge about how to adapt the setup to increase its utility to a person working with just the dominant hand.

Are you doing this as a surprise or with your friend's knowledge? (It is a nice thing either way, of course.)
posted by gingerest at 5:39 PM on October 8, 2012


Good idea re the physical therapist recommendations, gingerest. The gift was not my idea, I'm just the tech minded mutual friend who's been asked to research it.
posted by the fish at 5:46 PM on October 8, 2012


If they only have one arm, they might really appreciate a stand. I know a lot of cases have built-in stands, but they could be difficult to set up with only one hand. A triangular pillow like the one mentioned above would be good, but it's bulky. Dick Smith have a decent Belkin one. But you can always make your own. Also, lots of Etsy options.

If they are going to continue to be nomadic, maybe a car charger for the device? There are some really cheap and good ones available.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:49 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hm, I've never felt the iPad's size was a problem for me personally, but I do tend to use both hands to prop it a little while reading. Rumors around the iPad Mini (~7.8") are seriously heating up, so you might try holding off on this for a couple of weeks at least.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 5:52 PM on October 8, 2012


I can't speak for one-armed people, but as a two armed, person, I always hold my tablet in one hand and "use" it with the other. Or, since "always" kinda lies... I sometimes hold it with two hands, much like a physical book (not a lot better for your intended use).

I suppose laying it flat on a table/desk would work, but not at an even remotely convenient angle.

Why not just go with a notebook? The screen stays at the angle you put it, and you can type one-handed pretty efficiently.
posted by pla at 5:57 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Kneeboard
posted by rhizome at 5:59 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you don't want to buy an expensive stand for the tablet, a good old plate stand (L shaped, folds up) from your local dollar store will work great, have clearance underneath for the charger and is light for travel.

They will need a stylus.

A rubbery or silicon case so it can sit on your lap without slipping off.
posted by shazzam! at 5:59 PM on October 8, 2012


Look for a case that doubles as a stand and props it at a convenient angle. Linky. Also, make sure he knows how to set it up. I had a total stranger at a library ask for my assistance. For some people, this is not obvious or intuitive.

I have no experience with iPad but I do have an Android. The things you can't readily do on it because the system is too new and no one has written an Android app for that have been pretty frustrating at times. I don't know for fact that iPads are better about that but it is my general impression that this is a bigger issue with Android.
posted by Michele in California at 6:36 PM on October 8, 2012


Hmmmmmm...just a thought, but I'm holding and writing this message at the same time with one hand, my left, on a samsung galaxy smart phone (not the newest, the one prior - I'm a girl with smallish hands and it's a little narrower). I am right handed. This is an awesome idea, btw!
posted by jrobin276 at 6:55 PM on October 8, 2012


There's Assistive Touch integrated into iOS, which allows you to one-handedly (or really, single-fingeredly) activate the multitouch gestures, so that's one thing that might help you decide. As far as I know, android tablets' user experiences are less forgiving towards non-conventional needs.
posted by undue influence at 4:42 AM on October 9, 2012


One nice thing that my Samsung tablet has is voice recognition, which would be a big help to your friend.
posted by NoraCharles at 1:50 PM on October 9, 2012


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