Are there plans to make Duolingo more disabled friendly (visual/hearing impairment)?


I am writing on behalf of my Grandfather, who is an active and enthusiastic member of the Duolingo community. He is 90 years, a world war 2 veteran and is passionate about self-improvement. Every day, he believes in training and exercising to keep himself healthy, both body and mind. Mentally, he is very sharp.

We downloaded Duolingo for him just over a year ago, and he loves to use it to learn Spanish. Sadly, his hearing and his sight are declining rapidly. Ideally, he now requires an adapted version of Duolingo, and I wondered if this is an option that the Duolingo team would consider?

Currently, my Grandfather is struggling to type his answers on the iPad, and he finds it hard to hear the Spanish vocabulary when it is spoken to him. This is what he requires.

1) A setting where he can make the Duolingo text much larger and bolder when he reads it on the iPad or iPhone (we have already done this on all of his apple devices, and we have done it to all of the apps that we can, but this would be perfect if this could happen inside the app- it does not work if you update the IPad settings, as the text will not get bigger even if you go through the IPad accessibility functions).

2) A setting where the background colour could be changed to see his letters better (maybe from a white to a light blue?). This would really help him to see what modules are next.

3) A setting where when the app talks in Spanish, it maybe shows the words spoken, perhaps with words missing, so he can fill in the gaps?

4) Alongside this, he loves doing the sentence work where you have to click and drag the words to make up the correct sentence. He struggles to type or to use the microphone to say his answers, as he cannot see the buttons. He can say the answers to me, and I can type them, but that is very intensive, so he will just type down a few letters to move on to a question that he can do. This means he is not making the progress that the app wants. Could this become a default feature, so he does not have to use a keyboard? It could really help his confidence.

Whilst there is a Tiny Cards app, he cannot make the text big enough to see or turn up the volume loud enough (even with hearing aids) to hear the words being spoken. Besides, he loves the Duolingo app, and he is 90, so he does not want to change what he is doing.

Because he cannot answer all of the questions with his visual and hearing impairments, he is not making the progress to unlock new material and he often complains that 'I'm doing the same thing over and over again'. He is finding it disheartening. He is not interested in levels, only in trying new material. If we could even pay to unlock new modules and skip the tests at the end of modules (I know that many people would gasp at such an idea), that would be fine for us as it means he can interact with new material.

I realise that asking for a different style app might mean the progression of his language ability might be different from how Duolingo does things, but he is so keen to learn and only a few modifications could help enormously.

Losing his sight and hearing has been a real adjustment for him, and we would love, as a family, for my Grandfather to still have the confidence to learn the language he has come to love.

If there are no plans to retool the app to make it easier for the visually impaired, are there any other apps or resources you would recommend?

Kind regards,


January 31, 2017


Here's another thread about using Duolingo while deaf: .

February 1, 2017

At another user in the comments points out that he is blind and uses Duolingo with a screen reader.

February 1, 2017

This is why I would love to see Hebrew have the vowel points so that I know how it is pronounced. I don't process what I hear very well.

February 2, 2017
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