Book publishers offer large-print editions for elderly readers and people with vision problems.
Now there's a "large-print" interface for Android: Big Launcher.
This ingenious app replaces the stock home screen with one that's large, easy to read, and easy to operate. That makes it a good choice not just for seniors, the eyesight-challenged, and the tech-unsavvy, but also folks who like to mount their phones on their car dashboards.
True to its name, Big Launcher provides an interface that's, well, big. In place of Android's usual assortment of small icons and even smaller icon labels, you get six large, immediately recognizable buttons: phone, message, camera, photos, SOS (which can be set to dial or message an emergency contact), and applications.
Tapping Phone takes you to a submenu with its own extra-large options, including My Contacts, Starred, Dial Number, and a list of recent calls. Tapping Message lets you read or compose text messages, and so on.
Although the Applications button steers you to a simple list of your installed apps, it probably goes without saying that when you launch any of them, you'll be faced with that app's default size. In other words, Big Launcher is exactly that: a big launcher. It doesn't do anything to upsize third-party apps, nor could it.
Big Launcher offers a choice of three text sizes, the default of which is already pretty big. But for someone with serious vision issues, the "bigger" and "biggest" settings might be the difference between being able to use the phone and not being able to.
Other customization options include changing the individual icons for any given app and changing the apps themselves. You can also add additional screens, though this might prove a little confusing for some users, as Big Launcher doesn't allow for swiping between them. Instead, you tap to move forward a screen -- and the only way back is via the phone's own Back button. I also found the actual app- and icon-customization screens to be a bit confusing.
On the flipside, the app smartly integrates itself with your phone's physical Home button: when you tap, you're given a choice between Big Launcher and the stock Home screen. That makes it easy to switch back and forth between them as needed.
Big Launcher costs $4.99, though there's a feature-limited demo version you can try for free. For anyone who's ever squinted at a smartphone screen, or just wished for an easier interface, this is $5 very well spent.
Have you found a launcher you like better? Tell me about it in the comments.