Tuesday, January 7, 2014

BrailleTouch: Innovative App but Overpriced

The App Features
The BrailleTouch App for iPhone and iPod Touch promises its users the opportunity to type on a Braille touch screen keyboard.  This capability makes it possible for users that write Braille the opportunity to type e-mails, text messages and tweets from their iPhone after purchasing the full version of the app after the free download from the app store.

The BrailleTouch Keyboard is laid out so that the user that learned to write Braille on the Perkins Brailler can access the keypad with the same fingers that he or she uses on the Brailler or other electronic Braille writing devices.  However, because of the layout of the keypad, the user must hold their iPhone in a landscape position so they can use their pointer, middle and ring fingers on both their right and left hands to type on the BrailleTouch Keypad. As the user types on the keypad, the voice over features within the app will dictate the Braille letters as the user types. 

Screen shot of Braille user display on the iPhone

The recommended way to hold the device for best accessibility

My Take On the App
Becoming comfortable typing Braille on my iPhone in this position took about two-three hours.  At first it felt awkward and my ability to type words was slow.  However, keep in mind I do not use Braille as a primary means of written communication but this change in ergonomics does require a learning curve for those that are used to writing in a traditional Braille keyboard position.

While the full version of this app is one of the first Braille touch screen apps that connects users to Twitter, e-mail and text messaging communication options, I feel that asking $19.99 for the full version of the app is an expensive price for the limited amount of features and the time it takes to functionally type on Braille keyboard.  At that price, I  would recommend that the  developers consider linking the app to more social networking sites and the Library of Congress online catalog (BARD.

Overall, this is a great Braille touch screen but it needs more access options at the price the developers are currently asking with the time it takes to learn to type on the app.

Below is a link to a video of a live demo of the app:

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