A note-taker app for the visually impaired
According to the National Federation of the Blind there are estimated to be over 6.6 million Americans who are visually impaired. When using a computer, many rely on Braille as a practical solution to typing and editing, using specialised keyboards or overlays and a refreshing Braille display.
iBrailler Notes began as a 2011 summer project by a team at Stanford University. It’s an app for iPhones and iPads, targeted at making device usage easier and faster for the visually impaired. Essentially, iBrailler Notes is a solution for basic word processing on touchscreens, an increasingly dominant format in our daily communications, resulting in those unable to use touchscreens being socially excluded.
Imagine placing your fingers on an iPad screen. The standalone iBrailler app forms a keyboard underneath your fingers, wherever they are. Interaction with the keyboard is then akin to a standard Brailler, with combinations of keys pressed forming different typed characters. iBrailler adds to this keyboard with a series of intuitive, easy gestures that manipulate text: left pinky for Backspace, the right one for the Enter button, half- and full-circles and more. Users can navigate paragraphs, as well as cut, copy and paste, and for the smaller iPhone screen can do all this with only six fingers.
Feedback for iBrailler Notes has been impressive, with the app actively used at blind schools and institutes both in the US and through partnerships in Sri Lanka. The team behind the project is coming out with an Android version soon. Whatever your device, have a look at the videos of iBrailler Notes in action on their website and see why one user calls it “a breakthrough in the field of Braille writing devices.”
Image 'Braille' courtesy of Roland DG Mid Europe Italia.
Last updated: 12th of October, 2015