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Andrew Leibs

AAC App Make Says Small Keyboards Often Work Best for Blind Users

By February 28, 2014

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Some blind RocketKeys users find smaller keys grouped together easier to navigate than large ones.

If a visually impaired app user can customize their iOS keypad, you might think they'd select the biggest possible keys.

But Tony Gross of Toronto-based MyVoice --  makers of AAC apps RocketKeys and TalkRocket Go -- discovered something different at this year's Assistive Technology Industry Association show in Orlando.

"It turns out many of the low vision and blind users had best success with very small, very close keyboards and a tiny cursor for more responsive audio navigation feedback." says Gross.

Listening for VoiceOver to call out keys removes the difficulty of seeing to press the right ones. Blind users also liked the app's "hover" voice, a secondary voice to distinguish key location from final selection.

Gross said some low-vision users did prefer large, high-contrast keys. RocketKeys provides 3 color schemes with 3 additional contrast variations available through "Invert Colors," an iPad accessibility setting. Adjusting cursor size and "opacity" helped, too, Gross says.

RocketKeys provides a range of keyboard options, including the standard layout, alphabetical, and a specially created one called Optimus, designed for typing with the fewest possible hand movements.

Comments
March 3, 2014 at 4:55 pm
(1) `David says:

I wondered if they make a Dvorak keyboard layout?

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