Many times, human rights are echoed in our ears about how it’s our right to have freedom of speech, right to life and more often we hear that major right, a right to Education. Four Makerere University students have developed an Android app for the visually impaired called Visual + as part of their final year thesis.
World Health Organization (1997) estimated the number of visually impaired people worldwide to be 135 million. Visual impairment is a great challenge worldwide a factor that encourage the young developers to come up with this app idea. Focusing on Uganda as a country, the number of visually impaired people has gone up to 1 million from 700,000 people. (National Union Of Disabled Persons, 2008). This group of people also has the required facilities that are not readily accessible in various parts of the country. More to this, the students with these facilities also have a challenge in accessing reading material for the blind, printing notes in brails or even playing educative games.
The App developers Moris Atwine, Mwesigwa David, Mubiru Joel and Chemyolei Paul tell Techjaja that Visual+ is simply an easy to use and interactive mobile application that manages the most frequently used applications on a mobile device. You can see from the basic UI below.
How it works
Visual + is an easy to use gesture based interaction and voice commands mobile application on android devices for the visually impaired!
Visual + works in such way that, a user (visually impaired) is required to be putting on headsets to clearly listen to the voice commands at the time of initiation and to enhance your interaction with the app since it uses voice.
To initiate, the user shuffles the mobile device which activates the application.
There are four features on the home screen which include phone, music, notes and personal.
- By swiping to the right, the gesture helps the user to access prerecorded audio notes that are stored on the mobile device as audio books, quotes.
- Swiping down, this gesture brings a lot of personalization tools that can be used by the user such as recording their own notes or speeches. A user is then prompted to swipe the screen to a given direction for app to register their choice for example swiping screen to the right to make a recording of their own!
- By swiping to the left, gesture helps the user access his or her music, reading material. A list of all these choices is displayed on screen, also echoed in user’s ear piece. The user will then swipe to left in order to listen to the music list, or swipe to the right to play the stored music.
- Swiping up, this gesture displays the phone menu where a user can add a phone number and be able to make a call of his her choice using the voice prompts. Forexample call Moris, once it’s saved, it processes the call automatically.
Note: if a user wants to go back to a previous page as well exit the app, he/she double taps the screen.