Author: Julián Mª Morejón Carmona
Date: February 2021
Brailliac: Braille Tutor is an educational application developed by Brailliac, available on the Google Play Store, compatible with Android devices.
This application allows us to learn Braille to a very advanced level, easily on our smart devices, by performing various exercises or tests, with a variety of activities to be carried out, together with a very interesting level unlocking system, which makes learning and progressing in learning is a lot of fun.
In this review we will do an analysis of Brailliac: Braille Tutor focused on Android mobile devices with version 9, because there is no version for IOs by this developer.
Next, we analyze how the applications interact with the user and the user with them. We will start by analyzing the interface.
When it opens, a window is displayed with different options to start our wanderings in the app. At first glance, it seems like a very simple interface, but we have a wide variety of sections and options in it. In total, in the main interface we have 6 possible options, which would be: Dictionary, Practice, Challenge, Translation, Topics and Settings. Point out that the Challenge option will be shown with a padlock, since we will have to reach level 2 in the app to unlock this activity, it would also happen with the Translation option, only in this case we will have to reach level 10 to be able to access to her.
Access to the settings is located in the last of the available options of the main interface of the app, in this section we can make some basic adjustments in the application, as well as some complementary options, such as the transfer or reception of data or access to optional in-app purchases.
It should be noted that when selecting any of the available activities, a small interface will open where we can choose between the different exercises that the activity includes, as we unblock them and if we want to carry out the exercise translating from Braille or writing in Braille.
The interface, therefore, although it is simple, includes many very interesting options, being able to access them efficiently and without excessive complexity, something that many users will like.
This application does not incorporate many specific native accessibility options, but that does not imply that it is not useful for people with visual disabilities, since, like other similar apps, it can be used to teach Braille to this group by teachers or relatives of the visually impaired people. Or also for those people who want to learn Braille, even if they do not have vision difficulties, but for the interest of helping or being able to communicate with people from the group. Also comment that by using screen readers such as Talkback or Voice Assistant, people with more severe visual disabilities could also use the application without problem, highlighting in this part, that the labeling of the elements of the app is very successful, being tagging each element of the app, for example, even when we do not have enough level to access an exercise or activity. Therefore, it is a very useful app in helping to improve accessibility for people with visual disabilities, both directly and indirectly.
Next, we proceed to the accessibility analysis according to different groups of people with disabilities.
Visually impaired people
The application does not natively present accessibility options for people belonging to this group, although its design has taken into account people who may have slight vision difficulties when introducing contrasts in the different activities and very different options, of way, that each one can be easily seen, together with a remarkable font size, which makes them well differentiated in each section of the app, on the other hand, in the options we can activate two sound effects when the answer is good or bad, but it does not reproduce by voice if it is correct or incorrect. Although it does not need native options, because it is exquisitely adapted for screen readers, since they are capable of transcribing all exercises, activities, menus and options to speech without problem, allowing anyone with severe visual difficulties to use this Application to learn Braille without problems, taking into account the necessary adaptations, recommended to use it with Talkback, since it has a native screen reader and Braille keyboard, facilitating the performance of all the activities available in the app.
People with hearing difficulties
The application does not present inconveniences for its use in the case of people of this group, since its strong point is visual, so that anyone with a hearing problem can use the app and learn Braille, through the functions included in the app Furthermore, it has the option of activating the vibration effect when the answer is wrong, which may be interesting for some people with hearing difficulties, when it comes to identifying whether they have failed or not.
People with physical difficulties
Although the application is not focused on this group, it could be used with the various necessary adaptations, in the event that the specific need of the user requires it, such as those that affect the motor skills of the upper extremities. This part of the group could use it without problems thanks to the existing buttons for Android, which facilitate access to the functionality of the app without any complications, it would be enough to install the button on the device, an app to configure it and once activated, we could use the application comfortably.
Next, we analyze the degree of satisfaction of the user when operating in the application. In addition, to study the utility that the app provides.
In this section, it is important to mention the almost perfect balance of the app between simplicity, content and ease of use. It has few buttons, which makes all activities and options highly visible, just by opening the application. If we want to access the settings, the access icon is very visible, since it is located in a large button on the main screen, making it highly visible, even for those who have some visual difficulty or for older people to be able to identify them correctly. .
Another notable aspect is that we have most of the activities and options available in the app, in the main interface, which avoids complications to access the function we want and each activity when selected, shows in a window, the exercises and options of the same available, leaving the structure of the app very well organized.
In summary, the interaction with the application is quite intuitive and well designed, offering an agile and intuitive access.
Usefulness, advantages and disadvantages
Braille Tutor has different benefits and utilities, which we proceed to develop below:
- Very successful design: Simple, compact and intuitive interface that facilitates access to all its functionality, designed to facilitate access to various groups of people.
- Learning: Main objective of the app, it offers us a comfortable and simple method of accessing the Braille language for anyone interested in learning it, it also provides support for those interested in using the app to teach the language to people with partial or complete visual disabilities Thus, it covers the range of learning in all its aspects, becoming an essential app.
- Variety of content: In terms of exercises and activities, the app has a wide range of them, with a very large and interesting variety, allowing full and extended Braille learning, and, therefore, making sure that the app does not stagnate the user's progress medium-long term.
As for points to improve, mention especially three, two that may affect or be an impediment for some users and another that does not affect the user experience, although the variety of exercises and activities is very wide, making the application can provide complete learning, the fact that to unlock activities and exercises you have to level up can be tedious for some users, since you have to perform several tests to be able to level up, which can be done in the medium-long term that some users leave the app if they find it difficult to move forward, together with the fact that the app offers the option of in-app purchases to instantly unlock access to all content, which can make you feel at times while using the app, The unlocking of exercises has been made difficult to make it easier for some users to make use of these in-app purchases.
And, the other drawback would be that this same application is not available for IOs, although there is another with the same name in this operating system, but it is not from the same developer and therefore it is very different from this one, in addition to only having support for Braille in English, greatly limiting the community of users who, although they are interested in specifically accessing the functionalities of this app, cannot access it.
Braille Tutor is a very complete application if we want to learn Braille, it seems simple the first time you open it, but then you discover that its simplicity is purely a facade, since it hides a wide range of activities and exercises that satisfy the learning needs of any user , together with this we also have its greatest point to improve, which is the fact of having to unlock all the content through a progression of levels, which for some users can be tedious and sometimes seems a bit forced for the user to resort to to in-app purchases to access all content quickly, although it can be unlocked little by little for free, excluding this aspect the app is quite exquisite in terms of quality in its fundamental objectives, providing a very complete option to access learning the Braille language and becoming a valuable resource for teachers or tutors who want to help or teach Braille to visually impaired people. Finally, highlight the exhaustive labeling of all its features for screen readers such as Talkback, offering complete accessibility for people with vision difficulties.
Ease of progression: unlocking activities by levels is an interesting feature, but the fact of requiring many points to change levels together with having a large number of levels available, can be tedious, so it would be interesting to facilitate the progression system a bit, to unlocking content a little more agile. Thus also eliminating that feeling sometimes that the system has been complicated to promote the purchases included in the app.
Version for IOs: many disabled users use IOs because it is considered an operating system that provides many accessibility options, together with the large number of users in the IOs community, they make the app inaccessible to many interested parties, so a version for IOs , would give a good boost to the community of the app, in addition to expanding the range of possible users of the same.