Háblalo is an application that allows people with deafness, cerebral palsy, ALS, etc. Communicate with who is around you. For this it has several communication methods:
- Chat - Convert written text to speech and convert spoken text to text.
- Pictograms - It allows verbalizing feelings, body parts, actions, places, etc. through the use of pictograms associated with a text that indicates what they symbolize.
- Shortcuts - Quickly verbalize frequently used phrases.
Next, an analysis of the different functions of the application will be carried out.
The application has three functions, Chat, Pictograms and Shortcuts. These functions are accessed from the start (image on the left) or from the application menu (image on the right).
Next, an analysis of the different functions that the application has will be carried out.
This function allows you to have a conversation with a person by writing text and converting it into voice, as well as transforming the voice into written text. To do this, the chat has two methods of entering text:
- Talk. When the talk button is pressed, a keyboard opens to enter text. Once the text has been entered, press the send button, located to the right of the edit box, so that the text is spoken aloud and is reflected in the chat, as can be seen in the image on the left .
- Hear. When this button is pressed, a box is displayed with a button that must be pressed and held while talking. After releasing it, you must press the button to the right of the text that has been written so that it is reflected in the chat, as you can see in the image on the right.
This option allows communication through the use of pictograms. These are grouped by categories.
The structure of the pictograms is grid-shaped, each row being a category of pictograms, and each pictogram occupies a cell within the structure.
The scrolling through the pictograms is done by sliding your finger on the screen. If the displacement is lateral, it changes between pictograms of the same category. If the displacement is vertical, it changes between the different categories.
The application allows the modification and elimination of the pictograms, although it does not allow their relocation. It is also possible to create new pictograms within the same category, which are located at the end of it.
This function gives access to frequently used phrases, related to the person such as name or age, to feelings such as cheerful or sad, actions such as cooking or playing and places like "Where is the nearest hospital" or "Where is there a policeman?". You can also add your own phrases that are usually used.
The application allows you to configure different parameters of it. These are grouped into 4 sections:
- General. They are aspects related to the appearance such as the size of the text and the pictograms, if the text is shown in uppercase, if the vibration is used and if a dark theme is used in the application.
- Profile. These are user-related parameters such as language, name, date of birth, gender and if emergency data is displayed.
- Text to speech. These are parameters related to the voice of Google synthesis such as speed and tone.
- Voice to text. They are parameters related to speech recognition by Google.
In order to analyze and be able to perform an evaluation of the application, a series of tests have been carried out to verify the behavior of the different functions of the application. In this sense, the general operation of the application is satisfactory, although with certain aspects that will be discussed below.
- Chat. The tests performed in order to evaluate this functionality have provided very satisfactory results. The voice recognition used to display the text of a talking partner on the screen has worked perfectly, although this is not something of the application but it is a Google service. On the other hand, the speech system through Google's voice synthesis has two drawbacks: first, you cannot modify the speech synthesis used by another that the user has installed on your device, and second, the Voice synthesis does not differentiate the intonation between question, exclamation and neutral text, so without reading the text it is not known whether it is a question, a neutral text or an exclamation point.
- Pictograms In the tests carried out in this function, the greatest number of aspects to be improved have been detected. While it is true that the pictograms are well categorized, being the most used and with a good number of categories represented, and that the user can add more, these should be able to be sorted, so that the user places at the beginning of the category the ones you use most frequently. In addition, the displacement through the pictograms and their categories is too slow, having to implement a faster mechanism such as the inclusion of scroll bars or the possibility of enlarging or reducing the icons to have a joint vision of them. It should also be mentioned that, as previously indicated, pictograms can be added to the categories, which are located at the end of it, although it would be more logical to place them at the beginning of the category or that the user could choose the position within the category. category. Finally, mention that in the application settings you can change the size of the pictograms, although the smaller size of the pictograms is still too large.
- Shortcuts The shortcuts are fine, although in the tests carried out the Google voice synthesis has not correctly toned the questions. Although it is not an application development but it is a Google service, it is very important to review it here so that the user is aware of this fact. Perhaps, if the voice synthesis could be changed to a third party, this aspect would be resolved. In everything else, the shortcuts have worked correctly.
Finally we will mention that the application has some elements, especially buttons, that are not labeled. This could be useful for deafblind people who would like to use the application. Also indicate that you can activate the dark theme, which facilitates the use of the application by people with low vision.
The application generally works well, contributing to people with disabilities who cannot communicate verbally establish conversation with people who do not have speech difficulties.
The chat function is undoubtedly the strong point of the application, allowing to establish a dialogue between a person with speech problems and another who does not have them.
The less positive aspects of the application are related to the pictograms, which should be improved for a faster and more comfortable movement through them and their categories, and allowing them to be rearranged, so as to reduce as much as possible the Time to find the desired pictogram.
Finally, the fact that being a free application is a very favorable point to take into account this application as a communication system for people with hearing problems or other pathologies such as cerebral palsy or ALS. The only downside in this regard is that it is only available for Android users since there is no version for IOS, which would be something very interesting.
- It allows the conversation between a person with communication problems and another without them.
- It allows voice recognition.
- Convert text to voice.
- Well categorized and intuitive pictograms.
- Shortcuts to frequently used phrases.
- It's free.
- The possibility of including faster displacement mechanisms through the pictograms and their categories could be suggested.
- The possibility of reordering the categories and pictograms within them in future versions could be studied.
- It would be interesting if voice synthesis could be changed.
- The possibility of developing a version for IOS could be studied.