Author: Julián Mª Morejón Carmona
Date: February 2021
ChatTea allows you to send predefined messages with pictograms, images, with audio or text, according to the needs of the sender of the messages and also thinking about the receiver of the same, in addition to these options the app allows you to send free text with emoticons, audio, images , as in any other messaging application, counting on a special sound every time we receive a notification so that we do not miss anything.
ChatTEA is part of the Apdif application platform, a platform focused on facilitating people's autonomy and focused on helping those who have difficulties in communication, learning, execution, etc… To achieve a more inclusive, sensitive and receptive society.
In this review we will do an analysis of the app for both Android devices and IOs, focused on Android mobile devices with version 9 and for IOs version 13.4.1.
Next, we will analyze the app and its different aspects in depth.
Once the app is installed, starting to use it is very simple, having 3 options: create an account, log in with Facebook and log in with google.
Once the session is started, we can start receiving or sending messages, we will get a chat activated by default, with the contact name of Daniela, a person belonging to the Apdif platform. If we want to add contacts to the application we will have to go to the lower right corner, where there is an icon with the + symbol, we will select it, it will then show us the available contacts to start a chat, if we select the + symbol again, The interface to add a new contact will appear, having 2 ways to add it by entering a code that is obtained by selecting the option to share contact (which we will explain later) or by scanning a QR code, the latter option being a bit more complex and difficult to carry out by some users.
Once our contacts have been added, we can begin to communicate, through the app, if we want to share our contact information it will be enough to select the 3 points that are in the upper right corner and in the options that will appear choose to share contact, A new interface appears where our user code and our contact QR will be displayed, making sharing our contact easy.
It is important to mention that depending on the level of ASD of the user, the steps of adding and sharing contacts can be somewhat complex, having to be the tutor of the person who configures this part of the app.
Communication, through the app is quite good and simple, you can appreciate the effort of the developer so that it is correctly adapted to people with ASD, whether they have a mild or severe level, in the chat we will have multiple options to communicate, that will vary according to the configuration that we have established in the app settings, which we will comment on later, among the types of messages that we can send we have:
- Text: We can write and associate pictograms with the written text as possible answers, so that the receiver can choose them..
- Image: We can choose between images from the gallery or take a photo with the camera.
- Audio: We can record an audio message with the device's microphone.
- Location: We can send our location in real time, as long as we have GPS activated.
As we can see, we have a series of very complete options that cover all the possible functionalities of any instant messaging application. Being the communication in the chats very fruitful and well designed, although some slowness can be seen when loading the chats and accessing them, missing a bit of optimization in terms of the speed of the application.
The app settings can be accessed through the 3 points located in the upper right corner, where when selecting them, various options and the settings between them will be displayed, once inside the settings, we can establish whether the account is a tutor or not and see the categories of the account, this option is very interesting, since it allows us to add new personalized categories, if we select the + symbol, located in the lower right corner, allowing us to add the images or pictograms that we want, being a very interesting for the app, since it allows a deeper or personalized communication with the people in the group who use the app.
In summary, the application adequately meets its objectives, provides a stable and safe alternative for people with mild or more severe ASD to communicate with their close groups and the options it offers for communication are very complete and expandable, it is missing a bit of optimization in some sections and a method to add contacts adapted to people with more severe ASD.
As we have previously commented, the application is designed for people with ASD, the accessibility for this group being quite careful and fully complying in this aspect, although it would be necessary to improve the aspect of adding contacts.
For other groups of people, the app can be used with the necessary adaptations if the user requires it, for people with vision difficulties, screen readers such as Talkback can be used, since the app has the necessary labeling for readers screen, in the case of people with physical difficulties, if the case requires it, they can use screen buttons, so that both cases can use the app without complications.
After testing it carefully, we can conclude that it constitutes an interesting alternative for people with ASD to be able to communicate without difficulties through their Android devices and IOs, adding a greater inclusion of the group in the technological field and instant messaging. It has a simple but well designed interface and very complete functionalities, although the optimization of the app should be improved, to facilitate a more fluid use and more efficient conversations. Comment that being available both for Android, as for IOs, it encompasses the entire user community, a very important aspect, since it guarantees that the app is available to any user regardless of their device.
Personalization: You can create custom categories, with images or pictograms that you want, greatly expanding the communication possibilities.
Complete: We can communicate, through the application, in multiple ways, covering the most useful communication options for our day to day.
Interface: The interface is simple and attractive, handling through it is comfortable and makes any person with mild or more severe ASD able to function properly.
Optimization: The application has load times or hangs when accessing some functionalities or conversations, further optimization would be quite interesting to guarantee a comfortable use for the user.
Adding contact method: Although the app has two alternatives to add a contact, people with a medium or severe ASD, it may be difficult for them to add a new contact, so a new method or easier option for these users to add Contacts would be very helpful.