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Revolutionary New Text Entry App for Blind IOS Users

Normally, Heather Rupert covers the technology beat, but there's a hot new iPhone app that I'm excited to tell you about.

Fleksy is a revolutionary text input application for IOS devices. From the website:

How does a blind person type on an iPhone? Soon, they will be typing as quickly and easily as everyone else. If not faster. Yes, it’s possible.
For the first time ever, blind and visually impaired people can quickly and easily type text on touch screen phones and tablets.

I bought this app yesterday, and after a very short time with it, I was typing around twice as fast as I could using the touch typing method.

Many of us who are used to paying one or two dollars for an app will balk at Fleksy's $15 price tag. I did at first myself, but based on my experience and the reaction of others, this application is worth what you pay for it.

Before purchasing, you can listen to a thorough demonstration of the app by David Woodbridge. It will give you a good understanding of how to use the app and what it is capable of.

In the last 24 hours, I've been following mentions of @fleksyapp on Twitter and the developers have been quick to respond to questions and suggestions. This is a 1.0 release, meaning not all features one would want are present, but given the attitude I've seen from the developers, I have no doubt that updates to improve the app are going to be put out regularly.

It's important to understand that Fleksy suffers from the drawback that all keyboards/internet browsers/email clients/third party apps in general suffer from on IOS: it cannot be set as the default. This is a limitation of IOS. However, Fleksy has tried to minimize this drawback by making an SDK (software development kit) available to developers that will allow them to incorporate Fleksy into their applications. It is also possible to specify regularly contacted email addresses and phone numbers so as to speed up the process of emailing and texting from the app. All that aside, given how much the app can increase one's typing speed, it will often be faster to launch the Fleksy app, enter text, and send a message through the app than it would be to launch Mail or Messages directly and enter text using the standard methods.

Part of the value of the app, in my opinion, is simply to see this technology in action; it is truly remarkable to be able to so quickly and easily enter text on a virtual keyboard in this way. That said, it is not a gimmick, and I expect to make significant use of this app, and I look forward to watching the app evolve and get even better in the future.

Here is a link to Fleksy in the Canadian appstore. Please let us know what you think of the app in the comments.

Disclaimer:

This blog is curated by the AEBC, but welcomes contributions from members and non-members alike. The thoughts, views, and opinions expressed in the Blind Canadians Blog are those of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the AEBC, its members, or any of its donors and partners.

Comments

Sounds like an interesting ap, but I can't help but wonder why pay $15 for this ap when the default keyboard already has a quick and speedy way to text. Dictate is to the left of the space bar and it actually converts your voice to text. It works very well and you can send off text messages faster than using mannually. I don't know if it is on all iPhone devices or ionly the 4s, but I use it all the time and love it. It can be used at any time the keyboard is visible. For instance Facebook status's, web searches, notes and more.

Dictation that is built into IOS is currently available only on the iPhone 4S and the new iPad.

Still, I have a 4S, and there are times when writing something down is better than dictation: noisy environments, quiet environments like libraries, classrooms, meetings, and so on, when needing to send private messages, when needing to write longer messages, and simply when you'd rather not disturb the people around you or have them be able to hear your message.

I like dictation and use it often, but there are lots of situations where I don't use dictation even though it is available to me, and this app is very useful in those situations.

It's all about preference, speed is the factor in this case, but it's good to know we have other options when working in certain environments!