Seeking beta testers for bird song app

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iOS & iPadOS

I am the developer of Larkwire, an app that birders use to learn to identify bird sounds. I have just added VoiceOver accessibility support to the app and need beta testers.

The app uses a sequence of games to gradually teach you which sounds go with which species. If you have an interest in learning to identify which birds you're hearing, you'll love Larkwire. I know the accessibility support in this beta release isn't perfect, but with your help, I'll make it better!

You can install the beta version with this link: https://testflight.apple.com/join/4eUJPNNU
I suggest you install Apple's TestFlight app, first, as it will make the Larkwire installation go smoother.

Also, during the beta test you can purchase any of the content within the app and you will not be charged.

Thanks,

Phil Mitchell

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Comments

Submitted by Kris on Sunday, July 19, 2020

Hello,

Thank you for making this app accessible with VoiceOver.

I downloaded the beta version and am really enjoying learning about bird songs and calls using the game.

All of the buttons are clearly labeled and the hints and tips are read out very well by VoiceOver.

I didn’t experience any accessibility issues while playing the first game.

This leaves me wanting to jump right back in and keep learning.

Thank you for putting so much effort into making this app accessible.

Kind regards,

Kris

Submitted by Cliff on Sunday, July 19, 2020

Amazing, Phil! I have been looking for something like this that is accessible with VoiceOver, but have yet to find something that works good enough to be of any use.
My only drawback is that I mostly know birds only by their names in my native language, which is norwegian. It will probably be a bit of a extra double layer of learning to try to learn all birdnames in english too at the same time as learning their songs. Have you considered adding translations for perhaps only the birdnames in other languages? I imagine that google translate would be efficient enough for just translating the birdnames to different localizations. There's probably many overlapping birds from North America to here in Scandinavia, so even if the main intent for the app right now probably goes towards North American users, there is most likely still much information we here in Scandinavia, and that people in other areas of the world can benefit from in this app.
And if you at some later point should consider translating the whole thing, I could probably help you out with translating the strings to norwegian. I've done this for many other developers previously, e.g. for WeatherGods.
I'm currently driving home from vacation with pretty flakey LTE along the route, so I'll probably have to wait untill I'm home with working wifi to download the beta, but rest assure that I will do so once I’m home! :) Looking forwards to testing it out!
Thanks for making this! :)

Cliff, thanks so much, I'm really looking forward to your feedback!

Regarding translations, the good news is that this version of the app is set up well to handle that. However, it will take some programming effort and to be honest, I probably won't have time to work on that until the European courses are nearing completion. That's a ways off.

Speaking of which, I'm afraid there's not as much overlap between birds of North America and Scandinavia as one might think, especially among songbirds. But the European course is in the works, and in the meantime, I think you'll find pockets in Larkwire that are very rewarding (eg., Owls, waterbirds, ...).

Looking forward to your thoughts!

Phil

Submitted by Elena Brescacin on Sunday, July 19, 2020

Hello, I have installed the app but there are some buttons I cannot clearly understand; I mean, I would like to know more about the interface, as I would like to help you making it a great app - i am interested in bird watching / listening / knowing - even if as a totally blind "watching" has a larger meaning rather than seeing; I am often using bird sounds to help Freddie -my canary bird- to improve his skills - for now this is the result, he sings with original Freddie's voice (no audio-editing, it's for real).
https://www.dropbox.com/s/cypmowuddcbcajw/freddie.mp3?dl=0

Let's keep in touch, as I would also help you to extend it - i am european, italian, and I'd be glad to have european/italian birds in, and to translate the interface myself. I'd like to help other people to discover this wonderful flying world

Submitted by Skippy on Sunday, July 19, 2020

Hi,
I installed the app, right after reading this post.

You did an amazing job so far, with accessibility!
Keep up the great work!

Submitted by dexterp on Saturday, August 1, 2020

Hello,
I was too slow listening to the podcast that mentioned Larkwire to be able to get in on the beta testing. However, I did go to the app store and listened to the information about the app and also about the Larkwire II, which appears to be ending and incorporated now into the Larkwire app.
I also downloaded the app to see what it was like in comparison to the Merlin app by Cornell Ornithology, and the song sleuth app which I already have installed on my phones.
In the version already in the app store, it does appear to be faily well labeled. However, I would suggest adding an information link that discusses how the various things are labeled and especially tells how to do the identification challenges, that the goal is to identify each of the types of birds correctly by listening to the sound of their birdsongs. Because I do not have the latest version, I cannot tell you what additionally needs done to make the use easier. But, if you have done as well with the larger packages as is already in the basic backyard free one, then it should be very accessible.
To be truthful, originally I thought that it might also have the ability to recored and then have the app identify the birdsongs similar to slong sleuth. When I recorded me whistling to imitate the cuckoo found in India, Song Sleuth actually indicated that the recording was of a human. LOL
I look forward to seeing the updated app in the future.
Dexter P

Hi Dexter, thanks for checking out Larkwire in the App Store! The current App Store version is the latest version, with accessibility fixes. I'd be interested to hear more about the "information link" you mention, as there's a blind user working on a help document. What do you mean when you say "How the various things are labeled". Aren't the labels self-explanatory? And if they're not, they probably need to be fixed?

You are quite right, it's not a "song sleuth". It's really only for learning to identify the songs yourself. Although it does have a search/browse feature as well.

Thanks again!

Phil

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