Introducing BrailleTouch - an iPhone app for typing in braille on your touchscreen

App Developer

Greetings and Happy Holidays!

My name is Caleb, and I'm one of the developers of a new iPhone app called BrailleTouch. BrailleTouch allows you to type using braille on your touchscreen, and is based on the standard six key braille keyboard. We are excited to announce that BrailleTouch will be on the App Store by the end of January! We hope that you will like BrailleTouch and find it useful. I'm happy to answer any questions you may have, and I've included some more information about the app below.

With BrailleTouch, you can send text messages, emails, and tweets from the touchscreen braille keyboard. You can also copy text you type in braille to the clipboard and paste it into other apps on your iPhone. There is a free version of BrailleTouch, so you can try it before you buy it. The free version lets you type in braille and hear the text you entered. Many braille instructors have told us that they would like to use BrailleTouch as a teaching tool, which the free version will support. Additional features are available as an In App Purchase. The upgrade allows you to send text messages, emails, and tweets from the touchscreen braille keyboard, and also allows you to copy text from the touchscreen braille keyboard and paste it into other apps on your iPhone.

BrailleTouch is based on research conducted at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, where I am a graduate student. My colleagues and I tested the software with eleven volunteers who are blind. We found that people who knew the standard Perkins braille keyboard were able to master BrailleTouch within an hour of practice and type at an average of 23 words per minute using Grade 1 braille. We received such positive feedback that we were inspired to take this research out of the laboratory and release BrailleTouch to the public. We hope this software will provide a helpful alternative to the VoiceOver split tap keyboard, and that it will help improve the mobile computing experience for people in the blind community who use an iPhone.

BrailleTouch is fully compatible with VoiceOver. It works on the iPhone 3GS through the iPhone 5, iPod touch models since the 3rd generation, and requires iOS 5.0 or a later operating system. BrailleTouch is only for the iPhone and iPod touch, and is not supported on the iPad. The first release is based on North American English Grade 1 Uncontracted Braille. You can choose to hear speech feedback for each character you type, each word you type, or both.

More information about BrailleTouch is available on our website:

The website includes a User Guide and Frequently Asked Questions. You can also sign up for our email list, and we will notify you when we have an exact release date in January for the app.

We are also on Twitter:

With the free version of BrailleTouch, you can try out the touchscreen braille keyboard and hear the text that you typed read back to you. The Upgrade allows you to send text messages, emails, and tweets, and also allows you to copy text from the braille keyboard to paste into other apps. The upgrade costs US$19.99.

I am happy to answer any questions you may have. We are very excited about the upcoming release of BrailleTouch on the App Store. I hope that you will like BrailleTouch and find it useful.

Best wishes and happy holidays,
Caleb
The BrailleTouch Team

[I have edited this post, based on a change to simplify the upgrade process to get the full set of features.]

Forum: 

#1 Exciting, but...

Definitely excited to try this out as a concept. Only one persons opinion obviously, but the pricing structure seems all wrong to me. Not surprising as this is so often the case with specialist apps, but nevertheless disappointing for the same reason.

#2 Sounds Great

Club AppleVis Member

The only thing I might say is that you should consider offering a discounted price for purchasing both of the upgrades at the same time. It seems a bit steep to charge $9.99 for each upgrade, especially when it doesn't allow you to use Grade 2 braille which, I believe, is the standard typing grade that most blind people use. I would certainly be willing to pay more for an app that allowed me to type in Grade 2 braille.

#3 One more thing

Club AppleVis Member

I look forward to trying this app out. It sounds really neat. Thanks for working so hard to make this available.

#4 Grade 2 braille

App Developer

Thanks, sockhopsinger.
We understand how important Grade 2 braille is, and we are working on that for a future update to BrailleTouch!

#5 No grade 2??

We have been hearing about this app and its pending launch for sooo long now. And to discover now that grade 2 won't be an option when that is such a fundamental element of Braille and the ability to type at speed is amazing. I may still buy to support your endevour but, the pricing seems steep given that there will be no grade 2 initially.

#6 Still very fast - even before Grade 2

App Developer

Thanks, Paul.

Even with Grade 1, our testers averaged 23 words per minute. That is much faster than the VoiceOver split tap keyboard. And it is also faster than most sighted users can type on an iPhone. That said, we do understand the importance of Grade 2.

Also, what you heard about before was academic research at Georgia Tech. The overwhelming positive response to the news about our research is what inspired the pending launch on the App Store, which is just being announced now. And we are very excited!

#7 Pending launch and grade 2 implimentation

Actually, Grade 2 is fundamental not just important. I am a proficient Braille reader and writer and would expect grade 2 support on launch of the app. Particularly as you point out the amount of research you have undertaken prior to any app launch. Proficient grade 2 Braille typing will always be faster than inputting in grade 1. You are competing for my attention in the first instance with appps like flexy or an external bluetooth keyboard.

#8 Re: Pending launch and grade 2 implementation

App Developer

Paul,

I agree with you absolutely that Grade 2 is fundamental and always faster than Grade 1. The generous volunteers and testers who worked with us on BrailleTouch told us the same thing. We made the decision to release the first version of BrailleTouch before Grade 2 is complete, so that people can get some use out of the app sooner. In particular, many braille instructors who will use the free version of BrailleTouch can make use of Grade 1 immediately with their students. Grade 2 is very complicated and expensive to implement in software, but we are working on it. Other apps, such as Type Brailler Learn Braille and TypeInBraille, do not have Grade 2 yet either. Fleksy is a wonderful app, and I applaud the developers. I have it on my phone. BrailleTouch with Grade 1 is just as fast as Fleksy. A bluetooth QWERTY keyboard has many advantages, but is bulky, more expensive than BrailleTouch, and requires separate batteries. Every technology has its advantages and disadvantages.

#9 ipad be more beneficial?

hello, i have been practicing to see how i would manage typing on an iphone keyboard as if it were a brailler woudln't an ipad be a better addition for those who maybe want more room when composing emials? also it is a shame to not see grade 2 given taht this ap has taken 2 or more years? to produce? i will wait to buy it until it is grade 2 compatible, most blind people rarely i assume even use grade 1 it is so slow :) but at least as people state, we have to applaud the developer for starting somewhere

#10 no free version yet?

shame the free app is not available now and the paid for options in late january

#11 Thanks for letting us know

Thanks for letting us know about BrailleTouch. I'm already very excited to try this, and if it will work the way it is described, this will be one of the most valuable apps on my iPhone. The approach of typing in a natural way sounds very promising. This is definitely an easier way of typing than these non-standardized workarounds used in other applications.

#12 Comparason with other technologies

OK, its fair enough that you compare your product with other technologies but, I was very definitely talking around you drawing my attention to your app and using it, talking about, recomending it ect above that which I already use. You will be charging a reasonable amount for the paid elements of the app which as I previously said I will probably buy into to encourage development and perhaps even a price drop eventually so that others who don't have th means I have can afford it... My reason for being an early aadopter if you will. So, will a grade 2 upgrade in the future cost more money for the end user? And when is it actually coming out for launch? Thanks.

#13 My Two Cents

Well, I have been standing back, as it were, and reading the comments. Now, I am ready to offer two cents of my own. Firstly, I do not think the pricing is rediculous, but I do think it a bit high; for this reason: many blind people, in this economy especially, do not even have a job, let alone $20 for any app they see will benefit them. Therefore, I think a bit more competitive pricing would be good for all. I like the idea of a discount for purchasing two upgrades at once. That being said, I am quite excited to see this app coming soon. As far as grade 2 is concerned, it is a bit disappointing to see that it will not be in the initial releace, but it does make a bit of sense to me. I have dabbled in some of the codes that make web sites do what they do, and suspect that computer programming is just as demanding, if not more so. Finally, as for the discomfort my fellow user mensioned with regard to using this on an iPhone, look in the Accessible World archive for the podcast on this app. It will explain that with this app, one has to hold the phone differently. I tried it, and it is quite comfortable. If this were not true, I could totally see your point. My intent here has not been to argue, but to offere a bit of a different perspective. If I have come accross argumentitive at all, I apologize up front. Thanks and happy New Year.

Cherokee

#14 turkish character

will it have a different language's special character support? if will, which languages will be supported?

#15 RE: Comparison with other technologies

App Developer

Paul, thanks for your support and interest.

Our priority now is to get the first release on the App Store by Jan 31, possibly earlier, and to support the initial release. I hope you like BrailleTouch and find the app useful. After we get feedback on the first release and see how many people download it and purchase the upgrades, we will move forward with plans for new features. The timing and pricing, if any, for Grade 2 depends on the success of the initial release. Grade 2 is our top priority for future enhancements!

#16 Language Support

App Developer

Muharrem,
The first release of BrailleTouch is English only, and is based on the North American standards for Grade 1 uncontracted braille. We hope to add other languages in the future. I will let everyone know if and when we are able to add other languages. Thanks!

#17 Hi, I must start off by

Hi, I must start off by saying like everyone else on this thread I think it is a massive shortcoming of this app that grade 2 isn't included in the app right from the start, OK maybe your testers said release the app now and finish grade 2 later. But to me at least the only advantage of using an app like this would be the ability to use grade 2, as an app like fleksy is fast, but at least for the moment if the app can only do grade 1 and is as fast as fleksy, what's the advantage of using it? regarding braille, does the app support UK braille? As I have no idea what the differences are between US and UK braille. I will be interested in trying the app, but given that the app has been in development for so long, why not take the time, wait a few months finish grade 2 then release?its not like there has been huge pressure from the public for a release, you could have taken as long as you wanted to get grade 2 sorted and then announced a release date.Oh well, I will give the free app a try but won't pay for any upgrades til grade 2 is supported  and when UK braille is supported.

#18 Add-on Pricing

Every app launch of this kind prompts a deluge of comments about pricing, so I'll try not to regurgitate everything that's already been said. However, one point that has not been deliberated over is the prerequisite of the Messaging add-on in order to use the one which can copy text to the clipboard.

This makes no technological or commercial sense. If your code is written so that the functionality of one add-on depends on another being installed, your code is wrong. From a commercial standpoint, only time, testing, experience and feedback will tell whether your overall pricing structure is appropriate, but this part definitely needs revising.

#19 US vs. UK braille

App Developer

Thanks, Alex.

I do not know the exact difference between US and UK braille. I believe that there a few minor differences in punctuation and contractions, but that mostly they are identical. If anyone on this forum does know the specific differences, that would be extremely helpful to me.

To be clear, our testers also told us that Grade 2 was very important, and it is our top priority for future improvements. However the testers were still able to type at 23 words per minute in Grade 1. Braille instructors have told us they could use the app immediately.

#20 Exciting.

I'm personally excited to see how this app comes out. I agree that grade 2 Braille is faster but I respect that not everything can be done at once. The pricing for 2 different upgrades seems a little much to me. Maybe you could consider putting both upgrades as one making that pricing more understandable. As most VI/blind people are on A fixed income, you'll more likely appeal to them better that way. Overall I can't wait to try the app.

#21 I agree with you there.

Not to be rude, or anything, but not being able to buy the copy/paste adon without firstly buying the messaging adon is a little unfair. I don't quite understand why the adons were coded like this. Are they really dependent on each other?

Thanks,
Shersey

#22 iPads?!

Hi, I'm sorry if I've missed something here, but I'm wondering why it won't be available for the iPads? Is the necessary programming different?
The reason I ask is that in the education world, where a large proportion of Braille learners or users are, the iPad is also becoming an increasingly popular education tool. So, to my mind, in imposing this limitation, you are depriving both yourselves of an obvious market as well as these users of a potentially excellent and necessary product.
Braille is still as essential as it always has been, despite the advent and continued improvement of the Apple line of products we love so much on sites like this, so we should give blind students every access to Braille and Braille products as we can, and Braille Touch, in conjunction with the iOS products and Braille displays etc would go some long way to ensuring this.

#23 Why BrailleTouch is not availble for iPads

App Developer

Kristen, thanks for your question.

In the academic research behind BrailleTouch, I wrote software for the iPad and tested it out in addition to the phone form factor that we will be releasing on the App Store. On the iPad, I tried a soft braille keyboard that was laid out in a line like the Perkins Brailler. The advantage of the phone form factor is that the small size constrains your hands to fit the soft buttons for each of the six braille dots. The problem with the tablet form factor (iPad) was that peoples' hands tended to drift across the screen over time, due to the extra touchscreen real estate on the tablet. Thus it was much harder to produce a reliable soft braille keyboard for the iPad. Our testers had to keep resetting their hand positions while typing. Also, advantages of the iPhone are that many more people currently have phones than tablets, and a phone will fit in your pocket while on the go like a slate and stylus.

At this time, we do not plan to release BrailleTouch for the iPad. However, we may consider it in the future, depending on the success of the first release on BrailleTouch for the iPhone and iPad touch.

Thanks!
Caleb

#24 A question about supported Braille languages

You mentioned that North American Braille Grade 1 will be what this app will be working with. Would you not be supporting United English Braille too, given that America and the UK have both said they will adopt it most recently in addition to the likes of Australia who have been using it for some time now. You could actually have an educational part of the app where people could learn the new elements of UEB, especially as this particular Braille code has been designed to be so universal in terms of the English speaking language.

#25 Unified English Braille (UEB)

App Developer

To the best of my knowledge, Unified English Braille (UEB) and the US standards based on the Braille Association of North America (BANA) are very close. I believe that the only difference is in a few punctuation symbols and a few contractions. If I am wrong, I would greatly appreciate input from those with more insight on this issue. Regarding Grade 1, I think that a couple of punctuation symbols are the only difference between UEB and BANA braille. Please correct me if you know about this.

Thanks!
Caleb

#26 Braille Encodings and the BrailleTouch app

App Developer

Paul and others,

I will add that the main benefit of the initial BrailleTouch release is to be able to type in braille on your touchscreen, specifically using the standard six key system found on the Perkins Brailler and most braille keyboards. Alternate encodings, including Grade 2, UEB, and other languages, are great examples of what we hope to offer as future upgrades. The initial release of BrailleTouch is all about the ability to type braille chords with your six fingers as input on a touchscreen, and to see how you all like the iPhone as a good piece of hardware for doing so. I hope this helps explain why we are releasing the software now, without Grade 2, UEB, or other languages yet. I am excited, and look forward to everyone's feedback.

Thanks!
-Caleb

#27 Thoughts on the Braille Touch

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hello Caleb,

It is quite interesting in how people are reacting to something similar to the Fleksy when it first came out. There was a lot of fuss over the pricing if I recalled. Plus, all of the capabilities in what it will do and what it wouldn't do at first.

So look at it now. People have now recommend this and love it. Even for the price of $14.99.

This will always be a grey area of what people expect to pay and what they won't pay for.

Everything you have to say has been very convincing behind all of the questions that has been asked here. We really appreciate you are taking the time in actually responding back to our users.

I do have a question. I did a podcast some time ago on the Type Brailler Learn Braille. I was wondering if you had played with this? It allows you not only to learn braille but also type in Braille Grade 1. This included the ability to launch a web site, write up a note, a calculator and lastly it automatically copy everything you have typed in to the clipboard for the price of $9.99.

For what it offers and the time I've played with it. I thought it was very worth the price.

I wasn't sure if the method is quite similar to the app itself? The app had you use the app in a landscape mode. With three fingers on each side. Respectfully like as if you had your fingers on an actual Perkins Braillier but the hand formation was inverted. It was a bit awkward at first but over time I got the hang of it.

So as for the educational field. I can see how this particular app would be awesome to use. For those advanced users they are wanting the Grade 2 which I can understand.

So the question is. How different is that in what I have mentioned different than in Braille Touch? Is the formatting similair? In respect to the fingers placement?

However, the last thing to note is that for an additional price to have the capabilities to send emails, texting, and etc is where it gets dicey.

We all understand that developing such products are not cheap. Especially, if you do this for a living and have family to feed.

Personally, I think people that are comfortable in the Grade 1 or are learing Grade 1 that this will no doubt be a very huge success. I can't begin to tell you how important it is to have something like this on the market. We are in a very serious time where braille literacy is at an all time low. I know personally all instructors and teachers are going to be looking at this product.

Those that are expecting more I can understand they may want to wait to see if and when you will release the Grade 2 in to your app.

So my hats are off to you in only giving us more tools in helping in those that have never had the time to learn braille and had struggle just might pick this up and give it a try.

Thanks!

#28 Re: Thoughts on the Braille Touch

App Developer

Hi AnonyMouse. Thanks for your post and your questions.

I have tried Type Brailler and Learn Braille. The developer independently came up with the same idea around the same time as us for how to hold the phone differently and use the touchscreen as a six key braille keyboard. He posted a YouTube video just after we submitted our first academic paper on BrailleTouch.

The keyboard part of BrailleTouch is similar to that of Type Brailler Learn Braille. There are several key differences, however. With BrailleTouch, you do not have to set the keyboard location first before you start typing. BrailleTouch is very forgiving about the exact locations where you touch the screen to form each braille chord. Also, BrailleTouch is fully compatible with VoiceOver, while Type Brailler Learn Braille requires you to turn VoiceOver off in order to use it. You mentioned that the keyboard felt inverted on Type Brailler. We have a setting in BrailleTouch to flip the keyboard layout, which has fixed this situation for some people who felt that the default keyboard in our app was inverted in regard to finger placement.

Beyond the keyboard, BrailleTouch is very different than the Type Brailler app. The menus in BrailleTouch are similar to how Fleksy works. You type some text on our keyboard first, then pull up the menu. When the menu opens, you will hear the text you typed read back by VoiceOver. You can then choose from the available actions what you want to do with the text. If you have both Upgrades, the available actions are as follows: Copy to Clipboard, Paste from Clipboard, Send Text Message, Set Email Subject, Send Email, Sent Tweet, Clear Text, Help, and Resume Typing.

You said, "We all understand that developing such products are not cheap. Especially, if you do this for a living and have family to feed." I will point out that our company has no employees and no one is being paid anything for their time. I work full time as a graduate student and researcher, and I do not develop apps for a living. We borrowed money from family and friends in order to take the research prototype software I wrote for the BrailleTouch keyboard and turn it into a commercial quality app for release on the App Store. I hope the revenue we receive from the BrailleTouch upgrades is sufficient to pay back our investors and to fund the future improvements and features that we would all like to see.

Thanks again for your questions and your post on the forum. I hope that many of you find BrailleTouch useful. We are very excited about the app release, and I'm happy to answer any other questions you may have.

Best,
Caleb

#29 face book integration?

You mnenbtioned twitter as one of the choices to which you could send material. I use twitter and am glad it is suported. I hope that you will also be able to include face book as well in an eventual update.

#30 Re: face book integration?

App Developer

Thanks, John.
Facebook is on our list of features to look into for future updates.

Caleb

#31 Re: Add-on Pricing

App Developer

[Edited]

We have decided to offer all of the additional upgrade features in BrailleTouch through a single In-App Purchase.

Caleb

#32 business structure, in fact everything, seems wrong to me

I would greatly enjoy typing in braille, but I don't think I will buy this app.
1. Grade two is necesary. I won't go into more detail as this is already known.
2. Without the ability to type into any text field, which is limited by apple itself, the copy to clipboard function is imperative for me. I like fleksy's approach of testing it then buying the entire functionality. It has decreased in price and is now quite economical. In fact, I believe that to develop a braille app, one could use currently available braille tables and direct touch to make a more versatile option. In fact, I am already considering attempting this after seeing the failure of the Braille Touch idea. It doesn't make sense to charge so much when you can't use it as a default keyboard, and if I make one, iPad support will be critical. Also, I will use all braille tables currently available to me (which means thirty-seven tables). This gives me support for languages as varried as English, Norwegian, Arabic, Hindi, Greek, Russian, and Chinese. It may take work, but someone's already done some of it.

#33 Braille Translation Tables

App Developer

The braille translation software and tables available through the LGPL open source license are incompatible with Apple's restrictions on dynamically linked libraries for App Store submissions.

I wish you the best!
Caleb

#34 Exciting and Innovative

I'm looking forward to trying this app when it is released, and I applaud the developers for the research that brought it about.
I would say Grade 2 Braille is a necessity, but I'll be interested to see if typing in Grade 1 is faster and/or more accurate than the IPhone "dictate" feature, which is what i currently use to input large amounts of text.
The price is by no means ridiculous, but it definitely is on the high end. I just consider it an investment in an innovative product which could potentially revolutionize the way blind IPhone users type. I agree there is a large segment of the visually impaired population who may not be able to afford $20 for a single app, but if those who can are willing to make the investment, this could help everyone in the long run. I am glad there are two price points, because I imagine a lot more people will be willing to pay $10 for the EMail/text feature than the $20 that includes the clipboard.
Fifteen years ago, I could never have imagined how much my life would be improved by something like an IPhone, and the developers who are constantly working to make these apps a reality have my utmost respect.
Thanks for sharing this information with us, Caleb.

#35 Caleb, Firstly I just want to

Caleb,
Firstly I just want to say sorry for the attitudes of some people, it really gets to me when people start making comments in such a negative way. Am I right to assume that the price of 20 dollars was worked out and not just plucked out of thin air as some people are acting like it has. I will defijately be trying the app, but as I am able to type pretty well on my phone, I probably wont be purchasing the upgrade as I have hardly used fleksy. Both apps are productive and they give the user the choice of what method of text input they want to use.
I can appreciate what you say about the iPad, i actually find it more difficult to type on there, as the letters are a lot more spaced out and it's not easy to judge the spaces between the letters.
All the best and look forward to trying the new app.
:)

#36 A Good Point

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Personally, I am very excited about the potential for this app. Remember guys, we are not dealing with a huge assistive tech company--these are graduate students who have their own lives to live. Is it too much to suggest that they deserve some compensation for their hard work?

#37 Great Work

Hi. I must congradulate the Braille Touch Team because they have developped an app that no doubt be a huge benefit to a good proportion of VI iPhone users. I don't mind paying for the app because every penny will go towards further development and knowing that Grade 2 Braille may be coming in the long term future is encouraging. I can see myself using this app when on a bus as it is hard to type when a vehicle such as a bus moves at speed. This app is going to be a major tool and will be used on a regular basis. What a start to 2013 it's going to be. I'm pleased to finally see this app because it's been touted for some months now.

#38 Take grade 2 seriously

I will probably bye it. I liked using the Type Brailler Learn Braille app but it's interface was cumbersome. I mostly type using Fleksy and maybe this won't replace it, but the more options we can switch between, the less likely we are to get repetitive strain injuries.
I have no argument with the price, having wasted thousands of dollars in my life on technology, I just can't see this as expensive.It just isn't fair to compare the price to apps, sometimes very frivolous ones, that have a much larger customer base.
However, I am a little peeved at the general attitude towards grade 2 braille.t On a personal level, I learned grade 2 code quickly, as an adult, so I have only actually read and written in grade 2. It is cognitively cumbersome for me to type in grade 1.
On another level, I would strongly encourage the developers to bring a braille expert into their team. I find it offensive to be reading queries about the difference between English Braille codes. Someone on that team should already know and understand these differences. It should not be hard to find someone who just plain loves and cares about braille who has the expertise and would be happy to work on the project for the love of it, even if a share in profits doesn't really compensate for time spent.
Respect for blind customers, in my opinion, makes the difference in the quality of a product made by people who are not blind themselves. In this case, I think that means respect for what braille means to many of us.Braille wasn't relevant in the case of Fleksy, but I felt respected by the people who created Fleksy and I think that is a large part of the reason their product is so good and continues to improve. I hope this product will evolve the same way. And, by respect, I don't mean saying you are, but really listening to us and learning from what you hear.

#39 BrailleTouch - upgrading to full version

App Developer

Happy New Year!

We have decided to offer all of the additional features in BrailleTouch through a single upgrade. You can download the free version and try it out first. If you want to do more with BrailleTouch, you can upgrade to the full version with an In-App Purchase by choosing Upgrade from the menu. The upgrade will allow you to send text messages, emails, and tweets directly from the braille keyboard. You can also copy text from the braille keyboard to paste into any other app on your iPhone. The full upgrade will cost no more than the US$20 that we previously announced for all of these features. I appreciate all the feedback we have received from the members of the AppleVis forum!

I am traveling for the rest of the week and will not have a regular internet connection. I will be back online in a few days, and I'll be happy to answer questions at that time.

Best wishes,
Caleb

#40 When we think about Cost

I've read through the thread and many good points have been made here. One point I would like to make is this. When we think about the cost for hardware Braille Keyboard accesserries, their is nothing that comes to my mind under 1000$, or for that matter 100$, we're talking about less than 50$. I realise this is software not hardware, but if it truly lives up to the hype, and we can expect Grade2 in the future, I'm saying $20.00 is fine given what else is out their.
Thank you.

#41 Congrats

Words are not enough to thank you for your effort. I too am a doctoral student and know all too well how difficult it must have been for you to develop this app while continuing with your graduate work. I am now living in Greece and am a native speaker of Greek, so, if you ever decide to add Greek to your available languages, I will be happy to help in every way possible. I am a member of a mailing list of Greek visually impaired people, most of who are iPhone users. We will all be waiting to welcome your new app, and if it ever understands Greek, many of us will buy it. Again, congratulations.

#42 Re: Congrats

App Developer

Hi Maria,

Thank you very much for your post. We hope to add support for languages other than English in the future. I appreciate your offer to help with Greek. I hope you like BrailleTouch. We are very close to the release, and I will post on AppleVis when we have the exact day.

Best wishes,
Caleb

#43 This app sounds great! a few questions though

I am ridiculously excited for the release of this app. Everything from the responsive and informative developers to the advertised features of the app are going to revolutionize typing on the IPhone, particularly if grade 2 is going to be implemented in the future. Regardless of the answers to these questions, I will absolutely be buying this app at the time of its release. When using Fleksy, I have noticed two major bugs, and wonder if they will be present in BT as well. First, when typing punctuation, fleksy has a tendency to format oddly. For example, when typing "for example," fleksy would write quote for space example space comma space quote. Usually for writing things like text messages or informal emails, that's not too big a deal, but when writing things like college papers or formal emails, its kind of difficult. Presumably, since you enter each character on BT individually, this would not be an issue.
The second thing I've noticed is that when a large amount of text is entered into fleksy, the app has a tendency to crash. Naturally, backing up important texts regularly is a good idea, but has anyone who has used BT experienced any such crashing?
Finally, will Braille Touch have any sort of spellchecking or autocorrect dictionary?
Thank you for creating such a useful and necessary app, and for being so sensitive to the needs of the blind community and putting forth so much effort to meet those needs.

#44 Re: This app sounds great! a few questions though

App Developer

Hi Tangela,

Thanks for your excitement about BrailleTouch. We are excited too. It will be available very soon, and we are waiting on approval from Apple.

You are correct that BrailleTouch is different than Fleksy in that you enter each character individually with BrailleTouch. We do not use a dictionary, so there is no spell checking or auto-correction or prediction. You will not have the punctuation formatting errors with BrailleTouch, because you can enter each punctuation mark, space, and so forth exactly as you desire.

As far as entering large amounts of text, we did not put a limit on the text size in BrailleTouch. However, it is not clear what iOS will do if you typed tens of thousands of characters in one session. I would recommend pasting the text into Notes or another app regularly to be safe, so you do not risk losing your work. We are open to any feedback based on people's experiences using BrailleTouch for large amounts of text.

Thanks again! I hope you like BrailleTouch and find it useful.

Best,
Caleb

#45 I've a strange question

Club AppleVis Member

Hello:

I have a strange question for you. My understanding, perhaps somewhat limited, is that Grade One Braille has the comma on Dot 6. In the documentation for Braille Touch, I believe it says that Dot 6 is the capital sign. Will Braille Touch be able to differentiate between when you are typing a capital letter and a comma? Thanks.

#46

Club AppleVis Member

This comment has been deleted.

#47 Re: An interesting question

App Developer

Hi sockhopsinger,

Comma is dot 2. Capital is dot 6. All caps is dot 6 twice.
We based these on the BANA 2007 guidelines.

Hope this helps.
Caleb

#48 Ahh, now I see

Club AppleVis Member

I was thinking of Grade One being like computer braille. Now I understand. Thanks for that clarification.

#49 Contracted braille

Hi,

Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on a great app. I think I used something similar a couple of years ago though it was in profile. I have just had a play with it and it is very accurate and it is nice to be able to delete char by char, rather than another writing solution that we won't mention here... *coughs.. Fleksy*.

However, there is always a 'however', grade one brail is far too slow. Obviously the advantage of a qwerty keyboard is that only one finger must move to type a letter, where up to five need to move to type a letter in brail. This is time consuming and requires a lot of effort on the users end. What does make this better, and, maybe even faster than a qwerty is the contractions. I am surprised that they are not included in this software. It could really make jotting down ideas on the go so much better, on the iPhone at least. I would certainly upgrade the software for such a feature, but at the moment it's simply not fast enough. It has the accuracy, which is wonderful, but put along side the fact that it's not integrated with IOS, not your fault I know, same issue with Fleksy, and the effort of grade one brail, means that this isn't yet a viable input method for myself.

I hope you don't mind me being so candid with you and I hope my comments will help improve a very strong product. I can see it becoming a standard for braille users if you can get the grade 2 brail in there.

Best regards

Ollie

#50 Re: Contracted braille

App Developer

Hi Ollie,

Thank you very much for your comments. I'm delighted that you like BrailleTouch and find it to be accurate. Grade 2 contracted braille is our top priority for a future update. One of the reasons we released BrailleTouch now before Grade 2 is ready is that we wanted to make sure that people could use the app and enter characters with braille accurately. So your comments are very helpful.

Many people have told us that even with Grade 1, BrailleTouch is still much faster than the VoiceOver touchscreen QWERTY keyboard. We've had lots of reports of people typing in the 30 words per minute range, and a couple of people who reported 50 and 57 words per minute.

Best wishes,
Caleb