Introduction and general discussion of CrowdViz, a new iOS app to connect the blind with sighted helpers

App Developer

Hi Everyone,

I’m Akash, a member of the CrowdViz Team. CrowdViz is an IOS app for blind and vision impaired people that just released from the Apple app store this Monday (Labor Day). I wanted to make this forum post in the hopes that we can have an open discussion about CrowdViz, so that you can understand what our service is truly about. Here is a quick exciting blurb about CrowdViz below:

The CrowdViz iOS app gives you the ability to interact with trusted sighted assistants. Help is just a click away, when you need it most, making it easy and fast using reliable video streaming technology. With just the press of a button “Request Assistance”, the process for human interaction begins as it will immediately search for an available assistant to connect with and answer whatever question you may have. CrowdViz aims to push the boundaries in 3 main categories: quality of assistance, availability, and security.

Quality of Assistance: Our assistants go through a strict and carefully selective hiring process based on the months of feedback provided from our blind beta testers
Availability: Our goal is 24 by 7 trusted staff availability. It’s not an easy goal, but we are working every day to make this achievable.
Security: We believe the security of our end users is extremely important. For that reason our assistants undergo careful background checks during the hiring process.

The app is free to download from the Apple store and really exciting promotions are currently available. Give us a try and see what all the fuss is about.
Here is a direct app store link to download our app: appsto.re/us/nfMP5.i
Also, here is a link to our website: http://www.crowdviz.org
Email me personally if you have any question, concerns, ideas, or just want to chat!
My email: akash@crowdviz.org

Thanks everyone. Look forward to chatting more about it.

Akash

Forum: 

competition with Be My Eyes

This seems like a great app. My only question though is how is this going to stack up with the Be My Eyes app. I understand the helpers for this app are paid which is the reason for purchasing calls, but I feel like a lot of people will turn to the free app instead unless the help is guaranteed to be high quality. I hope I get a chance to try this out

To me, paid services are

To me, paid services are generally better then the free ones as we have found out through various experiences. I have not yet tried this out, but I have a feeling it will be way better then the be my eyes app. Finally, some competition.

Good Question Patrick

App Developer

When you "pay for service" you should expect a higher level of service. That is exactly what we aim to do at CrowdViz. We aim to provide a higher level of service through drastic measures towards improving security, availability, and quality of assistance. Let me add to that in saying a few other points. A paid service is a measure for a very sustainable solution. At CrowdViz, we believe a great product is one that lasts. Through a pay-for-service model, we can continue to improve and conserve CrowdViz as a product. We also believe that through this model, CrowdViz can achieve consistency. Since our staff is hired and trained we can work towards providing a service that is consistent and fulfilling.

App Availability

Are there plans to make this app available in other countries? I checked in the Canadian app store, only to find out that app isn't available in Canada. This was a very big disappointment.

CrowdViz Launched Today in Canada and UK

App Developer

Hi Earle, interestingly enough we just released to Canada and UK earlier today. It may take a few hours for the Apple Store to process the app. We have staggered the country releases for the app across the week, so we can grow at a more smooth and consistent rate. I hope you enjoy it!

subscription instead?

Is there a possibility to add an option for a subscription, instead of paying for individual calls through this app, as what was said earlier? That might convince more people to give it a try and or use it more often.

Accessibility issues on the website.

Hello,

As it stands, there are glaring accessibility concerns, including graphics missing alt tags, on www.crowdviz.org. When one is selling to the blind community, it seems to me a fully accessible, standards-compliant website is the very least we could ask for. Please address this as soon as possible.

To me so long as the app is

To me so long as the app is accessible, as that's what we re using, the accessibility of the site itself can wait for a while. As long as the alt tags are clear enough that's fine to me. I would not worry about it right now.

I do agree that subscription would be an option, although not the only option. But one for those of us with varying uses for the app.

App Not Logging Call

Hi again,

I love this app. I again used it to check to see if my bread had gone moldy. The assistant was thorough and did not end the call till he checked it all out. Sure enough, it'd started to go bad so I tossed it. However, the app doesn't seem to be registering that I've used the calls. I also couldn't rate the assistance (which again was stellar). I will get in touch with you so you can deduct the two calls from the eight I was given. If there's some setting I need to enable or disable so this works properly, please let me know as well. Thanks again.

Web Site Accessibility

Well, there is a Screen Reader Mode link on their web site which is very accessible as far I could tell. So you may want to look for that link.

Subscription Option coming soon

App Developer

Hi Santiago,

Great point! Subscription option is definitely coming soon. We think that this payment plan will be really beneficial for our end users. We are still figuring out the optimal price point before we make it available. In the meantime if anyone has any thoughts or recommendations on the matter please email us at contactus@crowdviz.org so we can have the feedback we need to provide the best subscription option.

Web Accessibility Feedback

App Developer

HI Darrel,

Thank you for the feedback on the accessibility of our website. As mentioned by the user Snorlax. We have incorporated a different and new way of making the CrowdViz website accessible. A link on the website “Screen reader mode” condenses our entire website to both text and audio clips, so it is more blind user friendly and all in one place. I am curious to hear from more people if this method has been useful.Email us personally at contactus@crowdviz.org with any thoughts and feedback on this matter.

Thank you for your awesome feedback

App Developer

Hi Tiffany,

The CrowdViz Team is thrilled that you have had a good experience with us so far. Thank you for letting us know about some of the technical issues you faced. Upon launch we have also experienced similar technical difficulties from the feedback of other users. The next update coming soon will hopefully resolve these matters. If you would like to reach out to the CrowdViz Team for any other questions, concerns, or thoughts feel free to email us at contactus@crowdviz.org

Accessible design

Hi Akash,

Just taken a brief look at the CrowdVis site. Whilst I appreciate that some effort went in to the screen reader version of the site, I wanted to point out that the concept of having a separate version of a site designed to make life easier for screen readers is a very 90's school of thought, and perhaps not the best position for a company who're catering to primarily VI users to be taking.

There are plenty of people floating around here who are better qualified than me to get into specifics, but I can assure you that standards are robust enough nowadays that there's rarely a need for separate versions of a website, assuming you hire a developer with current knowledge of accessible design.

What's there right now works for now, but I wanted to leave some feedback here and urge you to consider a unified accessible design moving forward.

Cheers, looking forward to checking out the app itself.

sharing personal info

Hello,
Even though your staff is trained and have been screened is it still safe to say that if we need help reading a new creditcard number or something very personal that might risk us getting into trouble to still not do this type of thing with these types of apps?
I do plan to try this out! Also it might of been done already and I will look but I think someone should post a podcast here on applevis of them using it.

I don't think asking someone

I don't think asking someone over face time to read a credit card is a good idea even though the person was trained, and went through background checks. I'd still do what I do, I have a family member text me the info as it shows up on my mac and computer.

Just CrowdViz launch at English Language?

Hi Akash!
I understand the this app is brand new, and it only will launch at US, Canada and UK
that's mean only seen as the issue has been seeing Eyes GPS,
This app support other language?
If you want to compete to Be my Eyes launch the app as global and multiple languages.
I live in US but thing about others countries.

They said they will increase

They said they will increase the number of countries each week, so hopefully other languages will be supported.

What about Annual Subscriptions or Up Front Payments

Based on your revenue model, I wonder if an annual subscription could be an option. Personally, I don't like to pay for each call. Given that so many in the blind community in the US are unemployed, short-term or monthly subscriptions could be a challenge. Maybe an annual subscription could convince more people.

On the other hand, why not just go for an up-front payment of, say, $20? I want to pay for a quality app, but at some point, I have to stop buying apps and work within my budget. Thanks.

Response to Sharing Personal Info

App Developer

Hi Troy,

Great Question!

Through the CrowdViz Training that we have given our Trusted Assistants, our staff is properly updated on the fact that they should not provide visual assistance on any personal information during a call. In the situation that personal information is voluntarily or accidentally exposed, our protocol is to immediately update the user that the sharing of personal information is not an acceptable protocol.

We take privacy very seriously and will do what is necessary to protect the privacy of our end users.

Please let me know if you have any other questions about this matter

We request all our end users to not share personal information through our application.

CrowdViz International Release Response

App Developer

Hi Marco,

Good Point!

We have decided that rather than providing an immediate international release, we would instead distribute country releases. We thought this was a good idea, because firstly it gives us the opportunity to have a more stable user growth as we release from country to country. Secondly, we have the opportunity to build more country specific solutions

Our strategy to release to a foreign country falls into 2 main steps:
1) Build a beta testing community of CrowdViz users in the country of potential release
2) Build a community of local Trusted Assistants (This way we can provide a more localized and language specific visual assistance)

Our team at CrowdViz is currently very excited about the opportunity to release to new countries. We are looking for Country Specific CrowdViz Ambassadors to help us release in different countries in the world. All that this role entails is an interest and excitement about bringing CrowdViz to your country. If you feel that you are in this category please personally reach out to our team at contactus@crowdviz.org.

Awesome Experience!!!

I had two contacts with Crowdviz today and both were totally excellent except that when I hung up, The Crowdvis App did not come back to allow for any evaluation, most unfortunate.

The initial registration of the app was totally annoying with a done button which needed activation after each field entry, rather than to simply move to the next field; this needs cleaning up as I almost scrapped the app. There are no instructions in the app itself and that annoying "done" button was a troublesome surprise. After registration, before my first call, I still had to log in again fiddling with that nuisance done button.

My call concerned the reading of a serial number on the back of my brother printer model MFC-J450DW since I needed a replacement CD; the available drivers from the unfortunate and grizzly Brother web site will not install despite claiming to be a full package without the CD, go figure. I made the second call to confirm the serial number since for reasons with no feedback from the web site my printer selections on the registration portion of the site, which took forever, and the entered serial number, was not accepted. Both helpers read the exact same number with the required spacing with no resulting joy. My initial call had used up one of my 8 free trials but my second helper apparently made an adjustment so that I would still have 7 calls left and not six, obviously giving me the benefit of an unsuccessful initial call despite the problem not belonging in any way to my initial helper and crowdvis. Perhaps I'm being niave here since others have reported this call count being a glitch in the App itself.

After four hours of struggling with the Brother site, I was having extreme difficulty in not projecting my grumpiness onto my excellent helpers but their support and obvious interest and desire to be of good service certainly chilled me out.

My second assistant went far beyond anything I expected, visiting the Brother site to see what he could do. Due to time constraints on each call, he could not work through the maze to where the printer registration could be found and I was too annoyed by this time with the site to recall my glass onion experience, so did not give him all the required links to land on the printer registration area which was in fact successfully completed by my sighted friend sometime in July, or so we thought by the resulting web site feedback.

Because it was a facetime call, which I had forgotten but were there instructions within the app itself, I might have read about, I had to enable the rear camera after exposing each helper to my ugly puss, no big deal for me but maybe for them; I did have on my shades.

Are the helpers aware that each facetime call appears in the Phone App under :"recent" as does any of the callers on their system? I don't know for certain but the helpers may have protected email addresses.

This particular session involved more than a simple identification and from my end, might have been more productive had I been able to have a device which would hold the phone stable for me while I managed the keyboard. I believe a useful system would operate much like a boom mike with a floor stand and the usual adjustable vertical pole, hopefully a considerably lighter construction than a traditional floor mike stand. I am currently looking for such a contrivance to hold my Iphone 5C but don't want to pay hundreds of dollars.

Once past the initial stages of the setup, I have no problems with the charge rates and would happily pay for such excellent help, far above the well-intended BeMyEyes offering without any intended slighting on their efforts . All the boohooing about such small charges for so much excellent help simply leaves me flat; most of us, even those who cry poverty, spend more on junk food, electronic toys, etc.BTW, Ben And Jerry's ain't junk food but rather nectar of the gods!

I can't hardly wait to exercise the impressive skills of the Crowdvis gang when I go for one of my many exploratory and yes, theropudic walks when I stop and am curious for a good description of what can be seen around me; that should be a real fun experience

Thank you Doug! Great to hear!

App Developer

Hi Doug,

On behalf of the CrowdViz staff, thank you for leaving such a positive review. I have shared this comment with the trusted assistants that provided the help and I am sure they will be delighted that you were happy with your experience.

In terms of the technical issues, many of them you mentioned will hopefully be taken care of in our next version release (coming soon)! Also, thank you for the feedback on the sign up page. I would love to personally chat with you and see how we can improve the user experience of this page.