For many blind people, typing on a touch screen can be slow and frustrating. There are ways around this, such as using a refreshable Braille display or dictation. There are also a number of apps that can be downloaded which can turn your touch screen in to a Braille keyboard. So, if you are familiar with the lay-out of a traditional Perkins Brailler keyboard, such apps may be for you.
The app we’re focusing on this month is the recently released iBrailler Notes app available for iPad and iPad mini.
The app works by allowing you to place your fingers on your iPad screen and type Braille directly in to the app. One feature that the app developers are very proud about—and one which reviewers have praised – is its dynamic keyboard. By placing the keys so that they are always underneath your fingers, typing with iBrailler Notes is extremely accurate and very comfortable.
The app supports a number of types of Braille, such as English Grade 1 (uncontracted Braille) as well as English Grade 2 (contracted Braille) and 6 dot computer Braille.
Although the app is free, there is an in-app purchase which allows you to unlock extra features. This costs £29.99 and provides a number of ways to share notes including BRF import/export, email and Dropbox integration. This could be useful in classroom/college settings—but for the casual user, I’d suggest waiting until the price comes down a little.
I’ve been using this app for a couple of days and, from a personal point of view, it wasn’t for me—although that isn’t to say that others won’t find it useful. Setting it up is easy—simply downloads the app and go through the set up wizard. I found it was hard, even with the dynamic keyboard to know where to place my fingers to type. This made it very difficult for me to accurately enter data. As I said though, apps are subjective and others may not have this problem.
You can find out more and download the app on the iTunes website.