American Foundation of the Blind launches note-taking app

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Monday, 18 February 2013 15:43pm

A specialised iPhone and iPad app called AccessNote has been launched by the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), enabling blind and vision impaired users around the world to write notes on their phones. With a host of accessibility features including compatibility with braille displays and keyboard navigation, AccessNote is an affordable alternative to traditional note-taking devices.

The AccessNote is the first note-taking app specifically designed for blind and vision impaired users, and thus includes VoiceOver support, and adjustable colour contrast and text size.

The AFB is quick to state in the app’s description that it has been developed with the classroom in mind. AccessNote provides a simple, low-cost alternative to the expensive and cumbersome braille devices currently used in most schools.  Also, with assistive technology integrated into mainstream devices such as the Apple iPhone, blind and vision impaired students can feel far less conspicuous.

AccessNote features:

  • Dropbox integration
  • Automatic save feature: This feature takes the hassle out of having to navigate to a separate page to save work.
  • Search: This feature allows you to search for a saved note or to search for keywords within the note.
  • Customisable keyboard: Custom keyboard shortcuts to navigate and perform tasks:
    • Option + R to rename a note
    • Option + C to create a new note
    • Option + F to search for text within a note
    • Option + P to search for a previous note
    • Option + O to move to the next note
    • Option + M to mark a note as favourite
  • The Review feature: This is useful for reviewing your notes as audio. When AccessNote is in Review mode, it reads out your notes so that you don't accidentally alter the file or note you are reviewing. The Review feature also works with a tilt gesture that allows you to skip to the next note. To skip to the next note, tilt the device to the right.
  • Cursor tracking: This feature remembers where you have left the cursor in the current note opened so that if you are working with different notes, the app will take you to where you left your cursor when the note was last opened.
  • Bluetooth keyboard: The Bluetooth keyboard allows you to use a braille display or wireless Apple keyboard. The braille display can convert your notes to braille, while using the wireless keyboard will allow you to use keyboard shortcuts to navigate the app.

App review website AppleVis produced a podcast demonstrating and reviewing AccessNote.

AccessNotes is available world-wide to download from the App Store for $20.99.

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