Blue Bird is a speech training app in-development targeted to young adults functioning at a primary school level. The app is designed to encourage improved speech through speech-to-text technology and is applicable to those with a varying level of disability (e.g. Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy and Down Syndrome).
Blue Bird promotes a comfortable and fun learning environment for young adults with developmental needs.
- Age Appropriate: Many apps exist that are at the right level of content for these young adults but are designed in a much to juvenile way. The goal of Blue Bird is to be age appropriate in design while keeping the content at a primary school level.
- Colours: The use of colour is very important to avoid unnecessary emotions or distractions. As part of my thesis Daylight I researched the way we react to colours. I furthered this research recently looking at how children respond to colour. The palette chosen is a result of this research.
- Rhythm: An large challenge for these young adults is cadence and rhythm. Through speech to text, similar to Duolingo, Blue Bird recognizes whether the phrase is repeated appropriately. The app focuses on also showing the rhythm, something for the user to follow along with.
- Control: An important feature built into the app is a pseudo Guided Access that only allows the lesson and app to be closed with specific user commands. As an example in order to leave the lesson a user must gesture their password (be it three finger swipe back and forth or drawing an 'S'). As an application can't override button controls on a device within iOS, the built in iOS Guided Access features would be strongly recommended in addition to the app's.
Blue Bird is a work-in-progress that is continuously undergoing changes and improvements in the hope of creating a product that addresses the needs of children with autism and their instructors, caretakers and parents. Occupational Therapist Catherine Kissick, my mother, is my key inspiration and source of data and requirements to make this app work. Catherine works with children of varying abilities and is a rich source of information on what is lacking in this working world.