BrailleEasy is a custom keyboard for iOS that enables eyes-free one-handed typing based on Braille.
The BrailleEasy keyboard offers the visually impaired fast typing on touch-screen devices, which can otherwise be very cumbersome and slow. It is based on the original two-handed Braille writing system, but has been transformed into one-handed typing, which results in a more comfortable use of a handheld device.
BrailleEasy was developed at the Qatar Computing Research Institute in close collaboration with the Social and Cultural Center for the Blind ni Doha.
Besides the keyboard, which allows to use the 1-handed brailling in all applications on the phone, BrailleEasy also contains a tutorial app to learn and practice Arabic and English Braille.
BrailleEasy runs on iOS 8.0 or higher and are fully compatible with VoiceOver (Apple’s accessibility support for visually impaired).
In general, touch-screen devices create many inconveniences for the visually impaired community. Although operating systems offer basic accessibility options that help them navigate through the menus, typing still remains very slow. Since the end of 2014, iOS offers a Braille-like keyboard that can speed up typing considerably. However, it requires users to type with both hands, which is troublesome and uncomfortable.
We introduce the custom keyboard that combines the comfort of one-handed typing with the speed of two-handed Braille-like typing. With a simple adaption of transforming two-handed Brailling into two gestures, users can quickly learn how to use our keyboard. If they are not accustomed to typing in Braille or simply want to practice the use of our keyboard, we offer the BrailleEasy-Tutor application with enough lessons to master this new kind of typing. Since it is primarily developed for low-vision or blind users, we completely discard any kind of keys and even allow hand movements while typing. We offer error correction by integrating language model support. The current version already supports English and Arabic but can be easily extended to additional languages.
Barbara Sepic, Abdurahman Ghanem and Stephan Vogel. “BrailleEasy: One-handed Braille Keyboard for Smartphones”. In Proceedings of the 13th AAATE Conference (AAATE 2015), Budapest, Hungary.September 2015.
The app can be downloaded from the Apple iTunes store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/brailleeasy/id1124391970?mt=8
Dr Stephan Vogel
Research Director, Arabic Language Technologies, QCRI
Former Research Associate at QCRI and main developer of BrailleEasy
Your privacy is a great concern to us at QCRI and as such we take great care in protecting your personal data and maintaining your trust.
Collection of Personal Information: When using this app or keyboard, we do NOT collect any information that you provide or type. BrailleEasy neither collects nor transmits any personal information to any server or third party.
Disclosure of Personal Information: As we do not collect any personal information, no personal information will be disclosed or shared with any third party.
Access Required and Usage: Some of the features of BrailleEasy keyboard needs you to enable allow full access. The keyboard needs this access privilege in order to play audio feedback with each user action.