As new iPads with iOS 9 appear, the “Hey Siri” feature may make the need for keys for speech recognition obsolete, but until that time, some users may need that feature readily available on the keyboard.
I recently evaluated a senior citizen who was cognitively alert and highly interested in using technology to communicate with others and search for information on the Internet. She was very articulate, literate but also diagnosed with low vision (mild) with some motor challenges.
Use of a standard computer, after many years away from active use, seemed to be quite overwhelming. Access to the iPad was more intuitive and also offered simplified methods of offering her the tools she was interested in using. Speech recognition, along with Siri was were tools of interest to her for searching and writing. Although speech recognition is a viable option, use of a keyboard is seemed important for allowing increased screen size by eliminating the keyboard, providing a concrete method of accessing the keyboard for correction. A keyboard with the speech tool concretely available on a key would also aid her access and use.
Realizing she would most likely be getting an iPad Air 2 (yes, the iPad Pro might be a great tool for her when in arrives this month?), the search for keyboards with a hard speech recognition key began. Here is what I found as possible iPad Air 2 case with keyboards with a hard speech recognition key:
Belkin QODE Ultimate Lite Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2 (Black) – 99.99 (Amazon.com) has a lightweight aluminum alloy shell, folds flat, offers multiple angles for iPad positioning and has a microphone button for speech recognition.
ZAGG Rugged Book Case Durable Hinged with Detachable Backlit Keyboard for iPad Air 2 – Black (ID6RGK-BB0) – 113.00 (Amazon.com) offers a protective case, backlighting keyboard, a speech recognition button and multiple positions of the screen. It does not fold back , but it can be taken off the hinge for reading.
Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad Air, Space Grey – 99.00 (Amazon.com) is lightweight, offers an aluminum cover, stand, separates for closure and offers a speech recognition button.
Given the low vision, motor challenges and type of handling that may happen with the device, I vote on the Zagg Rugged Case. The back lighting, rugged case and ability to use it for just reading is a plus. Large key labels will also be suggested for improved viewing the keys. Observations of this clients’ handling of the device found that having a hard case all around it also will help to reduce additional touch input that occurred. Initial trial found her touching the edge of the iPad causing additional unwanted input to the device. I will suggest a stylus also, as that significantly improved accuracy of selection of iPad icons compared to activation with her fingers.
Training and set up of the device for low vision, her specific interests and ease of use will be required for this client. I believe with training she will have access to communication and information pertinent to her.
Are there other cases you have used successfully with senior citizens?
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