Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Fleksy is a very interesting iOS keyboard option for users with visual impairments or who need word prediction. Like other input apps (Dragon or Typ-O) it does not replace the stock iOS keyboard, but is an app that you use to input text, but have quite a few options for getting the text to other apps or into messages. It has the most complete sharing list including Twitter, messages, email, copy & paste, and I would assume Facebook when iOS 6 is released this fall.
The concept is that you just need to know the general layout of the keyboard to type and the app will predict what you meant. After watching the demo video I couldn't believe how inaccurate you could type and have the app still get the correct word. Once you type a word you use simple swipe controls to select the word you want (swipe up or down for different word options, right to put them in the message). It works seamlessly with Voiceover so all the words are said out loud as you type. Check out the demo here:
There are a set of great instructions on how to use Fleksy at http://instructions.fleksy.com and it is screen reader accessible. If you are interested an audio tour of the app, check out this podcast - David Woodridge Fleksy Podcast.
I was completely blown away watching the demo at how well the word prediction worked in this app. I can see using it with many students who need word prediction, especially in this form factor. The simple design, larger keyboard layout, and simple commands could make it very easy to master for many students. Integrated with Voiceover you have something nearly as powerful as Write Out Loud or other word prediction software suites.
Fleksy is $14.99 in the App store and requires iOS 5 (which means older devices cannot run it). It only runs on iPhone and iPod touch at this time.