Text-to-speech programs have been around since Apple included the MacInTalk speech synthesis engine in its operating system in 1984. The Macintosh famously introduced itself to the world by reading the text on its screen. Twenty-eight years later, text-to-speech is a standard feature buried in most operating systems that many people inside the disability community use regularly.
Despite being a standard feature in iOS, text-to-speech synthesis still has plenty of room to grow. The app development company, Data by Design, has created a text-to-speech app for iOS devices that helps both children and adults with visual or fine motor difficulties type out messages that are then read out loud.
Called “The Fat Finger” app, users are able to select the area of the keyboard closest to the letter they intended to type and the app will show the six letters or numbers from that portion of the keyboard. The user then selects the letter or number they intended to type before moving on to the next letter. When they are finished, the user can have their sentence read out loud and even save it for future use.
Screenshot of the Fat Finger iOS app:
More from the Fat Finger website:
Designed by a Speech Language Pathologist, “The Fat Finger” app is a text to speech program that is intended to be used by both children and adults that have difficulty accurately selecting letters from a keyboard.
The user of this app will touch the keyboard in the area of the intended letter or number. A separate screen will then open up with six larger letters or numbers from that area. This larger screen will allow the user to accurately view, select, and/or hear their desired letter or number. After a selection is made the program automatically returns to the main keyboard for further entry.
The goal of this app is to provide a clean, fun, and easy to use interface with clear and easy to understand voices. Individuals with visual problems or fine motor difficulties will benefit most from this product.
- Clear and intelligible voices
- Male or Female voice options
- Option to turn on/off “Fat Finger” feature
- History page to save and store text phrases
- Large buttons for easy navigation between pages
- Large text entry area for easy viewing
- Copy and paste text from other sources