Evaluation of software applications for improving speech and language development
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Evaluation of software applications for improving speech and language development



Master thesis about evaluating different APP-s used for speech and language development.

Master thesis about evaluating different APP-s used for speech and language development.



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  • AAC – Umbrella term. The basic idea is to use all possible ways for expressing yourself – hand signals, speech, typing, writing etc.App – stands for any software application or so called program, which in meaning of current thesis can be used as AAC device for SPEECH A L DEV.Benchmarking – In current approach means a device or tool or matrix to use for evaluation in process of choosing proper App for SALD.
  • One of the background researches before reaching to current topic, was a search for proper device for using as SALD device. Then it was discovered, that such devices are available, but the price tag IS the highest limitation to start using these as common equipment's for SALD and AAC.Next idea provided by my supervisor Helen was to create or search (research) for an APP’s created for same purpose. The idea was to do something in Estonian or to find something suitable for translating or somehow reusable.During research process, where I had to also deal with LANGUGAGE problems, I discovered, that FINDING suitable app is not only about language. There’s a lot of additional points to be taken into account by therapist, parents etc.PLATFORM
  • The basic question is how to overcome digital divide by using APP-s on tablets as AAC devices for SALD? i.e. key points for choosing or evaluating such APP-s. First and in context of current thesis was the most important part to find appropriate APP-s to start researching field more deeply.Second important goal was to create points to evaluate different Apps against.
  • Speech therapist/supervisor was involved to process and all steps were discussed before acting to avoid unnecessary negative emotions from related subjects.In research were not involved patients with real need for AAC device except authors own tests within family.
  • First step was to limit the area for further research. I.e. determine most important features for APP-s for using as AS SALD or AAC devices. For that was conducted interviews to find out expected criteria for AAC device for using in SALD.These were:Adjustable colors of screen background, words etc. Important by visual or multiple impairments. Forgiving interface which means a design with either adjustable layout or icons / buttons with a size that would be easy to handle. Interaction model should be the same through all of the App's interfaces - e.g. a button with an image of a house always takes back to the beginning of App. Nice and large/adjustable images or elements through different interfaces of the App. Possibility to attach remote devices for controlling the App - large external switches, eye trackers, etc. Simplicity - everyday basic communication is enough to keep it simple. Adjustable content according to the patient’s language, age, mental and physical ability, cultural origin, etc. Repository of different downloadable additional materials and personal materials.Subjects were Speech therapists, parents, teachers. WHY – cause involving children would be more deep and complex research to get results.
  • Initial matrix gave an starting point to start work with APP-s. These were for points to choose most appropriate APP-s.Provided evaluation was provided by Author to test APP-s for usability etc. the idea was to familiarize etc.
  • Platform Price Languages Usability Ready to use preinstalled materials Edit and add content Share or reuse own content Chosen platforms – why.By determined criteria was chosen following APP-s1. Alexicom AAC - http://www.alexicomaac.com 2. TapToTalk - http://www.taptotalk.com 3. JABtalk - http://www.jabstone.com 4. AAC speech - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.epfl.android.aac_speech 5. GoTalk Now - http://www.attainmentcompany.com 6. FCS Lite - http://education.conovercompany.com/mobile/apps/fcs/ 7. Spell-A-Word Lite http://www.appannie.com/app/ios/spell-a-word-lite/ 8. Aeir Talk - http://aeirtalk.com
  • Usability tests supervised by author Accessibility was as an extra value. The test against color blindness was only real life example for therapists.External devices, visual appearance.
  • Usability tests supervised by author Accessibility was as an extra value. The test against color blindness was only real life example for therapists.External devices, visual appearance.
  • Parents (author including), usability and accessibility specialist, designer, Speech therapist, teachers. No patients.iPad 2, ASUS Transformer TF300T.Alexicom AAC - http://www.alexicomaac.comTapToTalk - http://www.taptotalk.comJABtalk - http://www.jabstone.comAAC speech - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.epfl.android.aac_speechGoTalk Now - http://www.attainmentcompany.comFCS Lite - http://education.conovercompany.com/mobile/apps/fcs/Spell-A-Word Lite http://www.appannie.com/app/ios/spell-a-word-lite/Aeir Talk - http://aeirtalk.comUsability test performed by author By usability test was expected that the App-s with highest scores in initial evaluation will have highest results in testing too.
  • All touch devices can be used if approriate SW is availible. All APP-s can’t be used in all situations – for choosing apps should be involved therapist.Important features may vary for each patient.
  • Good usability of best APP-s was not the main goal. The idea was to test how good are APPs for real life situations. To determine the main focus points for such APP-s.To use different tester were important to see how to interact and how usable are touch devices in case never used before. Some kind of contact with target group gives an input for real life requirements – none available from users from street.
  • At very beginning there's none of actual SPEECH there is only AAC – baby uses crying as a way to communicate. Later the development of words will began etc. For using AAC there might be two potential reasons – speech and language development is not in the stadium, where it would be enough to express wishes. E.G. Child wants to play with toy – he can either name it, show hand signal or to some kind of voice. AAC devices are developing with child or any other patient. E.G. APP-s in current research might be in use by some cases maybe for couple of months. Later there is need for AAC or it will be used in some other way.
  • Different language structure makes it difficult to translate or create simple sentences with directly translated words.

Evaluation of software applications for improving speech and language development Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Evaluation of SoftwareApplications for Improving Speechand Language DevelopmentAuthor: A. Ilves - IMKE10Supervisors: David Lamas, PhD; Helen Saareoja,MSc
  • 2. AboutAACAppBenchmarking
  • 3. ProblemPrice of out of box devicesFinding suitable APP
  • 4. Research question(s)How to choose right APP?How to create benchmarking tool?How relevant are the results?
  • 5. Research process
  • 6. First stepsInterviews with speech therapists.Expected criteriaSubjects
  • 7. Initial MatrixInitial matrixInitial evaluation
  • 8. Finding APP-sCriteriaOutcomes
  • 9. Results of initial evaluationAlexicom AAC - http://www.alexicomaac.com 5,66TapToTalk - http://www.taptotalk.com 4,5JABtalk - http://www.jabstone.com 4,83AAC speech -https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.epfl.android.aac_speech 3,83GoTalk Now - http://www.attainmentcompany.com 4,33FCS Lite -http://education.conovercompany.com/mobile/apps/fcs/ 5,33Spell-A-Word Litehttp://www.appannie.com/app/ios/spell-a-word-lite/ 1,83Aeir Talk - http://aeirtalk.com 2,83
  • 10. Redesign of matrix
  • 11. Usability and AccessibilityUsability testsAccessibility
  • 12. Testing procedureSubjectsDevicesAPP-sExpectationsResults
  • 13. ConclusionsSuitable devicesImportant featuresFinal tool for benchmarking
  • 14. Thank you!A. Ilves - IMKE10
  • 15. Value of expertise ofspeech therapists notfamiliar with language-related appsGood expertise in language developmentfieldDifferent testersContact with target group
  • 16. The difference betweenspeech & languagedevelopment and AACSALD development is processAAC is as support for SALDAnd independent device with owndevelopment process.
  • 17. Linguistic barriers whenadapting English-languagespeech developmentsoftware into EstonianLinguistic structureThe cultural background
  • 18. Thank you!A. Ilves - IMKE10