Accessibility Review of Grasshopper Apps

Grasshopper apps provide a variety of educational iOS apps created for students age four and up.  Some of these apps are free while others have in-app purchases to unlock additional games. There are numerous Grasshoppers apps. Learn more about Grasshopper apps on their website here and subscribe to their mailing list for free apps. While you will want to check out all the apps, in this post, we will be taking a closer look at only three of these terrific apps.

  • Farm Animals (Preschool Games - Farm Animals by Photo Touch)
  • Sight Words by Photo Touch
  • Bitsboard

Farm Animals

Farm Animal app logo; image of a cow inside a circle.This app can be found in the App Store as Preschool Games - Farm Animals by Photo Touch.

In this app, the student is directed to, "Touch the (animal)." When the correct animal is selected, a verbal praise is given. If the incorrect animal is selected, a 'thunk' sound is made.

Accessibility Review

Low Vision: This app is wonderful for students with low vision. The images are clear photos of real animals, most of the images have high-contrast, and the uncluttered background is white. Images appear in predictable locations making it easy for students to find each image. This app is beneficial for students with CVI who are ready to identify pictures of farm animals.

VoiceOver: Currently the game is not accessible for students who rely on VoiceOver. The game automatically announces the instruction. Example: "Touch the cow." When a student drags his finger around the screen, the animal images are only labeled as 'button'. The button can be activated when running VoiceOver; however, the blind student cannot distinguish which animal is associated with a specific button.

Solution: The image/button can be labeled in such a way to provide the blind student with a clue. Depending on the goal of the game, the cow might be identified with a sound (moo) or a description of the animal. The description would need to be detailed enough to distinguish one animal from a similar animal - such as a horse vs. a donkey.

The video below demonstrates the Farm Animal app.

Sight Words by Photo Touch

Sight Words by Photo Touch logo: cartoon face - a white circle with eyes and glasses on a colorful background.Sight Words by Photo Touch in the App Store here.

The Sight Words game is similar to the Farm Animals game, with sight words replacing the animals. Each word is a different color. The game announces a word and the student selects the word by tapping the correct word. Verbal praise is given for a correct answer and a 'thunk' sound is given for an incorrect answer.

This app is customizable: add your own sight word list, your own voice, or your own handwritten words. You can choose to have 1 to 5 words displayed on the screen. You can also add or delete words.

Note: In order to access the app's Settings, you must use a three-finger tap in the center of the screen. Currently, the three finger tap does not open Settings, with or without VoiceOver. (iOS 11.3 and latest version of Sight Words)

Accessibility Review

Low Vision: This app is wonderful for students with low vision. The colorful text uses lower case letters with high contrast.  The uncluttered background is white. Images appear in predictable locations making it easy for students to find each image. This app is beneficial for students with CVI who are ready to identify sight words. This app has also been recommended for students on the autism spectrum.

VoiceOver: Currently the game is not accessible for students who rely on VoiceOver. The game automatically announces the instruction. Example: The game announces the word, "One". When a student drags his finger around the screen, each word is only labeled as 'button'. The button can be activated when running VoiceOver; however ,the blind student cannot distinguish which word is associated with a specific button.

Solution: The image/button can be labeled so that it spells out the word. Example: The word 'one' would be spelled out: 'O-N-E'.

The video below shows a young student playing the Sight Word app. The screen shows a customized word list with handwritten words.

Bitsboard App

Bitsboard app in the app store here.

Bitsboard logo: 4 white squares on a blue background.Bitsboard is the Top 5 Education Game in the US App Store. Study almost any topic for free across 25 addictive mini-games, create your own games or download study sets created by other educators. Bitsboard is a robust app with numerous features and games - no wonder it is the Top 5 Educational Game - and Bitsboard is FREE!

For more information about Bitsboard, go to Bitsboard website.

Learn about Bitsboard accessibility here. Most games on Bitsboard are accessible with a switch controller. Users can adjust the contrast in Settings and games can be customized for each user.

User Guides are available for each game and can be found in the right side of the the Help page.

Educators can track and manage users.

Bitsboard Games

  • Flashcards
  • Explore
  • Photo Touch
  • True or False
  • Genius
  • Memory
  • PopQuiz
  • Match Up
  • Word Builder
  • Spelling Bee
  • Bingo
  • Reader
  • Word Search
  • Story Time
  • Side by Side
  • Odd One Out
  • Unscramble
  • Puzzles
  • Review Game
  • Trace it Game
  • Missing Letter
  • Sequences
  • What' Next?
  • Related Items
  • Board Creator
  • Crosswords
  • Secret Words

Personally, I am very excited to have such a variety of content readily available as well as the option of creating my own content. The wide assortment of games is mind-boggling! One of my favorite games is the Match Up game as it incorporates the technology skill, drag-and-drop. (Drag-and-drop is a tech skill that is incorporated into many online assessments!)

Screenshot of the Bitsboard Match up game: two images of cats on the left, the words, licking, eating and sitting and three boxes on the right. The picture of a cat eating has been dragged to the box beside the word 'eating'.

Accessibility Review

Low Vision: Like the other Grasshopper apps mentioned above, Bitsboard is wonderful for students with vision and students with low vision. The images are clear, have high contrast and the background is uncluttered.

VoiceOver: VoiceOver does read the text, VoiceOver navigation commands work and images can be dragged-and-dropped. However, when using drag-and-drop, VoiceOver does not announce the words or the empty box when the image is dragged over them. Currently, the images are not labeled and some buttons are not labeled. Since the apps are so visual in nature, the lack of labels makes the games inaccessible for students who rely on VoiceOver.

The video below provides an overview of the Bitsboard app.

Grasshopper Support of Accessibility

Paths to Technology emailed Grasshopper Support to provide accessibility feedback. The support team emailed back the same day saying that they try very hard to have VoiceOver work properly with their apps. The support team shared that they forwarded the accessibility feedback with their development team and hope to have the accessibility issues resolved soon. The support team asked additional questions and was very open to feedback. I'm excited about their interest in making these terrific apps available for all students!

Grasshopper app collage

Comments

Posted by Diane BraunerApr 09, 2018

If you sign up for FREE Grasshopper apps, you will receive emails with links to the free apps. Grasshopper only asks that if you download the free app, that you review the app in the App Store or send an email to Grasshopper with feedback to make the app even better. Below is a screenshot example of one of the free apps, Secret Fry Words Game. This is a terrific game that teaches reading, spelling and important tech skills such as drag-and-drop.

Screenshot of Fry Words app: image of heart, ice cream cone and magnetic, each image has a blank box below; three corresponding letters are: m, h, i

Without Voiceover, tap the image to have the image announced. (Example: tap the red heart image to hear the announcement, "heart".) Tap on the desired letter (must be in sequence) and the correct letter will automatically move to the next open block. If you tapped the wrong letter, the background of the letter turns red and the letter does not move. You can choose to drag the letter to the right open block at any time. Once the letters are moved you will hear, "You spelled the word, ___."  (Example: "You spelled the word 'him'.")

Accessibility With VoiceOver: The images are not announced, the letters are not announced and the blocks are not announced. Double tapping on the correct letter will move the letter to the right block and drag-and-drop does work. This game is not accessible with VoiceOver as students who rely on VoiceOver are not able to identify the unlabeled images or the unlabeled letters.

 

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