Mobile App Review: Compass, by Apple Inc.

  • App version: Version 1.2.1
  • Size - 663.6 KB Category
  • Compatibility - Requires iOS 10.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone.
  • Developer: Apple Inc
  • Copyright © 2016-2017 Apple Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Platform: iOS - IOS: Is for iPhone only.
  • Price - Free - one version available.  No in-app purchases available.
  • Languages - English, Arabic, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Norwegian Bokmål, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Traditional Chinese, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese
  • Age Rating - Rated 4+
  • Link to their website.
  • Link to app store.   

Basic functionality: Navigation and Level:

Find compass directions, see your latitude, longitude, and elevation, or match a slope, all with Compass from Apple.
Features

  • See cardinal directions NSEW and the latitude and longitude of your current location.
  • Check your elevation above sea level on iPhone 6 (or later) models. (Does not work on my i6S).
  • Tap the screen to lock in the current heading, then watch for a red band to see if you’re on course. (This is a visual function only) VoiceOver will read the degrees and the cardinal heading.
  • Swipe left on the Compass screen to match the level of a slope with your iPhone. When your device is perfectly vertical or horizontal, the screen turns green. Just tap the screen when it’s against the surface you want to match. If your device is horizontal, the screen turns red to indicate the relative slope, and turns green when you match the slope. If your device is vertical, the slope is shown in black and the deviation from the slope is marked in red. Tap the screen again to return to standard level.
  • A compass that used to find a cardinal heading NSEW when driving, walking or hiking. A Level for vertical and horizontal and face up; includes degrees of angle. A 360 degree level for a tabletop. Can also be used to match an existing angle. Works well with Voiceover on.    

Audience

  • The app designed for Visual audience. Visually the App may appeal to a Visually Impaired user with White on Black and a red arrow to indicate north. For those that are blind, the App works with Voiceover on.  What age groups: Apple suggests ages 4+.
  • Who else might like to use it and why? Built in Level. Anyone wanting to level a picture or a shelf, level a tabletop or an appliance top, determine the slope of a ramp or a handrail.  
  • Simplicity and ease of use: Easy to figure out how to use it quickly visually or with Voiceover. Can be used in short bursts between other tasks.
  • Playfulness: Yes it delights the user. Yes it is fun to use.
  • Visual design: Yes it is it visually appealing, White on Black with a color change of Red for Degrees or Angles and Green for Level 0 degrees.
  • Sound design: No sound is included. With VoiceOver on, the audible descriptions do help you use the app by telling what function is active: Compass, Vertical Level, Horizontal Level, Face Up Level; and the Direction NSEW, degrees, city, and map coordinates.
  • The app works very well for users with the blind and visually impaired with VoiceOver on. For those with Visual Impairment or blind with other disabilities they would need to be able to physically use VoiceOver gestures and have the cognitive abilities to use VoiceOver.   The App has no features that help those with low vision, hearing impairments, or other disabilities. The IOS operation system provide for this by using VoiceOver. See Apple’s site about accessibility features of iOS.

Specific examples of how this app might be used by Blind individuals

  • Building mental maps of layouts and of routes, and to make future projections along the route based on non-visual memories. By using the Compass App, Cardinal Directions help Blind individuals build a special awareness of objects and locations in relation to each other; and accordingly, in front of, in back, or left or right. By exploring the environment and the directionality of travel in relation to objects, the blind individual is actively researching their environment and building a more accurate mental map to become an amazingly capable traveler.
  • Another use of this app is the Level. It can be used for leveling a refrigerator, a stove, a table or a set of new steps. It can determine the degrees of slope on a ramp and if it is level side to side. It is useful for leveling a picture frame, a TV stand, a mailbox post, or a fence post. It can be used to determine an existing angle or slope and replicate it for symmetry or a needed purpose such as setting the angle of a railing, legs on a swing set or a set of saw horses.
  •  Does it allow you to do something you were unable to do before you got the app? The compass does link to Apple Maps and you can use that in a pinch to navigate. Just tap on the GPS coordinates in the Compass app to launch Maps. It has some similarities to Blind Square when using VoiceOver, but more exploration of Apple Maps App would be needed to understand the pros and cons.
  • Does it allow you to do something that can’t be done (or easily done) on a laptop or desktop computer? Specifically, does it take advantage of the features of the mobile device, such as geo-location, camera, or accelerometer?Once in Apple Maps, with VoiceOver on, you can tap the navigation icon in the bottom left until you turn on compass mode, which will orient the map with magnetic north. Once you know where north is on the map, you can find your target on the map and guesstimate your direction of travel. You can drop a pin or enter a destination. The accuracy of the Apple Maps App is not known to me and more research would be needed.

Image 1:The App Appearance on the iPhone (Enlarged)

Compass app showing compass image with North pointing at 2:00 and the word, "compass".

Opening the Compass APP in VoiceOver

Information Provided

Location, heading degrees, cardinal direction NSEW, coordinates.

Speech Says

"Compass 349 degrees, N, Rutland, VT
(tilt) Hold the device flat for accurate bearing
(turn left) 270 degrees, W."

Touch explore at the base to place focus on “Cooridinates”,
then “double tap” to open in Apple Maps.

Screenshot of Compass with North pointing to 3:00 and text, '271degrees, W Rutland, VT 43 degrees 36'28"N  72 degrees 58'42"W"

The image below includes the compass app screenshot on the right and text with arrows pointing to the screenshot explaining different areas.

Red - Diviation from the Locked Heading (arrow pointing to red bar)

Align the crosshairs to level for accuracy (arrow pointing to crosshairs in the middle of the compass rose)

Direction the iPhone is pointing (arrow pointing to 235 degrees)

Screenshot of Compass app; North is 4:00. Red bar between SW and West (268)

Current location

Tap on the GPS coordinates in the Compass App to launch Maps (arrow pointing to Maps screenshot)

Image below includes the text, "Apple Maps launched - Tap or double tap Navigation icon "Tracing button" to turn on Compass Mode, which will orient the map with magnetic north. App will announce nearby things, streets or search for Domino's Pizza and being walking. (Hypothetical example; I have not tested out the accuracy of Apple Maps.)

2 Screenshots of Apple Maps with arrow pointing to Navigation button and arrow pointing to Search textfield.

Leveling - Up or flat surface orientation

1 finger swipe left to open Level

3 finger swipe left (VoiceOver) to open level

three screenshots of Compass App; Two overlapping white circles on black background with -8 degrees in overlap; black circle with -1 on top of white circle on black background; outline of a circle with 0 degrees on green background.

Leveling - Horizontal Orientation

Turn phone

2 Screenshots of Compass app: diagonal line higher on the left with 9 degrees. Below the line is black, above the line is white. Straight line with 0 degrees, below the line is green, above the line is white.

Leveling - Vertical Orientation

Turn Phone

2 screenshots of Compass app; almost horizontal line with 1 degree, below line is black, above line is white. horizontal line with 0 degrees, below line is green above line is white.

The first screenshot below has the text, "Copy an Angle. Tap or Double Tap to set the angle." 

The horizontal image has a diagonal line (slightly higher on right side) with 0 degrees in the red bar. The width of the red bar is the same from the left to right side of the image. Below the red bar is black space and above the red bar is white space.

The second screenshot below has the text, "Adjusting the angle till it reaches Zero Degrees."

The horizontal image has a red bar that crosses and becomes wider at the top right. 8 Degrees is just to the right of the cross. Below the red is black space and above the red is white space.

The third screenshot below has the text, "Then manipulate the othr object to Zero Degrees."

The horizontal image has a green bar with 0 degrees which is slightly higher on the right side. The green bar is the same width across the screen.  Below the green bar is black space and above the green bar is white space.
 

Three screenshots of the compass app

 

     

 

Comments

Posted by JackVABVISep 10, 2018

Features • See cardinal directions NSEW and the latitude and longitude of your current location. • Check your elevation above sea level on iPhone 6 (or later) models. (Does not work on my i6S). • Tap the screen to lock in the current heading, then watch for a red band to see if you’re on course. (This is a visual function only) VoiceOver will read the degrees and the cardinal heading. • A compass that used to find a cardinal heading NSEW when driving, walking or hiking. Also, can be used as a Level for vertical, horizontal and face up is a 360 degree level for a tabletop. Can also be used to match an existing angle. Works well with Voiceover on. • Swipe left on the Compass screen to Open the Level. match the level. (Delete the rest) Bring bullet down one).

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