Android Accessible Contact Manager and Phone Dialer

The Product/Outcome
Exploitation Plans
Intellectual Property Rights
Technical & Socioeconomic considerations/challenges and impact
Future Work
Success stories
FAQ


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The Product/Outcome
  1. Title of (final) product/outcome: Android Accessible Contact Manager and Phone Dialer
  2. Developer (AEGIS beneficiary): UPM-LST
  3. Purpose/main functionality & intended use: The application is a phone dialer and contact manager that is accessible to people with visual and cognitive disabilities via assistive technologies. The intended use of the Accessible Contact Manager and Phone Dialer is to provide an accessible solution to manage the contacts agenda, for people with cognitive or visual disabilities, as well as blind users. See more in D4.5.1a, D4.5.1b, D4.5.1c and D1.4.4 (downloadable here)
  4. Platforms/Operating Systems/Devices: Android 2.2 OS or later
  5. Main innovation and comparison to the State of the Art: The key innovations of the application are: (1) having an ad-hoc accessibility service to improve Android's accessibility messages; and (2) allowing users to interact with the application by simply drawing a gesture on the screen to perform an action. Compared to the state of the art on Android, the Accessible Contact Manager and Phone Dialer enhances accessibility features of the contacts agenda and provides an accessible approach that is not offered though previous versions of Android platform. Regarding competitors, CodeFactory offers a set of accessible applications which includes a contact manager application accessible for people with visual disabilities, but it requires a payment for its usage.
  6. Maturity level/Stage: The Accessible Contact Manager and Phone Dialer is mature, since all its functionality has been implemented. However, it has been improved for blind users, so it has been ported to the Android 4.0 and 4.1 platform, taking advantage of its new accessibility features.
  7. Open Source (Yes/No): No
  8. Download/info: Google Play (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=eu.aegis_project.android.ContactManager)
  9. End-user documentation: End user training material is already available in AEGIS training platform (http://aegis.bluepoint-it.ro).
  10. Contact details (of the principal developer):
    • This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
    • Juan Bautita Montalvá
    • Silvia de los Ríos
    • Maria Fernanda Cabrera
Exploitation Plans
  1. Uptake by Open Source community:
    • Since when: since 24th May 2011 the alpha version is available at the Android market
    • Where: Google Play (Google Play (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=eu.aegis_project.android.ContactManager
    • Who: Downloadable application
    • Anticipated target price/annual sales: Free (however a premium with extra features such as theming version of 1Euro is possible in the future)
    • Exploitation role and rights (of main and co-developers/integrators): There is already a product to exploit, the Android Contact Manager, which is free to download. With improvements a spin off could exploit it on a license basis by offering new functionalities, but there will be always a free version in the market
Intellectual Property Rights
  1. Intellectual property rights: Copyright of the source code belongs to the authors of the software. General copyright legislation therefore applies as protection
Technical & Socioeconomic considerations/challenges and impact
  1. Possible market applications – further research: The developed application was designed initially taking into account two main categories of users: visual and cognitive disabled. Nevertheless, the high usability offered makes its use universal for any kind of users
  2. Marketability: The Accessible Contact Manager and Phone Dialer is already in the Android Google Play marketplace. It offers support until the Android 4.1 version so far. The developed application was designed initially taking into account two main categories of users: visual and cognitive disabled. Nevertheless, the high usability offered makes its use universal for any kind of users
  3. Deployment (so far or near future): The Accessible Contact Manager and Phone Dialer is ready for commercialization since May 24, 2011, that is available in the Android Google Play (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=eu.aegis_project.android.ContactManager)
  4. Expected impact: The Accessible Contact Manager will benefit users if it is used as the default application for Android mobile phones, especially for users with visual or cognitive disabilities. (Mobile) Dasher Users with cognitive disabilities will benefit from the use of images and voice associated to each contact, as well as from the use of gestures to perform actions. Users with visual disabilities will benefit from the high degree of personalization allowed by the application (font size, contrast, layout...), as well as, in some cases, by the use of the screen reader (that includes the explore-by-touch functionality offered by Android 4.0). Blind users especially will benefit from the new version compatible with the Android 4.0 platform which takes advantage of its new accessibility features, including the explore-by-touch method, also improving the user interaction with the screen reader.
    We have already some statistics that show an idea of the expected impact of the application, as it has already 3761 downloads by mid-March 2013, and it has been rated with 4/5 stars. People from United States are the main users of the application with a 11,57% of downloads, followed by India (5,96%) and Spain users (3,16 %) and other European countries such as United Kingdom or Netherlands. We expect a steady increase of downloads, since they have augmented more than 50% in the last 3 months.
  5. Customers: Individuals with cognitive or visual disabilities, as well as blind users
  6. "Go-to-market approach": The Android Accessible Contact Manager and Phone Dialer is available at Google Play marketplace, the online Android marketplace accessible from most countries. Android Accessible Contact Manager and Phone Dialer has been disseminated in the following events:
    • CSUN - 27th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference / February 27 – March 3, 2012 / International
    • IST Africa / May 2012 / International
    • Seminar UPM subject “User Interfaces: Interaction Design” / May 2012 / Regional
    In addition, EIDD / Fundacion ONCE Book Project “Design for All in Action – The European Experience”. Abstract “The Accessible Contact Manager Use Case” was submitted for collaboration in the publication of the FONCE Book Project. The book will seek to collect interesting European and global experiences on Design for All in all design sectors including the built environment, products, services, IT, transport and information design. It will be published in Spanish and English showcasing Design for All case studies and the importance of design that considers human diversity. The book will be distributed across the EU.
    In addition, UPM has carried different demonstrations and exhibitions of the AEGIS prototypes in the Smart House Living Lab. This is a facility of the UPM where pilots and demonstrations were held with interested companies that work in the field of assistive technologies like Jung Iberica; a manufacturer of domotic devices that is aware that with an accessible interface, users with disabilities will benefit of an enhanced independence. Other exhibitions with students of high schools took place in the Smart House Living Lab as part of the dissemination program of the University. In these exhibitions the accessibility issues of the AEGIS prototypes were demonstrated and students interacted with the applications.
Future Work
  1. Further research and development steps-future collaboration: The accessibility of the application has been enhanced to be compatible with the latest versions of Android OS. However, future releases of Android OS may imply future upgrades of the application. UPM has released the Accessible Contact Manager and Phone Dialer in the Android Market for free. It is planned to maintain this application and add extra features along the time which enhance its usability and accessibility, and add more functionality; and, in addition, continue making it compatible with the forthcoming Android Platform releases.
Success stories
  • The Accessible Contact Manager and Phone Dialer have been ready for commercialization since May 24, 2011 when it was available on Google Play (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=eu.aegis_project.android.ContactManager).
  • Some statistics show an idea of the impact of the application, as it has already 3761 downloads by mid-March 2013, and it has been rated with 4/5 stars. People from United States are the main users of the application with a 11,57% of downloads, followed by India (5,96%) and Spain users (3,16 %) and other European countries such as United Kingdom or Netherlands. We expect a steady increase of downloads, since they have augmented more than 50% in the last 3 months.
  • The Accessible Contact Manager and Phone Dialer has been integrated with the Tecla Access on-screen keyboard and Dasher for Android, which are alternate text entry systems for mobile devices for users with motor disabilities.

FAQ

Q: Is the Contact Manager suitable for use on tablets?
A: Yes, the Contact Manager should work properly on tablets and other devices regardless of the screen size. However, the user has to take into account that the tablet must have phone features and a SIM card, in order to be compatible with the application.

Q: Are there any hidden operations or options that may be difficult to access?
A: No, the Contact Manager does hide contextual menus or other non-visible interface options. All of the operations are available and can be accessed with just one tap.

Q: What about the mobile battery, bandwidth or memory?
A: The Contact Manager application was created taking into account performance. This application does not run in the background and does not use any online data, so it will not impact users' data plans. The application makes efficient use of processor and memory in order to minimize battery usage.

Q: Will the application corrupt my contacts?
A: The user’s contacts will not be corrupted by use of this application. All of the operations performed on the contacts will be handled as a native contact application, so there are no compatibility problems. If the user creates new contacts or edits the existing ones, then the changes will be compatible with other applications as well.