Version 2.0 of Communicado has been released. This is the iPad app I developed several years ago for people with aphasia. It was due for an upgrade. This version is a complete rewrite with a more modern look. For existing users the app will behave as before. It will just look slightly more, well, I think, beautiful. For editors of user content a couple of very useful features have been added.
What is Communicado?
Communicado is a communication assistant for those with speech impairments, like post-stroke aphasia. This iPad app offers categories of words and images that can be adjusted to fit the personal needs and life circumstances of the user. Communicado is intended to help those with impaired speech connect with the world and the people around them.
For people who know what they want to say, but who are simply unable to find or pronounce the words, being able to point at pictures or words on a screen could be a solution, or a help. Communicado provides users with a vocabulary of words, containing text, an image, or both. To help find the words on the screen, they are organised into categories. The categories themselves can have subcategories. Communicado makes it very easy to select the categories, the subcategories, and the words within them.
A vocabulary needs to be created. In general, the actual user will not be able to do that (although it is not forbidden, of course). Therefore, a special kind of user, called an editor, usually creates the vocabulary. Special editor tools are available within Communicado to allow the editor to create and edit vocabularies, categories and words. For each of these items a title and an image can be added. Words can have additional text. Changing the colour of items is also supported.
In addition to text and images, items can contain spoken words. An editor can record sound for each item. It will be played when the actual user touches the item. If no sound has been recorded, the title of the item will be spoken.
Why a new release?
We started development of the first version of Communicado in 2012. The previous release, version 1.6, was from 2016. In the mean time, iOS had changed a lot, and many new features were introduced that we did not support. It was about time we came with a new version. Alternatively, we could have ended the development, but in 2018 we were rewarded as the best app for aphasia in The Netherlands. We had no choice.
After experimenting with a new release, merely to get acquainted with Apple’s then new programming language Swift, we found that rewriting the app in Swift was the way to go. Development started in June 2019. The project was, and still is, called Communicado2019. However, the official product name is just Communicado 2.0.
Our goal was to make sure that existing users had no problems after updating to the new version. Communicado 2.0 feels the same as Communicado 1.6, but it looks different. More space, more colours. Still, highly recognizable.
For editors, we made lots of changes. Most of the previous functionality still exists. New features have been added. Integration with other apps has been improved.
We also tried to make Communicado easier to use. We added help tips and integrated help text. In addition, extensive instructions for working with Communicado 2.0 can be found on the new website, www.communicado.eu.