Picture Speech Blog

Capture and listen. Don't just read.

Version 1.5 Update Now Available

New Feature for V1.5

For V1.5 we have been considering how to develop Picture Speech further.  Although the application is accessible to users in many different ways, we thought that it could be enhanced even more.

A major feature that has been requested is now available, the ability to select from multiple background colours to make it easier for you to read. Previously, the background was just set on yellow as our initial research showed that yellow was the most common colour filter that individuals were prescribed with. However, the British Dyslexia Association (http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/dyslexic) clarifies that different people are prescribed with different colour filters to suit their need. This is why Picture Speech now offers you the background colour choice of: white, yellow, blue, green and pink. Simply change this in the App Settings once you have logged in. Also, to ensure that all pieces of text and icons are clear for you to see and read, all pieces of text and most icons are now black.

We’ve also been adding other improvements to the application. Just like the design for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and the iPads; iPhone 4s and iPhone 5 now have the three column view for the notebooks. A cleaner capture screen and tips added to the iPad capture screen have also been included within the update.

Version 1.5 Release Notes


• You can now set a background colour on every screen
• Lists now support backgrounds to make it easier to read on
• Five bright new colour themes – White, Yellow, Blue, Green & Pink
• Select the colour from settings
• Most icons are now black to make it clearer to view


• Updated Parse backend
• Added three column view to 4s and 5
• Cleaner Capture Screen
• Tips added to the iPad capture screen
• Reduced size of iCloud backup

Version 1.4 Update Now Available

preview screen

Picture Speech has another update available within the App Store, Version 1.4. This release is all about making it easier for you to capture and listen to text.

We have completely redesigned the process of capturing content to make it easier for you to use. The main new feature of this update is that content no longer needs to be saved to listen to. Basically, after the first sign in process, you can capture and listen to your content offline. This offline process only applies to capture and the first time you listen to it. If you then want to save the content, it will require you to have an internet connection. But, if the content is no longer relevant, you can delete it after listening to it.

As well as redesigning the application, improvements have also been carried out. With the main new feature being that content no longer needs to be saved when you want to listen to it, icons have been added to the preview screen to support this process. On the top left hand side, on the preview screen, there is now a red delete icon which allows you to delete your irrelevant captured text and on the other side is a cloud icon to save it to our secure cloud. Also with V1.4, you can now edit a title of a note after it has been saved to the cloud.

We hope you enjoy this new update and as always please contact us via our feedback site http://picturespeech.co.uk/support to help us develop the application further.

Version 1.4 Release Notes

This release is all about making it easier for you to capture and listen to text.

We’ve completely redesigned the process of capturing content :

  • Capture content and listen to it offline (after first sign in)
  • Offline content only applies to the capture and first listen, saves require an internet connection
  • It is best to be connected during the capture process where possible
  • Content no longer needs to be saved to listen to
  • You can listen to and edit content within the preview screen
  • You can delete a capture if you don’t want to use it after listening to it

Other improvements

  • You can now edit a title of a note after it has been saved to the cloud
  • Fixes an issue that crashed whilst editing notebooks or refreshing notebooks
  • New icons to indicate what you can do on the preview screen (Delete or Save to Cloud)

Version 1.3 Release Notes

We’ve released a small update that adds a few new features and fixes. The next update will be available within the next few weeks and provide a much easier experience to capture and listen to content. We look forward to sharing that with you then.

• Adding a note when within a notebook will now automatically set up the chosen notebook for you
• Ability to like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter from the Profile tab
• Added a setting to automatically go to take a photo on the Capture tab on first load
• Fixed an issue that would show up Profile controls whilst scrolling
• Other minor fixes and performance improvements

Plus all of the new editing and usability improvements from V1.1 & V1.2

Available Now at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/picture-speech/id903813705?ls=1&mt=8 and on your App Store updates.

We appreciate your feedback in helping us develop Picture Speech, visit www.picturespeech.com/support to contact us

Dyslexia Awareness Week

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 15.12.51

This years Dyslexia Awareness Week is from Monday 3rd to Sunday 9th November 2014. The aim for this annual event is not just raising awareness, but also showcasing the achievements that people with dyslexia have made. The theme for this year is ‘Dyslexia Matters’. Below are some interesting articles that bring to light what dyslexia is and how you can still fulfil your dreams.


Sally Gardner, an award-winning children’s author, wrote an article explaining how her dyslexia did not stop her from becoming the woman she is today. From a young age, Sally found school difficult as she was not able to spell anything; but now she doesn’t think of dyslexia as a disability but rather as a gift. Read more here.

Jacob Heywood, an 11 year old schoolboy, inspired a national dyslexia campaign and helped raise awareness of the condition. During his time at school, his peers were unable to understand why he learnt in a different way. Even though he experienced this, he didn’t give up and instead he decided to spread awareness of dyslexia throughout his entire school. He is now using his passion for football to raise funds for Dyslexia Cymru. Read more here.

Henry Winkler, an award-winning children’s writer and dyslexia awareness campaigner, shares how he was completely befuddled by school. Throughout school, he tried extremely hard to succeed but no matter how hard he tried, he could’t do it. Looking back, he now understands that he is not defined by school. No mater how difficult things may get, it has nothing to do what how brilliant you are. Instead, it is good thinking and good thoughts that make you smart. With this in mind, he has now written 26 books.  Read more here.

Spellzone, an online English spelling course, writes a blog for Dyslexia Awareness Week. Within their blog, they mention what the National Awareness Days say about dyslexia and they also introduce some recourses that they have to support individuals with dyslexia. Read more here.

Jonathan Whitmore, how technology can play an important role in supporting individuals with dyslexia. Within this article, it specfically explains how desktop speech recognition can be beneficial for those with dyslexia as they are able to enjoy all of the information sharing, communication and entertainment. Read more here.

Sherri Turnquist has added a selection of links to build awareness on Dyslexia. Each link has different focuses and different purposes. Read more here.


We hope you are enjoying Dyslexia Awareness Week and that we are a small part of it.

How can Students use Picture Speech?


We’re delighted with the amount of feedback that we have received for Picture Speech. The feedback that you have provided us with has shown us how versatile the app is. Knowing that you have found this app useful, in different ways, is overwhelming as this is more than what we had originally expected.

We have found that Picture Speech is extremely useful for students. There are many reasons for this. With this app, they can use this app to help them to revise or carry out their reading assignments. For some students, they prefer to use this app when revising, rather than reading the text themselves, as they find that they remember the subject knowledge more when they listen to the information being read out to them.

A teacher even told us that her students, who are diagnosed with dyslexia, feel empowered when using this app as they are able to work more independently among their peers at school. Therefore, children with SEN can be encouraged by Picture Speech to work more independently with confidence, at home or at school. The teacher also emphasised that Picture Speech is a helpful tool for struggling readers to use daily at school or at home.

Many people have  also realised that this app can support those who have have difficulty in reading English or even those who have English as an additional language. With this app, students who find reading English difficult will still be able reach their full potential in their learning since the language barrier is not affecting them. For example, if the students had to complete a task in their English lesson, they would still be able to carry out the task, however they will be using Picture Speech to support them in their reading.

So, how have you used Picture Speech? Why do you find it useful? We would love to hear from you, and if you have any feedback on how this app can be improved, contact us on http://picturespeech.uservoice.com

Mobile Web Development

Mobile devices using the Picture Speech website

When the Picture Speech website was launched, it wasn’t responsive as it didn’t cater for any smartphones or tablets. But now we are happy to share that over the last few weeks we have been working hard to make sure the website is responsive on all mobile devices.

We started by working on optimising the website for viewing on smartphones to see how the content would scale. The website responds well to smartphones as it targets the width of the device and then scales the content, making the website much more versatile than before. The same principles were applied to scale the content in landscape orientation, making the website much nicer to browse.

For tablets, we adopted similar techniques in targeting the content based on the width of the device you are using; however it was decided that the website would look more like the desktop version. To achieve this we, in essence, squashed the desktop website down to fit into the resolution of a tablet (such as the iPad and iPad mini). This meant that we weren’t compromising on the visual aspects of the website, but instead making it adapt to the width of the device, whilst keeping the same design and layout. As you can imagine, the website looked unchanged in landscape orientation as the original website had a maximum width of 960 pixels, where the lowest resolution iPad has a landscape width of 1024 pixels.

All of these changes have now been made to the website, and are visible on all mobile devices. Check it out at: www.picturespeech.com

Version 1.2 Update Now Available


We’re thrilled with the success of Picture Speech and appreciate you downloading it and using it for every type of task. We have another update available (Version 1.2) with highly anticipated features such as editing.

As mentioned the main new feature is editing, we now offer you the ability to change any previously converted or written text after it has been saved. Simply go on any note, tap the edit button and tap on the area you wish to change. When you have finished you can then save and immediately listen to your updated note. We plan to offer the function of editing the title and moving to a different notebook at a later date.

In our quest to make the capture process as fast and simple as possible with has introduced a new feature “Automatically choosing the last notebook”. After you’ve chosen a notebook in 1.2 this will become the default notebook to continue adding notes to. You don’t need to reselect the same notebook for multiple notes. When you select a new notebook this then becomes the default.

We’ve also updated the backend to make things a bit faster and fixed some other bugs. We hope you enjoy this new update and as always please contact us via our feedback site http://picturespeech.co.uk/support

Version 1.2 Release Notes


• Edit any notes text once it has been saved
• Your last notebook choice is automatically selected for you for quicker saving


• Fixed issue that prevents the build number showing on iPhone 5/4s
• New Parse backend – Speeds up file downloads and uploads, now uses system keychain

If you find any bugs or want to report feedback please visit http://www.picturespeech.co.uk/support

Plus everything from 1.1


• Quick Listen – After saving you can now instantly listen to your saved note without going back into the notebook
• Provide Feedback and Get Help – You can now directly communicate with us within the app, read our knowledge base and provide us feedback.
• Time added to notes screen


• Moved some of the settings into new categories
• Changed the rate settings, speech is now slower and better reflects a normal talking rate
• Privacy improvements the app now checks if you haven’t allowed camera/photos and directs to settings


• Selecting ’Text Only’ option on the capture tab will now automatically show the keyboard
• If you have converted text from an image then the first word becomes your title automatically, you can clear this at any time
• Quick Listen feature


• Improved the layout of the main login and register screen
• Tab bars now are filled when they are the active tab
• Some improvements to layout margins on larger screens particularly iPhone 6 Plus in landscape
• Why Sign Up information
• Brighter backgrounds

Other Fixes

• Potential fix for the player not working when there is a slow network connection
• Added a loading icon for your notes


This app is now for iOS 8 only, iOS 7 users can either upgrade to iOS 8 or continue using/downloading V1.0.