Picture Speech Blog

Capture and listen. Don't just read.

How can Students use Picture Speech?

Revision

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

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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

NEW FEATURES

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

OTHER CHANGES

• 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

NEW FEATURES

• 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

SETTINGS IMPROVEMENTS

• 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

CAPTURE IMPROVEMENTS

• 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

USER INTERFACE IMPROVEMENTS

• 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

PLEASE NOTE

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

Developing for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 14.12.06

Picture Speech was ready for iPhone 6 even before the devices were announced. A new feature named Size Classes were introduced in June at WWDC (Worldwide Developer Conference from Apple). Size Classes were a new way to design layouts for iOS, previously you designed for a standard iPhone size and a standard iPad size, this is had now completely changed. You can now design one interface and scale it appropriately for any device in any orientation.

Early on in development we knew larger phones were coming and it was clear that we had to implement ‘Size Classes’ to be able to easily support them when they arrived. The hard work paid off with the ability to submit to App Store the next day after announcement with minor adjustments based on final specs. We were also able to do some special things for iPhone 6 users such as offering a 3 column view of notebooks in portrait exactly like the iPad counterpart. We intend to work on more features that would be appropriate for these larger screens. Of course iPhone 6 Plus also got even higher res graphics that we had pre-prepared before the big announcement.

The app is also fully designed to be compatible in every orientation, landscape or portrait. A lot of iPhone apps only work in portrait and whilst this makes sense to an extent on the smaller phones we still think it is valuable to offer the landscape option. Size Classes helped again to make this possible as well as our clean user interface.

Whichever device, whatever the size, held in anyway; Picture Speech will work perfectly for you, we support every iPhone )(4s and above) as well as every iPad (2 and above). We also fully expect a split screen mode to come on the next iPad’s and Picture Speech will be able to scale to these modes or any resolutions in the future.

Version 1.1 Update Now Available

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 11.44.38

With Picture Speech now in the App Store, it is now time to talk about a new update available now and future updates over the next few months.The first major change is that we now only support iOS 8, this allows us to focus on one version and support this. It was already becoming difficult to support iOS 7 and iOS 8 with some layouts and settings functioning in different ways on each OS. At the time of writing iOS 8 is at 50% adoption rate and this will steadily grow and we recommend that you update as soon as possible. If you want to stick with iOS 7 you will still be able to use V1.0 and any new users will also be offered this version to download.
 
 
A great new feature is ‘Quick Listen’, this allows you to easily listen to any content immediately after you’ve captured it. You no longer have to go back to the notebooks tab and find your note, it’s there and ready for you to listen to. This really improves the speed of the capture process. One other small feature is that your notes now have time stamps against them so you can see when it was created if you have similarly named notes.
 
We’ve implemented the ability to provide feedback to us directly within the app. You can see other feedback, comment/vote on ideas and contact us directly. The feedback system has been a great help to see what features we implement next and we reply to every comment made. With the feedback integration also comes the knowledge base that explains many of the questions you may have and the ability to message us directly with any concerns or support requests not covered by the feedback system or knowledge base.
 
We also included several new improvements that enhance the experience even further. We’ve updated the settings to include new categories, better rate settings with slower speeds, privacy improvements and more. Capturing content with text only will now bring up the keyboard automatically, it will also pick the first word from any converted image and make it the title. A number of UI improvements include a better tab bar, layout margins, brighter backgrounds and more. We’ve finally fixed an annoying bug on the player that would result in it not working on slow networks, plus added a loading icon to the listen screen to help with this.We really hope you enjoy this release, we think it will make the process of capturing and listening even easier. As always we welcome your feedback and now with the new in app feature its even easier, you can also access it at http://picturespeech.co.uk/support. We plan to offer the next update in the coming months with the ability to edit notes and more.

Version 1.1 Release Notes

Picture Speech V1.1

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

New Features

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

Settings Improvements

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

Capture Improvements

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

User Interface Improvements

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