Picture Speech Blog

Capture and listen. Don't just read.

Developing for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

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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

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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

Introducing Picture Speech


We are extremely excited to announce the release of Picture Speech, this is our first new release out of our new in house development team at Unionloft.

Picture Speech is a free app that allows you to capture and listen to any type of text. We’ve strived to make it as simple as possible to capture books, text, pictures and documents which you can then listen to that content back. You can save the content to notebooks and have them synced to our private and secure cloud.

The app is initially launching on any devices iOS 7 or higher however we strongly recommend that you use an iPhone 4s, iPad 3 or later device since these have a higher resolution camera. We also are happy to support iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus out of the box with extra support for those massive new screen sizes. You’ll see enhanced features on the 6 and 6 Plus such as a 3 column layout with more coming soon.

When developing Picture Speech we had a few key markets to target, specifically for people suffering with dyslexia. We however found that the app can have a purpose for anyone with the key being “Capture and listen. Don’t just read”.

To help our users we have quite a few accessibility settings that can be changed. You are able to choose the gender of the voice, either British male or American female. You can also choose how fast they will talk. With the use of Dynamic Type in iOS we allow you to change the font size to make it easier to read along, this reflects your overall system font size preference. We also have used the colour yellow as this is an easier colour to read on, we intend to introduce more colours at a later date. Whilst you listen to your note you will even see the word that is currently being spoken along the bottom of the screen. We know there is more we can approve on in terms of accessibility and encourage you to provide feedback to us.

We can’t wait to see the different ways many people will use the app. Picture Speech is available now in the App Store (download here). It is completely free to download and we won’t be charging for features that are in the app at Version 1. We encourage you to provide us with feedback and let us know what you would like to see in the app at http://picturespeech.com/support, your feedback will directly contribute to each version release.

Capture and listen. Don’t just read.

Accessibility Features in Picture Speech


Picture Speech is an app that is designed to support you. Whether it is to support you in your learning, your occupation or just general reading within your daily life. Picture Speech allows you to capture and listen to any type of text. This app lets you listen to the text you have captured or written within the app. We’ve taken a number of steps to support everyones needs.

This app gives you the option to capture or insert text. You can capture text from various sources such as books, pictures and documents. If you were to insert text, then you can copy, paste or write your text in to listen to. With these two options, it can support you in all types of situations. For example, if you are struggling to read a document, Picture Speech gives you the confidence to stay independent. Rather than seeking help from others, you would simply capture the text into the app which you can then listen back to.

This entire app is designed to be simple with a clean user interface. We have also included a number of accessibility features such as a yellow background since research has shown white backgrounds should be avoided on paper, computers an visual aids as it can appear to be too dazzling for those who are dyslexic (http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/about-dyslexia/further-information/dyslexia-style-guide.html). We also offer the ability to change the speed of the reading voice and the gender. We are planning to include further accessibility features such as more colours as some individuals with dyslexia have their own colour preference. We welcome everyone to provide us with feedback on accessibility features that they would like to see at http://picturespeech.com/support.

What is Picture Speech?


Picture Speech is a free app that allows you to capture and listen to any type of text.

“Capture and listen. Don’t just read.”

Selling points

  • Simple and clean user interface
  • Unlimited uses for any purpose.
  • Free to download and use with no in-app purchases
  • Universal app for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch
  • Fully supports iPhone 6 screen.


  • Capture books, text, pictures and documents
  • Copy, paste or write text to listen to
  • Listen to captured content
  • Create, organise and edit notebooks
  • Add your own personal cover to your notebooks
  • Sync your notebooks to our secure, private cloud
  • Change your voice options (speed and gender)