A candid review: Braille Screen Input VS Physical Braille Keyboard
The Braille Screen Input (BSI) for smartphones has been around since 2014 and for many visually impaired users, this was a highly anticipated feature. As with most things, there were both pros and cons to BSI. One user reached out to us with his thoughts:
“The speed and comfort of BSI was a real breakthrough for many users. I found it to be more cumbersome than I had expected. It works well, but the constant need to calibrate and the naturally unyielding feeling of brailling on glass always made the experience a little more frictionless for me than I truly liked. I found, over time, I used BSI less and less.
This wasn’t really an issue for me since I was more than comfortable using direct qwerty input on the virtual keyboard, and where large amounts of text were required, I could easily bring out a portable Bluetooth keyboard. I even got dictation to work quite well for me.
I also used braille-input capability from some electronic braille displays. The disadvantage of this approach was relying on Apple’s own back-translator which as everyone knows has some interesting gremlins, plus the need to lug around another device with my phone.
Inevitably, the development of technology led to braille-input keyboards, and once again I became interested, and after much deliberation and reading several reviews, I chose to give the Hable One a spin.
I will say right up front that I am delighted that I did. This is a fabulous piece of kit which I know is going to be part of my daily tech toolbox from here on in.
This product is relatively new, and it does still have some issues which I am hopeful and confident will be addressed, but even if development stopped today, I believe I will be using this product for some time as part of my daily workflow. It won’t replace the other methods of inputting text or navigating screens which I already use, but it most definitely will augment them and on occasion even be the first choice.”
By Neil Jarvis
Wellington, New Zealand
19 October 2022