Author: Alberto Vidal Rodríguez
The first step to start using this application is to download it from the Android or iOS application store, depending on the operating system you have. Both in the Play Store and in the App Store the application can be found as Audio Books, as can be seen in the two images below.
One aspect to highlight is that, once the application is installed, for mobile devices with the iOS operating system, the icon corresponding to the application will display the text LibriVox, instead of AudioLibros, just as it does on Android. Care must be taken as this can make it difficult for some users to identify the application after downloading and installing it.
As mentioned above, the application can be used completely free of charge. However, within it the possibility of subscribing to the version without advertising is offered by paying. Through this payment you can support the development of the application, remove all the ads within the app and access all the content. Even so, it is noted that the ads present in the free version are not annoying or hinder the normal use of the application.
On Android mobile devices, to make this payment if desired, you will access the screen of Settings. Once in it, you will click Remove Ads and a tab will open with the different payment methods that can be used, as can be seen in the images below. The cost of this ad-free version is € 2,09.
On iOS mobile devices, the screen will also be accessed. Settings. Once in it, you must click on Remove Ads (lower left image). In this case, there are two possible subscriptions, a monthly one at a price of € 0,49 and an annual one at a price of € 2,49 (lower right image).
OPERATION OF THE APPLICATION
This section will briefly explain how the application works and what screens it is made of.
Since the interface for Android and iOS is slightly different in this application, this brief analysis will be carried out separately. However, despite these differences, the operation in both operating systems is very similar.
In both operating systems, the first time we open the application, a list will be displayed with all the languages in which there are audiobooks within the app. In this list we must select those languages in which we want the audiobooks to be shown to us. It can also be changed later from the section on Settings if we wish so.
In mobile devices with Android operating system, the interface consists of 4 main screens. Three of them are accessed through the bar at the bottom of the screen: Home, Shelf y Collections. The other main screen is Settings, which can be accessed by clicking on the gear at the top right of the screen, as can be seen in the following image.
The following actions can be carried out from each of the 4 main sections mentioned:
- HOME: The home screen is the one accessed by default when we open the application. In it you can search for titles or authors from the white box with the magnifying glass at the top. In addition, if we scroll down this screen we will find new titles recently added, the complete catalog of audiobooks and different compilations of the most popular authors or readers.
- SHELF: From this section we can quickly access the titles that we have recently listened to or those that we have marked as favorites. It does the functions of what would be the user's physical shelf.
- COLLECTIONS: Collections are groups of audiobooks that are stored in a common folder based on the user's own criteria or tastes. There are two types of collections on this screen. My Collections, in which those collections that we create and Public Collections, in which collections created by other AudioLibros users appear.
- SETTINGS: Finally we find the section of Settings, which can be accessed by clicking on the white cogwheel that appears in the upper right corner of each of the 3 screens described above. Since Settings Many actions can be carried out such as accessing the paid version without advertising, establishing a new username, changing the languages in which we want to access the audiobooks or accessing the different screen or network settings.
On mobile devices with the iOS operating system, the application interface is different, as can be seen in the image below. Despite this, the different screens of which it is composed are similar and their operation is very similar to that of Android systems.
In this case we find 5 different main screens, which can be accessed from the selection bar at the bottom of the screen. Within each of the screens, sub-sections can be accessed from the selection bar at the top of the screen.
- FAVORITES: From this screen we will be able to access three categories of audiobooks: those that we have marked as favorites, those that we have recently listened to and those that we have downloaded to the mobile device itself.
- CATALOGUE: In the catalog we find the entire collection of audiobooks. Audiobooks will only appear in the languages that we have selected the first time we open the app or those that we have added later from the section of The collection is differentiated by titles, authors, genres or new (titles recently added to the collection).
- LISTS: On this screen we will find the lists of audiobooks, which in the Android system were called collections. In the first positions we will find the lists that we have created ourselves and if we scroll down we will find other public lists created by other users of the application.
- SEARCH: From this screen you can do a text search of the audiobook you are looking for.
- SETTINGS: In the section of Settings The same actions that were already mentioned for this section can be carried out on Android.
In order to analyze and evaluate the application, a series of tests have been carried out to verify its operation. The tests have been carried out on a Samsung Galaxy S8 device (Android 8.0.0) and an Iphone 6S (IOS 13.4.1).
In this section, different criteria have been applied to assess whether the application can be used regardless of the capabilities of the user.
-Cognitive accessibility: The application is generally easy to use. This means that, in principle, it can be used without difficulty by a large number of users.
-Accessibility for people with reduced or no vision: The application does not present a settings section where you can change the theme or the font or contrast options. The font size and the various buttons are sometimes not very large, which can make them difficult to read for some users.
Despite this, with the accessibility functions that different devices usually offer, the screen can be zoomed and / or the font size increased, which greatly facilitates use for people with reduced vision.
In general, the contrast between the app's font color and the background is adequate, combining dark colors for the font and light colors for the backgrounds, which makes the texts easier to read.
To complete this section, some tests have been carried out with the screen reader systems available on Android and iOS devices. These tests have focused on checking the correct labeling of the icons and buttons available in the application. In the tests carried out, it has been found that the buttons and the different screens that make up the app are well labeled and the application can be used without any problem using these screen readers.
-Accessibility for people with hearing difficulties: Since the main functionality of this application is performed through hearing, people with reduced hearing can use this application, although it is possible that they had a problem. For their part, it is very difficult for people with zero hearing capacity to make use of the main feature of the app, which is the audio content of the different audiobooks.
These tests are intended to verify if the application has bugs that do not allow it to perform its functions.
During the days that the application was tested, no notable or critical failure was detected in its operation and in general its use has been quite satisfactory.
The AudioLibros application is a good way to bring classic titles of universal literature to all audiences through an audiobook format. This format can be especially interesting for some groups such as people with vision problems, cognitive disabilities or the elderly, since it allows you to enjoy literature in a comfortable way through an audio format.
It should be noted that the readers of the audiobooks in the application are volunteers and / or users of the app. Despite not being "professional" speakers, in general the quality of the readings is usually good and allows you to follow the plot of the different audiobooks without any problem. Even so, as explained, users can filter the search for audiobooks not only by title or author, but also by the person who reads it, in such a way that they can listen to audiobooks read by those readers of their choice.
In general it can be said that the application works correctly and the user experience in the days when the application has been tested has been quite satisfactory. In fact, AudioLibros has some positive points regarding its use.
First of all, audiobooks can be found in many languages, including Spanish, English or French. This allows the application to be enjoyed by a large number of users regardless of the languages they know. In addition, it can be a good way to learn or improve the command of other languages and the ability to understand other languages.
Another outstanding aspect of its use is that the books can be downloaded to the mobile phone to listen to them even if there is no internet connection. This allows more flexibility for users to listen to audiobooks in different places or situations.
In addition, the application allows you to modify the reading speed, to make it faster or slower, depending on the user's taste. This adaptation of the reading speed is done from the audiobook playback screen itself, by clicking on the upper right corner and selecting the desired speed. This process is shown in the following images for a mobile device with Android system, but the process is equivalent for one with iOS system.
A final positive point that has been valued when using the application is that, when accessing a specific audiobook, we can find a brief description of the content of the book or, for example, an explanation of the different interpretations that it may have. In addition, you can access the opinions that other AudioLibros users have given on the title in question. Finally, we find a list of related titles, which helps the user to find more audiobooks of their liking.
As for the improvement points, the main one that has been seen is that, although in general the audio quality of the recordings is usually good, in some of the consulted audiobooks this quality can be improved, with poor audio that makes it difficult to follow the narration.
In addition, it has been seen that the application interface on mobile devices with an iOS operating system can be improved. In comparison, the interface in Android has a more visual and refined aspect. For example, on iOS, the screen Search is redundant, since the search for a title can be done directly from the section Catalogue, so the first one could actually be eliminated, thus allowing to optimize the space of the search bar at the bottom of the application.
- It allows access to a wide catalog of audiobooks completely free of charge.
- The application interface is well developed and easy to use.
- The application only includes classic literature titles, so it may not meet the expectations of users looking for more current works.
- The sound quality in some recordings can be improved.