Author Ruth Leonardo Paredes
Date: October 2021
This application offers the possibility of replacing the home screen to simplify access to the most essential menus of the device, obtaining a more intuitive interface.
In this review We will do an analysis of the app for Android devices, using Android version 8.0 and 11.0 in the analysis.
Next, we proceed with the detailed analysis of Help Launcher.
When we open the application for the first time, windows appear for the initial configuration of Help Launcher, where we will have to grant certain access permissions and configure the language of the application.
Subsequently, it is possible to view the home screen that has six large, colorful and intuitive icons of the functionalities that have been considered most essential.
1. Green icon: This icon allows us access to the last calls, contacts and dialing.
The "CONTACTS" button will open our contact list and a search engine at the top. Selecting one of the contacts will open a new menu that allows you to call, send a message or view more contact information.
From the "Dial" button we will access a numeric keyboard having the option of calling the dialed number by pressing the green button or saving said number by pressing the blue button. These buttons are large and colorful, which helps us make them easier to use.
2. Orange icon: By selecting this icon we will be able to access the messages, the email account and 3 messaging or social network applications installed on the device. Each of these buttons will have the representative color of the application.
This icon is common to all messaging applications, being intuitive to access messages pending to be read and that it flashes when a message arrives in any of these applications.
3. Pink icon: Selecting this icon will open the gallery.
4. Blue icon: Selecting this icon will open the device's camera.
5. Gray icon: After selecting this icon, another menu appears through which we can access the configuration of the Wi-Fi connection, alarm settings, an applications menu, contacts and a settings menu.
If we select the "Applications" option, a new menu appears, the first button of which allows you to access a new window where all applications installed on the device will be displayed, the remaining four buttons will represent access to your last four applications used.
We must not confuse the "Contacts" button on this menu with the green icon menu button, as this button, unlike the other, allows you to add a contact and modify or delete the selected contact.
The "Settings" button shows the following menu:
- The "SOS Settings" button will allow you to add a maximum of 4 emergency contacts that will be accessible from the red "SOS" icon on the main menu.
- The "Screen / Audio" button takes you to another menu where you can make screen, audio and language settings for the app.
In "Screen settings" you can select one of the 4 brightness modes and choose the time you want to pass to suspend the screen.
In "Audio settings" we can also choose the mode depending on what you want: vibration mode, silence and 4 other options with different sound intensities.
Finally, in "Languages" we can choose one of the seven available languages of the application.
6. Red icon: By selecting this option we will be able to choose the contact to whom we want to call.
We have made a test call to the “Emergency 1” contact, which is a trusted contact number. The contact number was automatically dialed and the call was successful.
We also ran a test with the medical emergency number “061” and the call was successful.
However, when testing with the emergency service number 112, you had to press the call button to make the call.
- The buttons of the interface are activated by pressing a single time on the desired button, whether the icon, text, or any other area of the button is clicked.
- In case of wanting to go back or return to the initial screen, we must use the physical navigation buttons of the device in case of having one or the system navigation buttons.
- Having the "SOS" button on the main menu really gives this app a fresh touch compared to others. launchers. This quick access can help us in emergency situations to contact emergency services or contacts that you have chosen as a priority.
Particularities regarding the customization of the interface
It is true that Help Launcher does not allow customization, you cannot change the background, font size or color, etc. But all this has a reason and let's remember that Help Launcher was designed exclusively to adapt to older people.
One of the Help Launcher developers said: "Associating colors with functions helps improve accessibility and separate content.", "Colors form a visual pattern (for example, to get to markup)".
Help Launcher's target audience is elderly and visually impaired, and this application undoubtedly covers some of the needs of these groups.
However, it is possible to get more out of it and improve the user experience and accessibility by complementing the use of this application with screen readers, high-contrast keyboard or voice control applications.
For this reason, we have carried out tests complementing this app with TalkBack so that accessibility is possible to more groups such as people with reduced vision or blind.
Unfortunately we verify that the main menu buttons have no description or labels to be able to be read by said screen reader. However, the rest of the buttons and menus were read successfully by TalkBack.
In addition, we have carried out tests with a voice control app called Voice Access and we can access the buttons without description through labels assigned by the aforementioned app, to the buttons, thus solving this problem detected with TalkBack. With the rest of the buttons, it is not necessary to activate the numerical labels, we simply have to say certain commands such as: "Click on Alarms", "Back", "Go to Home screen".
This combination is really nice and useful since you can visualize a simple interface thanks to Help Launcher and more accessible due to Voice Access.
After having tested the application, we can clearly ensure that it meets its objective and that it is beneficial for the elderly or those with vision problems thanks to its simple interface, simplifying the menus to access the functions with fewer clicks, including colorful buttons with Intuitive and large icons as well as the type of font used that contrasts perfectly with the background.
In conclusion, this app will help us to be able to access the functionalities of the mobile device in a very simple way, making it possible to use it for any user who wants a simplified interface.
- Design: the dedication of the developers in getting a launcher with a practical and intuitive interface that is beneficial to users is appreciated.
- SOS button: The incorporation of this button in the main menu is appreciated since it can be extremely important in emergency situations.
- Compatibility: After testing the operation of this app on two Android devices of different versions, we verified that compatibility problems may arise with some versions of the operating system.
- Accessibility: It does not have enough of its own accessibility settings to guarantee that the launcher adapts to the needs of different groups of people.