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Analyzed
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Google LookOut

Lookout app icon
Overall rating:
  • 4/5
Related reviews:
  • Examples of the different LookOut modes
  • Quick read mode example
  • Banknote scan mode example

We analyze the application LookOut

Video review

What does it consist of:

Google's Lookout application uses computer vision to help people with low or no vision to perform tasks in a more autonomous way through the use of your phone's camera to make it easier to obtain information about the environment and help user person to perform different tasks more effectively.

Forms of Acquisition:

Lookout is compatible with Android devices. Completely free. It is possible to install it on the device through the Google Play Store, it must be borne in mind that it only works in Android versions 6.0 or higher and in devices that have at least 2 GB of Ram, normally all those mid-range devices from to 2019 onwards. Currently the latest version of the app is from November 2020 and the number of the installed version will vary depending on our device.

You can download the application from the Play Store from the following link:

Link access to download Braille Tutor in Google Play
 

Technical verification:

Author: Julian Maria Morejon Carmona
Date: February 2021
 
Lookout is an application to facilitate accessibility developed by Google together with members of the community made up of people with vision problems, available in the Google Play Store, compatible with Android devices with version 6.0 or higher and that have a minimum of 2 Gb of RAM. 
 
This application allows you to recognize the objects in the environment thanks to the use of the device's camera, in a way that will help the user to significantly improve their quality of life and to cope with them.
 
In this review we will do a Lookout analysis focused on Android mobile devices with version 9, since there is no version for IOs.
 

Interaction

Next, we analyze how the application interacts with the user and the user with it. We will start by analyzing the interface.

Interface

When it opens, a window will be displayed with the content that the camera is capturing at that moment and at the bottom we will have a series of options to choose from to scan the environment that we want.

In total, we have 5 possible options or modes, which would be:

- Speed ​​reading mode: allows you to read a text very quickly and reproduce it through voice synthesis

Quick read mode recognition example

 

- Explore mode: provides information about all objects around the person.

Example of keyboard recognition in explore mode

 

- Food Label Mode: designed to identify food through its labeling, it also allows you to scan barcodes.

- Document Scan Mode: through a photo to a document, the application will be able to read the text that is in it and reproduce it by means of voice synthesis or allow the user to enlarge it.

Example on-screen text recognition in document scan mode

 

- Currency Mode: Identify US dollar bills accurately, as long as they are in acceptable condition.

 

Access to the settings is somewhat complex, since it is found in the account menu located in the app, where we will find the configuration section, where we can make some basic adjustments in the application, although interesting.
 
The interface, therefore, is quite minimalist, with all the functionalities in the main interface facilitating access to them, in an agile way and without much complication except for accessing the configuration that can be somewhat more complex. 
 

Affordability

This application incorporates some basic native specific accessibility options, adding even more utility for people with visual disabilities, since, for example, it allows you to configure the synthesis of the voice output with some very interesting settings such as the playback speed and the tone of voice, being these very interesting, especially for people with visual disabilities and who also have some type of hearing impairment, expanding the accessibility of the app. The main objective of the app is to provide accessibility to people with vision problems, so we can also say that the app as a whole is an accessibility option, since it allows with very good results to recognize the elements of the environment and reference them by voice For the user, this is added, which is compatible with the TalkBack screen reader to move through the app and its modes, providing exquisite accessibility to the target group of the app, such as people with visual disabilities.
 
Next, we proceed to the accessibility analysis according to different groups of people with disabilities.
 

Visually impaired people

As we have commented previously, the app itself constitutes an accessibility option for the people of this group, we can affirm that its function is very careful and it fulfills its objective in an outstanding way, since the recognition by camera of the different modes is very good except in some specific cases, also by having it correctly labeled for screen readers such as Talkback, the features of the app that do not reproduce voice synthesis, grant complete accessibility to the people of this group.

 

People with hearing difficulties 

The application presents some native option for people with mild hearing difficulties, such as the speed and tone of the voice of the synthesis of the app, which can help users of the group, but its use for people with a total hearing disability, You could activate the vibration option in the app to confirm actions, this together with the fact that it also shows on the screen what the camera recognizes, they make it possible for them to use it without problems, although the app was not intended for this group, although the experience may not as satisfactory as in the case of people with vision difficulties. 

 

People with physical difficulties

Although the application is not focused on this group, it could be used with the various necessary adaptations, if the disability requires it, such as those that affect the motor skills of the upper extremities. This part of the group could use it through devices that allow holding the device to focus on what the user wants the app to recognize, it would be somewhat more complex to handle the app but it would be functional for this part of the group, who could use the app in a way acceptable.
 
 

User Experience

Next, we analyze the degree of user satisfaction when using the application. In addition, to study the utility that the app provides.

 

Interaction

It is important to highlight how successful the application is when it comes to meeting the objectives it sets, providing a very successful functionality and satisfactorily fulfilling its objective. The development of it together with a team of people with vision difficulties makes the app feel polished, with a very simple and easy-to-use interface, together with the correct operation with screen readers such as Talkback, they make it an app in If using it is a remarkable experience, it is also important to mention that everything it recognizes is reproduced by voice synthesis and on the screen, also serving for those with hearing disabilities and mild vision difficulties.

Finally, comment that the application is quite attractive and well developed, making its use light and interesting.
 
 
 

Conclusions

Lookout is a very complete application, with a remarkable design and development, in which the work behind it can be appreciated from the first use, the recognition functions although there are not many, they are essential to help people with visual disabilities in their day-to-day life and they are more than compliant, although sometimes they do not recognize what they focus on, which makes it possible to affirm that they still need some optimization or improvement of the app's functionalities, although these situations are not very common, it would also be Well, it included support to recognize more bills other than dollars, although the app is constantly updated and they plan to include support for euros, for example in the future, since dollars greatly limits the number of users who can use that recognition.

Highlights

  • Exquisite functionality: Remarkable development of the app, fulfilling what it promises quickly, together with a very easy-to-use interface and designed to give the greatest possible accessibility.
  • Great help: The use of the app by people with visual disabilities, helps them widely in their daily tasks, being a necessary application for the group.
     

Improvement points

  • Include more types of recognition and polishing than existing: Although it contains the basic recognition options for day-to-day life, more options may be needed, which further improve people's accessibility, so adding more functionalities would be very interesting. Also, improve or correct small bugs that rarely occur when we perform recognition of existing functionalities.
  • Compatibility with IOs: many disabled users use IOs because it is considered an operating system that provides many accessibility options, together with the large number of users in the IOs community, they make the app inaccessible to many interested parties, so a version for IOs , would give a good boost to the community of the app, in addition to expanding the range of possible users of the same.
  • Improve banknote recognition: Currently it only recognizes dollar bills, it would be of vital help to add support for more types of coins, in addition to improving their recognition, since reading bills is the functionality that causes the most problems.
 
 
  • Design and manufacturing: 4 5 on.
    4
    This section refers to the physical aspects and details of the manufacturing of the technological product
  • User experience: 5 5 on.
    5
    This criterion is linked to the user's assessment when relating to the technical product or application.
  • Technical benefits: 4 5 on.
    4
    Description of the quality of the technical specifications of the technological solution
  • Accessibility: 4 5 on.
    4
    It is the degree to which people can use or access a product, technological solution or service, regardless of their technical, cognitive or physical abilities

Social valuation:

Date: June 2022

On this occasion we have relied on the Red Cross volunteer, Andrés Oteo, to check the operation and design of the Lookout application.

Andrés is a blind person with whom we collaborate at TECSOS when analyzing and validating products for people with reduced or no vision, due to his extensive knowledge and experience. With the help of it, we have done a series of tests of the functionalities available in Lookout while Talkback was activated.

First of all, it should be noted that Lookout is correctly labeled and that the different warnings and sound messages included in the application make it quite easy to use. Next, our experience with each of the modes will be developed:

  • Explore mode: It is the mode that has seemed less polished to us in the application, still lacking a lot of development to make it really practical.
    On the one hand, if you want to know what a relatively small object is, it is necessary to focus on it very closely so that it can be detected, or else it will give information about larger objects in the environment, such as a frame that is hanging on the wall. wall, or directly give wrong information. 
    Likewise, Andrés commented that the descriptions of the objects would have to be more elaborate. This is because the current version only says what the object is.
    For example, if you focus on a dining table with four chairs placed on the sides, the application only indicates that it is a table, but does not give information about how far away it is or if there is something on it. In addition, it does not indicate the number of chairs, in what position they are placed or if there is someone sitting.
  • Food Label Mode: This is the mode in which Andrés most wanted to know how it works due to its great utility for day-to-day use.
    In general terms, this feature of the app complies with its premise, although in a limited way, since it mainly detects products from the best-known brands, being less common the one that works with white-label, unpopular or similar foods.
    In turn, Andrés told us about the existence of iOS applications that did the same job in a more efficient and better way. These applications that he mentioned have as an incentive the fact that in the event that a product is not detected, the user can take a photo of it and indicate what it is to later upload it to the database of the same application and thus further improve its detection function.
  • Documents mode: It is the mode that most pleasantly surprised the volunteer, mainly because of its simple operation. Unlike many similar text extraction applications, Lookout very quickly captures the surface where the text is located, be it a sheet of paper or a screen, and emits messages to tell us in which direction we have to move the phone in order to capture all the text. text correctly. In addition, the text extraction is carried out automatically once the text is correctly focused, thus avoiding unnecessary operations and pressing through menus. Once we have the extracted text, Lookout offers us the possibility of modifying or copying it so that it can be edited or shared in another application.
  • Text mode: Unlike the previous mode, this one does not have messages about whether the text is being focused correctly. What it does include is an audible warning when something has been captured. One positive aspect that we have detected is that, once the app has captured a text, it is not necessary to keep focusing on it with the phone since Lookout will read it completely.
  • Currency mode: The identification of the euro banknotes is correct. During the tests, Andrés mentioned that his greatest fear with this type of functionality is that they do not detect if a bill is false or if it is damaged.

During the tests carried out, no type of operation or design error was presented, so we were able to squeeze the different functionalities.

Finally, we must highlight the conclusions that Andrés has left us about the app. In general terms, he is satisfied with Lookout, mainly because of its simple operation, being the document mode the one that he liked the most. On the other hand, the main negative points are the lack of feedback that it presents compared to similar applications and the excessive simplification of some descriptions. However, considering that most of the features are still under development, and the company behind it is Google, Andrés believes that the application has great potential.

 

 

  • Impact and utility: 3 5 on.
    3
    Describes to what extent the functionalities of the product are useful and impact on improving the life of the user
  • Usability and accessibility: 4 5 on.
    4
    Possibility of the device to be used, understood and taken advantage of under equal conditions for anyone
  • Design and ergonomics: 4 5 on.
    4
    Assessment of how the design of the technological solution adapts to the person to achieve greater comfort and efficiency when using it
  • Ease of Acquisition: 4 5 on.
    4
    It refers to the possibilities of accessing and acquiring a technological solution by the user.

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