Answers:Yes/No HD by SimplifiedTouch, ($3.99 at time of review; $1.99 for the iPhone version; FREE for the sample version)
Answers:Yes/No HD, by Simplified Touch, was made with a specific goal in mind: to provide an affordable and uncomplicated method of communication for a young man with autism and motor difficulties. A simple customizable AAC tool designed for nonverbal or preverbal communicators, its latest update brings many new features while still retaining its ease of use and small price tag. This app can be used to support children who are verbal as well. (See Using Answers:Yes/No HD) There is also an iPhone version, Answers:Yes/No. I especially love that Simplified Touch has also thought to create a fully functional FREE version to try out- Answers: Yes/No Free– which simply has less customizable buttons and a slightly different interface. Once you try it, believe me, you’ll want the extra buttons and interface- and if you are on an iPad, you’ll want the better graphics. Simplified Touch has also developed My Stories, an app that allows the user to create custom stories.
Large, accessible buttons
Premade Yes/No button with 5 custom voices to choose from
Ability to add own voice/audio, pictures and text to custom buttons;
12 button colors to choose from, 2 text colors (black or white)
Ability to save sets of buttons as “Favorites” or “Lesson Plans”
As a new version came out recently, here is the description for the update from iTunes:
Version 4.0 Updates:
“Ability to preprogram 6 lesson plans, each consisting of 6 pages of custom button pairs, plus an additional 6 pages for your favorite buttons”
Pictures can now fill the whole button
Picture buttons can be paired with text buttons
Improved swipe gestures
Adjustable time setting for big button choices
In case the extra large buttons didn’t tip you off, this app is accessible to many users with motor impairments. In addition to the buttons being large, any touch or tap can be used- that means a finger, several fingers, an elbow, a wrist etc. Any body part! The only thing I can imagine doing to make this more accessible in terms of mobility is making it compatible with switches for controlling the buttons through head movement and so on. (Just make sure to shut off multitasking gestures in the General Settings of your iPad so a swiping motion won’t accidentally exit you out of the app).
In addition, you can also set the buttons so that the chosen button is isolated on the screen for a selected amount of time when chosen- either for 2, 4, or 6 sec. (See Program Options)
Using Answers:Yes/No HD
When you open the app, you will always immediately see a set of buttons.
This pair of buttons displayed can easily be switched out by whomever is facilitating use of the app, through tiny buttons along the top of the app’s screen. These buttons are small enough and set up high enough so they shouldn’t be accidentally engaged by the user, although if that were a concern, I am sure a custom plastic keyguard of some sort could prohibit accidental entry into these areas. See Program Options for more ways to quickly swipe through screens. There are 4 buttons at the top of the screen- the Yes/No Toggle, Favorites, Lesson Plans, and Options. Options will take you to the editing screens, while tapping any of the other 3 buttons will allow you to bring up your most recently used pair of buttons, along with whatever buttons are stored there. For example, if you tap the Yes-No Toggle you can view the standard green and red Yes/No buttons; tap a second time to see your most recently used pair. Tap the Favorites button to see a screen of 6 sets of buttons to select from; tap again to go back to your most recently used button pair. Tap the Lesson Plans button to see a screen of 6 buttons- this is Lesson Plan 1. To switch among your 6 sets of lesson plans, look at the bottom of the screen in this setting and tap the Lesson Plan you want- this will load those 6 sets of buttons- then select the one set of buttons from that Lesson that you want to display on the screen.
While this app was designed with nonverbal and preverbal communicators in mind, I have also used it to encourage participation from my own son, who is verbal but who displays selective mutism symptoms and may not respond verbally. I asked (not open-ended) story comprehension questions and set up pairs of choices to pick from. For children like my son, this app offers a chance at participation too. I plan on using this for one of my general education groups with a particularly shy girl, to see if it will help her participate as well.
Set Up/Editing- Options
This app has a very easy to use editing interface!
From the main screen simply choose the Options tab in the upper right hand corner, then select one of three choices, Yes No Button Set Up, Favorite Button Set Up, Lessons Button Set Up or the Program Options bar at the bottom of the screen.
Yes No Button Set Up
Here is where you can select which of the 5 voices you would like to use for the Yes/No button. Choose from an adult male, adult female, Cartoon (which I can’t really describe but reminds me of Mr.T., Yeaah!) Girl, and Boy. This Yes/No pair has the color/text preset to Green for Yes, and Red for No, but you can certainly make your own Yes/No set of your own through the Favorite Button Set Up or Lessons Button Set Up.
Favorite Button Set Up
This is where you can set up six of your favorite pairs of buttons. There is a tab to easily access these from the main screen. See Lessons Button Set Up.
Lessons Button Set Up
Here you can set up 6 lesson plans, each consisting of 6 pages of custom button pairs each. To set up a button, select the Lesson Plan you want to assign it to (Lesson Plan 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6) and then select which page of that lesson plan you would like to set up. Then tap one of the two buttons on the page, which will bring up an editing window. A preview to the right will show you exactly what your finished button will look like, as you make changes to it.
At the top of the editing window you can select your Button Type– Text & Picture, Text Only, Picture Only. Right below is the option to select Button Color-Black, Gray, White, Yellow, Orange, Green, Aqua Blue, Blue, Red, Pink, Purple, or Brown. Next is the Enter Button Text area, where you will put whatever text you want to appear on the button, and the Select Text Color button- you can choose from Black or White. (If you choose Picture Only as your Button Type, these two options will not show on the editing screen.) Next is the Select Photo button. Tap the camera icon to choose a picture from your iPad’s Camera Roll/Photo Albums. (If you choose Text Only as your Button Type, this button will not show on the editing screen.)
When you are done editing a button, tap the Done tab in the top left hand corner of the screen to continue editing another button, or continue tapping Done until you have exited out to the main screen . Your lesson plans can be accessed easily on the main screen through the Lesson Plans tab.
Program Options contains three additional settings for accessibility and convenience. The first is the Big Button Option. This allows the chosen button to be isolated on the screen for a selected amount of time when selected- either for 2, 4, or 6 sec. The Swipe Left-Right Option allows you to “quickly change between button sets of the current lesson plan by swiping with TWO fingers left or right on the screen”. The Swipe Up-Down Option allows you to “quickly change between lesson plans by swiping with TWO fingers up or down the screen”. This is particularly nifty for doing sequencing/step by step activities, even knock-knock jokes.
(I always have one!)
Ability to choose lower case letters- right now it automatically capitalizes every letter in a word, even if Caps Lock is not selected on the keyboard. The ability to use more than one line of text for large text entries (this would help when using an entire sentence on a button).
The ability to add unlimited button sets.
The ability to take pictures to add to a button (currently you must select a photo from your Camera Roll/ Photo Albums)