Tap-n-See Zoo: App for Children with CVI

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Many apps that are currently on the market for kids are way too visually complex for many children with special needs, especially those children with visual impairment. The folks at Little Bear Sees have recognized this and have created a great cause-effect app for children with CVI and other visual impairments!  It is wonderful to see these supportive parents turned App developers pioneer this technology in the direction of low vision and CVI!  

Tap-n-See Zoo  is a simple but delightful app that offers great potential for children with significant visual challenges to interact with the iPad in a supported, yet motivating way.   In a nutshell, the app presents a series of bold- line, animal pictures in a variety of solid colors on a contrasting background.  The animals are presented one at a time and float around the screen to draw the child's visual attention.  When the animal is touched, it "grows" in size for visual emphasis! and a "reward sound" is played to provide the child with feedback.  The screen then presents another animal for the child to interact with in the same manner.  Many features of this app can be modified in the settings, including randomizing colors, animals, and sounds, and changing the size of the animal and the speed that it moves around the screen.  You can also turn sound off for those children who struggle with processing both sensory stimuli at once.  

Things I Love About Tap-n-See Zoo:
  • Smart, simple design that is great for children at the early stages of learning (e.g., cause effect).
  • The ability to customize the appearance of the app to suit each child's needs?
  • High-contrast colors with bold animal pictures that stand out from the background and are appealing to children.
My Wishlist for Tap-n-See Zoo:

  • More vocabulary to provide language learning opportunities.  This app only has 5 animals to choose from. I would love to see updates that expand on this vocabulary to include other animals and other categories, such as common objects, foods, and even basic concepts, like shapes, colors, numbers, and letters.  Being ale to select which of these pictures/words to target could be part of the settings, that way users can keep the language on the level that the child is able to manage.
  • Sound rewards that emphasize meaning and associative leaning.  I like the sounds provided in the app (whistle, laughing, and applause) as far as "rewards" but I wish that the sound was related to the image to encourage cognitive mapping for these kids (e.g., the bear is paired with a bear sound or the word "bear" and a bear sound".
  • A variety of movement patterns that can be customized in the settings.  It would be great if images could move in different ways other than just floating (e.g., wiggling, spinning, growing and shrinking, etc...). I think this option is helpful for children with different visual needs and also to promote variety and, therefore, continued interest in the game.  I would love the images to pause in the middle of the screen sometimes as well, since moving targets are often difficult for kids with CVI and other visual challenges to hit, regardless of how slow they move.  
 Tap-n-See Zoo is
 Tap-n-See Zoo - Little Bear Sees

What do you think of Tap-n-See Zoo?

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