Category: Assistive Technology,
Organization name: Claria
Launched Date: 2015-09-10
Who has created it: Tristan Lhermitte
Problem statement and how the Accessible Innovation solves the problem.
Problem: Using a smartphone becomes more difficult when growing older and can turn out to be a real challenge for people suffering from severe sight loss because texts are too small and contrasts are very poor. Even though the built-in accessibility features in standard smartphones can be useful, they cut texts when zooming in the screen and are quite difficult to master with 2-3 finger gestures for non tech-savvy users.
Innovation: Claria Zoom is an award-winning application providing users with:
- An unrivaled reading and writing comfort on a smartphone thanks to a big character interface with contrasted color themes, automatic text reformatting, large keyboards and speech activation available on any screen.
- An easy-to-read and fully customizable home screen for a stress-free navigation
- A rich and complete user experience through a set of 20+ redesigned and easy-to-use functionalities (phone, text messages, emails, pedestrian GPS, electronic magnifier, OCR.)
- An accessibility service in Android that enables our users to extract text from any screen in any app and display it in big letters in our specific interface (including Android settings, Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype.) - upcoming update in February 2016
Claria Zoom has won the Golden Silmo award at the World Optical Fair in Paris in the “low vision” section
Tell us who is the target audience and how the accessible innovation will benefit them. Please specify the different target audiences groups and provide numbers and statistics of your current clients as well as what is the potential number of people that the innovation can impact and empower:
We aim at two different target audiences :
- People with severe sight loss (macular degeneration, glaucoma...) struggling to use proficiently their smartphone or their tablet.
- Senior users looking for an easy-to-use and clear smartphone interface.
According to the World Health Organisation, 246 million people are living with moderate to severe visual impairment in the world. This number can of course be challenged in many ways but we still believe that millions of partially sighted persons in the world could benefit from Claria Zoom as a useful tool to communicate with their loved ones (phone, SMS, photo), manage their professional life (emails, GPS), navigate the internet (browser), magnify documents (magnifier) or just entertain themselves (book reader, MP3 player)
We launched the application in mid-September 2015 and we now have several thousand of downloads without any marketing, hundreds of daily active users, and several dozens of professionals from the eye-health sector as ambassadors.
How is the accessible innovative solution different from current practices or ways of solving the problem?
On standard smartphones, the font size and contrasts settings remain quite limited if not inadequate for users with low vision. In fact, users usually find themselves using a manual magnifier to read on their phone instead of using the built-in accessibility features.
Claria Zoom creates a comfortable user interface where:
- you can choose the size of characters that suits you by zooming in or out on any text and it automatically adapts itself to the screen (no need to always scroll from left to right with two-fingers)
- you can easily change the color contrasts to yellow on blue or yellow on black or black on white or white on black depending your eye disease
- you can activate speech on any screen if you are outside in the sunshine or if your eyes are tired
- you can type text either with your voice or with a very big-letter keyboard (so much better than the classic narrow keyboard)
Along with more than 20 redesigned functionalities (electronic magnifier, book reader, browser, GPS, etc.), Claria Zoom brings this perfectly suited interface to any Android app with a simple click on our "Zoom pointing icon".
How is the accessible innovative solution new, different or unique in terms of the technology or implementation?
Our approach is unique regarding the depth of functionalities embedded in the Claria Zoom app (20+ functions) to provide a comprehensive solution to our users. Most existing solutions designed to help visually impaired and the elderly are limited to one or two functionalities : e.g. launchers with big icons are interesting but once you click on a functionality you are transferred to the standard app with poor accessibility.
In terms of business model, we want to keep Claria Zoom as affordable as possible and have chosen a new approach with a simple subscription model when most assistive technology products are very expensive today (only 99 INR / month for example).
How do you get the innovative solution to reach the target audience? Please elaborate on the your go to market strategy and which geographies do you currently work in and what are your future plans for marketing your innovation.
As an Android app, our main distribution channel for Claria Zoom is the Google Play Store with a subscription business model. The app is available in every countries where the Play Store operates and is currently translated in 11 languages: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Germany, Italian, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Danish and Norwegian
To spread the word about the app, we are using platforms like Facebook or Google Adwords which enable us to target our audience based on their interests. On this side, we are currently focusing our efforts on the following countries: US, Brazil and beginning first tests in India (in English only for now).Apart from the Play Store, we are also distributing Claria as a one-shot license through a network of distributors specialized in Low Vision in Europe (for now). Alongside these initiatives, we also aim at creating relationships with NGOs, state agencies and charities specifically addressing people with sight loss, as well as contacting vision professionals such as optometrists, ophthalmologists and dispensing opticians. To professionals, we usually provide a free version of Claria Zoom, which they can use for demonstration purposes. They are the best way to reach our clients as they know them best and can usually advise in vision aid purchases. Taking part in events organized by local charities also allow us to directly get in touch with our target audience as well and get as many feedback as possible.
What is the potential impact of the innovative solution on the lives of the target audience? Please elaborate by providing statistics of the current impact and the potential impact.
On top of enlarged standard phone features (phone, emails, text messages, etc.), Claria Zoom includes a range of specific functions to help the partially sighted people in their daily needs such as:
- Dictating a text message or an email through Voice Recognition
- Reading documents thanks to Character Recognition (OCR) or using our Electronic Magnifier
- Finding their own way using our vocalized pedestrian GPS
- Listening to eBooks (Daisy and ePub formats) with the Book Reader
- Navigating the web in a simple and easy way.
Claria Zoom can also replace various expensive equipment in a cheap and portable solution allowing users to save money. Indeed, as a visually impaired person, acquiring specific material and accessible devices is often expensive and requires waiting up to 6 months or more to receive financial support from the government. As an example, an electronic magnifier costs between $500 and $800, a vocalized book reader between $250 and $350, a vocalized pedestrian GPS between $350 and $500, etc.
Stories of how the Innovation has touched lives.
We asked our customers what they think about Claria Zoom: "Oh my god, I've just started to use Claria. Everything is now large and black and yellow. I think I'm in love!! I wish I'd found this sooner."
"I have found no better app. It can sure do a lot more than other applications I've tried. One of the things that I liked best was the way the text was adjusted to the screen to enable easier reading."
"Best app ever. Love this app. It is easy to use yet can do lots with it."
"This is a fantastic app for people with low vision. If you have low vision, this app is what you have been waiting for."
"I downloaded the app to show to my vision impaired support group. The choices of color are great! The ease of use is wonderful! The magnification works well."
"Great app I recommend it. With poor eyesight I find it very helpful"
"Awesome app for low vision Android folks. Really appreciate I did not have to purchase an iPhone! Nice work!"