When I was watching the July 4 fireworks a few months ago, I closed my eyes for a little while to try to appreciate only the sounds, not the visual effects. The audio environment was as rich as the visual environment, and I thought I should make a game like that.
My first idea was to create a fireworks game, where each time you tap on the screen, a different fireworks sound is played. I suggested this idea to the group of visually impaired game testers, and several of them said they would prefer to use that sound to make a audio greeting card, and send the audio e-card for someone’s birthday. Thus was borne Blindfold Greeting Card.
I envisioned the app to appeal to several groups. For the blindness community, it would let them send an audio e-card to someone, and let the recipient appreciate the card the same way as the blind person who created it. For relatives and friends of visually impaired people, it would let a sighted person customize an audio e-card that is not burdened with a visual description.
When a blind person receives an e-card with a picture, he hears what you wrote in the e-card, and a description of the picture, such as “cute dog in the middle of a grassy field”. It doesn’t have any of the emotion or impact of what the picture might engender.
With Blindfold Greeting Card, you first pick a sound effect from 20 categories (about 400 sound effects in total), such as fireworks, marching drums, car horn or crackling wood fire. Then you record your greeting by speaking into the phone.
Blindfold Greeting card merges the sound effect with your greeting, and then lets you send it via email or as a text message. You can also post it to Facebook, Twitter or any other social network. Here are examples by three of our testers:
The app is slowing catching on. It seems like every time someone receives an audio e-card, they download Blindfold Greeting Card and start sending audio e-cards to their friends and relatives.