Unus Tactus – a new simple phone App

Reposted with permission from www.janefarrall.com/blog

Unus Tactus is a really fabulous new App for the iPhone – which allows a user to access a simple picture based phone directory to make calls.


Unus Tactus Dialling screenshot


Creating an entry is short and simple – just press the plus icon at the top of the screen and add a new person – type their name, their number and assign a photo. Once an entry has been created, just press picture on the screen and the iPhone automatically dials that person.

Once you have hung up, the phone opens on the Contacts page of your iPhone. This is the one thing I would like to see changed – it would be great if it returned to the Unus Tactus App instead at this point. However, if the user is used to switching between Apps this wouldn’t be a problem – they can just open Unus Tactus up again next time they want to make a call.

In addition to the simple, photo based dialling, Unus Tactus has a couple of other clever features. A Help button at the bottom is programmed with an emergency contact. The emergency contact receives both a phone call and an email when the Help button is pressed. Unfortunately, I had set this up with my husband’s details and accidentally called and emailed him in the middle of the meeting – but it definitely worked!


Unus Tactuc GeoFence


And finally, Unus Tactus also has an intruiging feature called GeoFence. GeoFence allows you to set a perimeter (in miles) outside which the phone shouldn’t wander. Distances between 1 mile and 15 miles can be set. If the phone goes outside the GeoFence, a popup appears on the iPhone saying “It appears you have gone outside your GeoFence area. An email has been sent to your emergency contact”. And – yes – my poor husband got yet another email! I can see that this feature could be a good one if you were concerned about the person using the phone wandering e.g. person with dementia. However, for it to work the phone would need to be with the person and the App would need to remain open.

In terms of a wish list for this App – it would be great if one day this App included switch access with scanning – which would provide access to the iPhone as a phone for many people with physical disabilities. However, even without switch access this is an excellent App offering simple picture based phone dialling for the iPhone – and I’m sure it will be a great option for many users. For more information, including more screen shots, please check out the Unus Tactus website.

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About Jane Farrall

Jane has been working in the disability and assistive technology field for over 20 years. She has extensive practical experience in both Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and in teaching children and adults with disabilities to acquire literacy.

Jane has worked as a school and adult service based therapist and literacy teacher. She has also worked as an assistive technology specialist at both ComTEC and at Spectronics and is currently working as an independent consultant in literacy, AAC and Assistive Technology.

She has completed a Masters in Special Education focusing on literacy acquisition in children and adults without speech. Jane is a former Chairperson of AGOSCI (Australian Group on Severe Communication Impairment) and is the founder and organiser of the Big Mouth Camp, a camp for school aged students using speech generating devices and their families. You can get more information about Jane at her website www.janefarrall.com.

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