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Assistive Technology Blog

Jul
08 2015

“Star Trek characters never go shopping.” - Douglas Coupland

By Jean Des Roches, AT Program Director


App shoppingShopping! Some of us love it, some not so much. As with most things in life, the timing has to be right to truly enjoy it I think. Otherwise, it’s just a chore. I am a terrible shopper! I run into a store, usually at the last minute and instantly get overwhelmed by the myriad of choices. I end up buying something I may not love, just to get out of the store and back to doing something that is more fun than shopping.

Strangely enough, I’ve realized I have my “app” shopping down to a system that works very well for me. I don’t stress at all when app shopping! Here are the steps that work for me:

  1. Know what you want and what you can spend.
    Sounds simple, but before you start your search take a minute to define for yourself the “must have” features of the app. Does it need a timer?  Does it need to “speak”? What is your app budget?

  2. Google is your friend
    Once you’ve defined what you want and how much you can spend, a well defined Google search can be your best friend. Some search criteria should include your Operating System (iOS, Android, etc.) as well a key feature or two, something like “iOS app for data collection in special education.”

  3. Pick a link, just not any link
    Usually I pick something like “10 Best …” or “Top 5…” I believe in NOT reinventing the wheel. Be certain to check the dates of the links to ensure timely information.

  4. R.E.A.D. (Really, Each App is Different)
    Once you’ve decided on an app or two, go into the Google Play store or iTunes, etc. and read about the app. Check the reviews. What have others thought after purchasing the app? Do the screen shots look like they would work for you or your client or student? Does it have all the features you were looking for?

  5. Try before you buy! (if you can)
    Many apps offer free or lite versions that you could try before taking the leap and paying for an app.

  6. What if it doesn’t fit?
    How to get a refund from iTunes
    How to get a refund from Google Play

See? No stress when you have a plan. Hmmm…maybe I should apply this method to my next trip to the mall?

What are your app searching tips? Do you use a specific app ‘search app’ like AAC Ferret  or Autism Apps?  We’d love to know! Send in your search tips today!

Warmest Regards,
Jean

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