Adaptive Product Reviews: App Edition (Medisafe, Google Voice Access, Todoist)

……….Which apps do you find most useful as a disabled person?

A discussion on a webforum

My Android phone is in many ways one of my main adaptive devices – possibly second only to my wheelchair. It substitutes for my hands, my voice, my laptop, and is my main communication with the world. This relies on a series of effective apps I use to organise my day – the main three of which are Medisafe, Google Voice Access (integrated with Google Assistant),  and Todoist. Without these apps, my disorganised brain would lead to my medication being forgotten, my phone would become unusable, and my relationship with my PAs would break down.

I’ve heard great things about Apple’s adaptive functions, but since I’m an Android user, I can’t review them – sorry! Some of these apps may also be available for Apple users.

Medisafe

I use Medisafe to manage my medication. I have a collection of medications, some of which are every three months, others three or four times a day, or specific days of the week, or every few days – there is very little rhythm or routine. This obviously makes them hard to remember, and I very quickly start to struggle. I was thrilled to find Medisafe, which I now use for all my reminders.

The home screen displays a pillbox divided into four sections, Morning, Afternoon, Evening, and Night. When you add a medication, you name it (this can be the active ingredient, or can be a name you use to represent it. You set what time you want reminding, and how many times a day, and you set the schedule. You then choose a shape and colour to display in your ‘pill box’, and can set food instructions, dosages, and prescription refill dates if you wish.

Medisafe is a very annoying app – and with a medication reminder app that’s essential. You can set up to ten reminders per medication, and a snooze duration of 5 minutes to 2 hours, it does sound, vibration, and LED light reminders. You can set it to popup when it reminds you (thus interrupting whatever you were using your phone for), and you can shake your phone to tell it you’ve taken the medication. You can ask it to remind you to bring your meds with you every day, and you can set a different schedule for weekend medications.

It also has a setting called “Medfriend” where you can ask it to contact a friend if you haven’t marked your medication as taken, though I’ve never succeeded in getting that working.

Google Voice Access and Google Assistant

Google Voice Access integrates with Google Assistant to allow you to control your phone quickly and easily using your voice.  I have been using the Beta program for about 18 months, but it has finally launched, and I can’t recommend it more wholeheartedly. It expands the capacities of Google Assistant to allow you to interact with your phone screen vocally and in a hands-free manner. To do this, it tags anywhere you might want to tap with numbers, which you just have to say in order to tap. It works beyond that as well – and the newest version is a lot less buggy than I used to find it.

It has an array of commands from “go home” to “show notifications” “switch off Wifi” or “open [app name]” and inside the apps you can interact with them using the numbers system – it works very well with Medisafe, for example.

It also has typing functions, which I really like. They aren’t ideal and it often struggles with my voice (which is affected by my condition), but they’re more than enough for general messaging. It allows me not only to type, but also to edit what I’ve written. I can move the cursor where I want it, or rephrase an entire sentence. I would struggle to write an essay with it, but I can easily write a good blog post (that said, I nearly emailed someone today to say “thank you for taking hair off my dog” rather than “thank you for taking care of my dog” – so it always pays to check thoroughly.

Todoist

Rarely do I think a subscription model is worth purchasing, but if anything was, it would be premium on Todoist. There are many to-do list apps, Remember the Milk and Wunderlist being well known, but despite them I chose to use Todoist. Why? It does location based reminders – so if I need to do something whenever I get home, I can. It allows me say to my phone “note to self, schedule blog post tomorrow”. It keeps track of my tasks – a simple request to make of a to-do list program, but one that many of the apps I’ve tried have failed.

I own a basic android tablet which my PAs (carers) have to use while at work, and Todoist is probably the main reason why I own it. I needed an app that would let me add tasks for my PAs to do, and then observe when those tasks were ticked off. I needed all the jobs that were repeated daily come up on the app in that pattern, while the ones that only needed doing monthly repeated on that schedule.

I needed to choose an app that would be simple. I didn’t want to have to worry about my PAs picking it up, or to do training sessions to teach PAs how to use it. I wanted something where marking tasks as done was simple and intuitive – and that’s why I chose Todoist.

If you have any questions about these, or any other product, (or have recommendations of your own) just comment, email me at hale.jamie.r@gmail.com, or tweet @jamierhale

To see the other reviews in this series, go to Adaptive Product Reviews

If you make or sell a product you want me to review, drop me an email on hale.jamie.r@gmail.com

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