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QR Blind

Written on Sat 04 Jul, 2020, 20:32 by AltaiR

QR Blind logoDownload for free from the App Store.

Special Thanks

This app was developed thanks to Sergio Muzzolon who, with his strength and determination, made his dream come true. Read more about Sergio and his community at Orbolandia.

One more special thanks goes to Roberta Gerini, one of my most accurate tester and manuals reviewer. Finally thanks to Rossy Koumanova for her support through Universal Access.


The autonomy of visually impaired people often depends on their opportunity of using custom labels, which allow to add informations to common objects for an easier recognition in everyday life.

The QR Code technology, combined with the objects labelling mechanism, is an innovative method for blind people to increase their autonomy in many fields.

QR Blind allows a complete and integrated management of the whole process of creation and use of labels with the QR Code: the app provides a set of tools to create a QR code with a custom text, single labels and to build A4 sheets, that can be shared as PDF files or printed using the AirPrint technology.

QR Blind is totally accessible with VoiceOver and the labels can be explored through the custom actions of the screen reader.  

The Labels List

This is the first window that prompts when we open the app. The toolbar, at the top, shows, from left to right, the following buttons: Scan QR Code, QR Codes Archive, Apply Filters and Page Settings. The screen consists then of a table, containing the created labels.

At the bottom there are three commands: the help button on the left, and create new label and sheets archive on the right.

How To Create Labels

By pressing the Create New Label button, you can access to the label creation form, in which you can specify the label format, its dimensions, a QR code and a possible text accompanying the QR Code.

At the moment, there are six label formats available, listed in the following table. The letter T in the label column indicates that the label needs a text on the right of the QR Code.

5 1.45 x 0.55

10 T 5 2 3.35 x 2.13 85.00 x 54.00
18 T 6 3 2.75 x 1.88 70.00 x 48.00
24 T 8 3 2.75 x 1.41 70.00 x 36.00
65 13 5 1.50 x 0.83 38.10 x 21.20
60 12 5 1.47 x 0.92 37.50 x 23.50
100 20 5 1.45 x 0.55 37.00 x 14.00

In the formats needing a text next to the QR Code, the text box of the mask is enabled and it is a mandatory field.  

Right below the format box there is the Select QR button, which allows to choose an image to import.  You can choose a QR code from several sources: the device library, the archive in the app and the iCloud Drive. See below for further details about the QR codes archive. It is not possible to select an image that doesn’t correspond to an actual QR Code. The Create New Label (or Update Label if you are editing a previously created label) button will be disabled until the image and the text are correct. To be valid, a label must have the following features: the image must be a valid QR code. The text, if needed, must contain at least one character. Labels that host text next to the QR Code allow user to select font size.       

  • Read Label Information: VoiceOver speaks the dimensions of the label;
  • Read Label Text: where there is one, the text of the label is shown;
  • Read QR Code Identifier: reads the QR code Identifier;
  • Read Custom Text: reads the possible Custom Text. See below for further information; 

These actions are available every time VoiceOver moves onto a label, no matter the window in which it is located:  labels list, create/edit label or even a sheet.

The Labels Table

It consists of a table, containing a row for each created label. Each cell is composed of the following elements: the actual label, that can be explored using VoiceOver custom actions, the edit button, the information button and the delete button. Pressing the edit button, you can access to the same mask used for the creation of a label, but this time, the mask opens in the updating mode. 

>Next to the search bar there are two buttons you can use to select temporal ascending or descending order.


The Sheets List

Pressing the Sheets Archive button, you have access to a list of previously created sheets. Each sheet is the regular A4 size (8.3 x 11.7 inches) and can be filled with labels compatible with this size.

At the bottom right there is a button allowing to create a new sheet. Pressing it, a mask  for the creation of the  sheet will open. To create a sheet, you have to insert a title and choose one of the five available label formats. 

The sheets list is a table containing, for each row, the remove button, which allows to delete the corresponding sheet. 

If you tap on a row of the table, you get access to the sheet preview.  In this window, you can share or print the created file. The buttons allowing these two actions are located in the navigation bar, at the top right of the window.

It is also possible to explore the sheet using the classical VoiceOver gestures: flic left or right to move respectively to the previous or to the next label in the sheet. The VoiceOver custom actions described above are still enabled, but in this case one more action has been added, which allows, if necessary, to remove the label.      

In this window, VoiceOver will read the label information, but will also read its position in the sheet (row and column).  

The QR Codes Archive

Pressing the QR codes Archive button, in the main window, you can access to the QR codes list, that can be found in the bar at the top right. These are the QR codes previously stored into the internal database of the app.

During the creation of a label, each time you import an image containing a QR code unknown by the app, it is saved into the database.

Each row of the table listing the QR code stored in the archive shows the QR code image and its identifier, that must be unique in the archive. In effect, the app doesn’t allow to store several codes with the same identifier.           

The app shows the QR code informations, such as the number of labels in which it appears, if it has a custom text and if it has a custom audio message. Moreover, you can also find the Edit, Share and Remove buttons.  

Mind that if you delete a QR code related to one or several labels, these labels will be consequently removed.

When creating a new code and for some reason you use an identifier already stored in the archive, QR Blind will ask if you wish to edit the previous code. Whereas, when updating a QR Code, you can change its identifier,  provided that it doesn’t correspond to that of another QR Code, previously saved in the archive.

It is possible to edit the information of the QR Code, but you can also  add a recorded voice message, that will be automatically played during the scanning process. When accessing the recording audio mask you’ll find three buttons: start/stop recording, start/stop playback and delete audio. When recording a new audio message the previous one will be replaced. When VoiceOver is running you can use the magic tap (two finger double tap) to start and stop recording..

The custom text that can be associated with a QR code can be used to add further details to the code. These informations are used by the QR code scanning tool. See below for further details.

QR Blind also provides the opportunity to create three special QR code types: 

  • The VCARD: allows to insert personal informations using the visit card format;
  • The Event: allows to insert informations concerning an event, such as description, starting date and ending date; 
  • The Wi-Fi: allows to insert the informations regarding a wi-fi network, such as SSID, password and the adopted protection technology;

The informations concerning these three types of QR code, inserted into the creation mask, are not validated by QR Blind. For this reason, we recommend you to pay attention during the mask filling process.

Tapping an element of the QR Code table you access to the detailed information view of the code. From this window you can create a new label using the selected QR Code. 

Filters And Page Settings

In the main window, you can also find the commands allowing to apply filters to the labels list and to choose the measure unit.

By pressing the Apply Filters button, you access to a mask which allows to select the filtering criteria, such as the format and the kind of label. There are multiple kinds of labels other than the generic one: contact, event and Wi-Fi.

You can also use the text box, located at the top right below the toolbar, which allows a further filtering, depending on the text you are typing.

The page settings window allows to choose the measure unit that will be used by the app: millimeters or inches.   

QR Code Scanning

The scanning tool is mainly created for an everyday life usage. Pressing the QR code Scan button, you access to the camera window, which allows to scan a QR code in the surroundings.

Each time the app recognizes a QR Code, a window appears, showing its identifier and the custom text. During this process you can use the VoiceOver custom actions to perform several commands, such as reading the QR code identifier and the custom text, going back to the scanning process and creating or editing the QR code informations. The magic tap gesture (two finger double tap) allows to immediately proceed to a new scanning. If an audio message is assigned to a QR Code it will be automatically played. In addition a specific VoiceOver custom action is created. When the app detects a QR Code containing an event or a contact, you can add it respectively to the calendar or to the address book, by pressing the appropriate button. If VoiceOver is on, this task can be performed through a specific custom action. If link is found you can open it in your default browser.

Obviously, when VoiceOver is on, the detected QR codes are announced by the screen reader. This mode allows a continuous scanning, without need to constantly press the restart scanning button, for consecutive scanning of a set of objects.