Bookmobile Audiobook Player

Category: 

Description of App: 

Bookmobile is an audio player designed specifically for listening to audiobooks and podcasts, and is optimized for use while in the car. This app has been developed and refined for over two years by avid audiobook listeners. It virtually eliminates the number one problem of listening to audiobooks on an iPod/iPhone: losing your place!

The iPod player on the iPhone was designed for playing music, not audiobooks, so it is frustratingly easy to lose your place within a track, or accidentally skip to another track. Bookmobile fixes those problems and does much more.

Features:

  • An interface optimized for listening to spoken word content even while driving, running, cycling...
  • Fixed 5/30 sec and 5/30 min forward and backward buttons provide exact control over playhead position.
  • No sliders, coverflow or other "dangerous" button placement that makes it easy to lose your place.
  • Bookmarks could not be easier:
  • Every time an event occurs: startup, switching books, phone calls, app switching, etc., a bookmark is created, or...
  • just press Pause to create a bookmark. 
  • A "current position" bookmark keeps the latest playhead position, so even if you turn off the phone, it remembers where you were.
  • Bookmarks can be customized with name, notes and highlight color. 
  • Easily clear out all of the old auto-generated, non-customized bookmarks from any point.
  • Continues playing in the background after leaving the app. 
  • Choose audiobooks and/or podcasts from your iTunes library for your in-app bookshelf. The bookshelf lets you keep the books you are currently listening to close at hand. Selecting one part of an audiobook from your library will transfer the entire book to your bookshelf.
  • Completion of one part of a book (or podcast) automatically transitions to the next part.
  • Uses numbers in track titles to automatically order book parts.

Notes: Bookmobile plays audiobooks from your iPod library purchased or downloaded from iTunes, Audible.com and other sources. It does not come pre-installed with any audio content.

For proper part handling, make all parts of an audiobook belong to the same album in iTunes.

Apple Watch Support: 

Not Known

Version: 

1.2.1

Free or Paid: 

Paid

Device(s) App Was Tested On: 

iPhone

iOS Version: 

9

Accessibility Comments: 

Although it is possible to use the app with VoiceOver, I would definitely not recommend it over the excellent, and very accessible, Bookmark app.

The developers of Bookmobile are keen to stress the simplicity of its interface. Unfortunately, it contains a few issues for VoiceOver users. Button labelling could be better, although in all cases it is possible to determine the function of a button.

However, there is a more significant problem with the operation of the buttons that allow you to skip through a track in incremental time jumps. This feature is operated via 5 buttons. 4 of these do the 'skip', whilst the 5th button toggles the time increment of these 4 buttons between seconds and minutes. So, depending upon the status of the toggle button, the first of the skip buttons will move the track position back by either 5 seconds or 5 minutes. Unfortunately, the labels of the 4 skip buttons do not change to reflect whether you are skipping in seconds or minutes, and in fact always have a label that suggests the buttons are set to skip in seconds.

When viewing the information page for a bookmark there is a series of 7 unlabelled buttons. I have been unable to determine what these do.

On one occasion, when viewing a list of books on my 'bookshelf', VoiceOver actually read part of the content from the previous page viewed. Although I have not been able to replicate this issue, it suggests a problem exists somewhere.

This app could be made significantly more usable by simply improving button labelling to be more descriptive and to reflect the status of buttons.

It is now more than a week since I first contacted the developers to ask about VoiceOver support, and I have yet to receive a response. This might be taken as an indication that improving accessibility will not be a high priority.

VoiceOver Performance: 

VoiceOver reads all page elements.

Button Labeling: 

Few buttons are clearly labeled.

Usability: 

There are some accessibility issues with this app, but it can still be used if you are willing to tolerate these issues and learn how to work around them.

Other Comments: 

One of the features that first drew me to this app was the automatic creation of bookmarks on certain events. However, having now seen it in use, I find the sheer number of bookmarks created to be rather overwhelming.