Your Friends and Family Volunteers needed for new app

iOS and iPadOS

My name is John Petrous and I created a mobile application called Tappy Guide that helps cities and it's transportation systems become smarter for people with disabilities. We are similar to Be My Eyes and Aira. We provide wayfinding solutions for all people with disabilities.

I come from a family where my brother, sister and 2 cousins were born blind. Whenever they were in need of support they always wanted a trusted source to help support. This is why I decided to create Tappy Guide. We are a free service for our users. The goal of Tappy Guide is for our users to request help from Friends and Family. So instead of calling a random stranger with Aira or Be My Eyes, we've developed a solution where you can request help from a trusted loved one when in need of extra support. Your sighted friends and family can register for an account at We will then set them up with a Guide account so they will be able to support you and other people with a disability when help is needed.

We've recently partnered up with Ford Motor Company and the City of Austin TX to launch a pilot of our app. You can learn more about the pilot here:……

Please let me know if you have any questions, comments or concerns.

Thank you,
John Petrous



Submitted by zeirus-fr on Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Hi John!

I can't understand only one thing.
Why i need to install your apps if I can call my relatives in any case?
By phone by internet by by by ...
I can call without problems.
Though I don't know....
Your app may be useful but exactly not for me.
As for me, it's enough a usual phone and be my eyes.

Submitted by Siobhan on Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Hi. i understand somewhat of what you are trying to do. But with friends i have, most of them have jobs, so are unable to help me. plus, one of the biggest hurddles I overcame was asking strangers for help crossing a nothing street. So in my own view, asking your cousin for help, or a brother, is a safety net. I'm not saying for someone with a disability more severe would not be open to this, but for me it wouldn't be an app I would use. I wish you luck.

Submitted by Ekaj on Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Hi. I've never used Be My Eyes, Aira, or any of those apps that provide live assistance but I am intrigued by your idea. I was born blind too, and I have 2 siblings with visual impairments. In regards to crossing streets independently, I've done it but it's not that easy even with quiet streets. I think something such as this is a great idea, but one problem I've had is that not everybody embraces these things and would therefore be rather skeptical. I struck out on my own in the summer of 2004. I will definitely take a look at your app though. Don't even get me started on the so-called O&M instructor who told me to basically wave around a card which said something to the effect of "I'm blind, please help me across the street." Hint hint: I am not a beggar, nor will I ever pretend to be one.

Submitted by Ann Marie B on Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Hi. I can see your app being useful in some situations dealing with people with severe profound disabilities but it is not for me. I use Be My Eyes when friends or family are not available. I also use facetime with a trusted friend or my fiance to assist me if need be.
Good luck!
Ann Marie

Submitted by Siobhan on Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Hi. The crossing street idea wasn't the best example. I agree that this app isn't for me like theother person did. I wish you luck. I guess if you can clarify why someone wouldn't go with Be my Eyes or Aira, over just the comfort of Mom, or fiance. I guess to me this seems a bit sheltered. I wish you luck of course as i previously said.

Submitted by Brad on Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Did you ask blind people what they wanted before making this app?

Does the app work with voiceover?

do you know your websites form isn't accessible to screen reader users? Oh we can use it but the edit boxes aren't labled correctly.

How will your volunteers help those with hearing difficulties? Will they take an ASL class or two if they don't know ASL?

The idea honestly sounds like one of those let's help the disabled without actually asking the disabled what they want kind of things.

If I'm wrong, great! I'll take back what I said but at the moment I don't think I am.

Submitted by Ann Marie B on Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Before developing such an app, I recommend ensuring the volunteer form on your website is fully accessible with a screen reader. I tested this with both JAWS and voiceover. The edit boxes are not labeled accurately; I didn't know I had to enter my email address until voiceover mentioned it. Also, when scheduling days/times of availability there are no indications (checkboxes or radio buttons) for a screen reader user to choose their availability.
Thank you.

Thank you for your comments. To answer your question as to why someone wouldn't go with Be my Eyes, Aira, or simple facetime is for a few reason.
1) Be My eyes does not have a mapping solution and their volunteers are not trained. We have both. We have mapping and our volunteers are trained
2) Aira requires a paid monthly subscription. We are a free service for our users.
3) Facetime does not provide mapping or GPS information.

Hope this helps.

To answer your questions:
Did you ask blind people what they wanted before making this app? My brother and sister who are both blind helped develop this app. We also worked with a few disability organizations to get feedback.
Does the app work with voiceover? Yes of course
How will your volunteers help those with hearing difficulties? We have a built in chat feature for our Guides to chat with our deaf users. Also, all of our Guides are required to go through a 3 hour training course provided by the Texas School of Blind and Visually Impaired.
The idea honestly sounds like one of those let's help the disabled without actually asking the disabled what they want kind of things. I included helpful links in the original posting. One of the links is a news story done by a news station in the City of Austin where they give a background of my personal story of my family and they also interview one of our blind users who speaks on their experiences of our app. For future references, I would definitely recommend reading a post in it's entirety and thoroughly to better help what the poster is trying to discuss.

Thank you again for the feedback. Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.

First and foremost, your writing seems to assume that people may not know what Be My eyes and Aira, as in your last comment. I know both of them, know of the subscription also. Your writing style is trying to offer something for free, that has real concerns. for me the real sticking point is that you are asking people not to go out of their comfort zone and rely on friends and family. Besides work and other life commitments, why should someone download a "free" app?" If people are provided a three hour training course, should we just believe your word? This app is really just thrown out here with very little explanation. we get you developed with your blind brother and sister. I'm comfortable with people using whatever they want, but do you understand at all where someone who may have more confidtnce find his app a little strange? I respect you are trying to do a good thing. but you just have told us there's mapping and GPS navigation and other things. If your website is not accessible, that is a red flag to any disabled person. Please maybe rethink this.

I didn't read the articles but I know this app isn't for me.

If it works for others great, but I'd personally not download if it if I could.

The website does need work, graphics aren't labeled correctly and neither are the edit boxes nor the check boxes to select your times. I understand you probably think that blind people aren't going to use this side of your product but that doesn't matter it should still be accessible for us and the disabled comunity at large.

Submitted by Siobhan on Thursday, July 8, 2021

In reply to by Brad

Brad just letting you know I believe that you and I are in agreement that for us, this app is not something we wish to use. However the glaringly obvious accessibility errors put an even more foul taste in the mouths of the user. If this person has blind siblings why was this not shown to them or if it was, why was it not addressed? Just thinking out loud. Excuse me, coffee. :)

Submitted by Angel on Thursday, July 8, 2021

Hi John,
Thank you so much for writing about your application, I would be more than happy to test the app and provide feedback but when I’ve downloaded the application tappy guide from the App Store I tried signing up but there was a problem.
New York is not listed as one of the states while selecting estate from the state list, will New York be added to the list soon?

having said that I think the OP probably thought that blind users wouldn't use this part of the project.

Submitted by Siobhan on Friday, July 9, 2021

If a sighted person is unable to be told by their blind sibling the edit boxes aren't labeled in whichever way they see fit, I smell something afoot.

Submitted by Jo Billard on Saturday, July 10, 2021

I don't see the point. We already know how to contact our friends and family, and personally, I'd rather not ask my family for help. Families can be really judgemental, I feel more comfortable asking a stranger. For sensitive information, there's Aira, or I can always Facetime a family member.