Assistive Music Technology: Mobile UI/UX

Ariana White
UX Planet

Assistive Music Technology

Creating an inclusive mobile guitar tuner app for the Visually Impaired

Updated 2023:

The inspiration to create an inclusive mobile guitar tuner app for the visually impaired struck me when I discovered Google’s groundbreaking “TalkBack” Braille keyboard feature for Android. Witnessing the thoughtful and transformative potential of this technology for people with visual impairments immediately captivated my attention.

The seamless integration of the TalkBack Braille keyboard into everyday devices presented new avenues for effective and independent communication, prompting me to explore how this spirit of inclusivity could be extended to the world of music. This led me to conceive the idea of a mobile guitar tuner with similar mechanics.

Google’s Braille keyboard “TalkBack” for Android

Business Problem
The traditional music industry, encompassing instrument manufacturers and app developers, have predominantly centered their efforts on serving the general population, inadvertently overlooking the critical accessibility requirements of those with visual impairments.

User Problem
Traditional tuners heavily rely on visual cues, creating significant barriers that hinder the visually impaired from fully engaging in the musical experience, limiting their participation in both personal and professional musical activities.

Global Assistive Technology market size predictions from Reports &

The global assistive technologies visually impaired market size was USD 7.49 Billion in 2022 and is expected to reach a value of USD 14.71 Billion in 2032 and register a revenue CAGR of 7% during the forecast period. This growth highlights the increasing demand for solutions catering to individuals with visual impairments.

Comprehensive Business Solution
Creating an inclusive mobile guitar tuner app, custom-made for the visually impaired, drawing inspiration from Google’s “TalkBack” Braille keyboard mechanics for Android.

Key Solution Components

  1. User-Centric Design: User-centric design is crucial, enabling easy navigation and interaction for visually impaired users, making the app inclusive and accessible to their specific needs.

The 6-button key interface was built for comfort, efficiency, and inclusivity.
The guitar has 6 strings, listed from low to high, the guitar string notes are E, A, D, G, B, E.

In guitar tuning E, A, D, G, B, E is the standard, because it ergonomically eases finger and hand transition between chords, and scales with little fret-hand movement. Braille is similar in that characters can be touched in a natural hand position.

Tuneful app play-through demonstration

2. Braille Integration: Integrating Braille support is vital for effective communication and interaction with the app for visually impaired users, ensuring seamless utilization without visual barriers, and enhancing accessibility.

3. Audio and Haptic Feedback: Real-time audio and haptic feedback are vital for users relying on auditory or tactile cues.

By emphasizing audio cues and providing a user-friendly interface, a tuner for the blind can be highly effective in helping visually impaired musicians tune their instruments without the need for haptic feedback. However, if the addition of haptics complements the overall user experience and enhances usability, it can be considered an optional feature.

4. Accurate Tuning Algorithms: Precise tuning algorithms ensure accurate guitar tuning for visually impaired users, regardless of their level of impairment.


  1. User Engagement: Measure the number of active users, frequency of app usage, and session duration to assess user interest and engagement.
  2. Accessibility Metrics: Monitor the usage of accessibility features like Braille support, audio feedback, and haptic feedback to ensure effective accessibility for visually impaired users.
  3. Accuracy of Tuning: Track the app’s tuning accuracy by comparing actual pitch with tuning results to ensure the app performs its core function effectively.
  4. User Feedback and Satisfaction: Gather user feedback through surveys or reviews to evaluate satisfaction and identify areas for improvement.
  5. App Downloads and Installations: Monitor the number of app downloads and installations to gauge initial interest and adoption among the visually impaired community.

Style Guide

The three types of colorblindness are Deuteranopia, Protanopia, and Tritanopia (green weak red weak, and blue weak). The use of colors that are weak or blended can become problematic. The guide below shows how Tuneful’s color palette looks from a color-blind person’s perspective.

Tuneful’s color style guide from a color-blind perspective.

With approximately 8% of the American population facing visual impairments caused by various factors, the need for accessible and empowering solutions becomes evident.

Projections for vision impairment (2010–2030–2050) by National Eye Institute

Valuable insights from the University of Melbourne research reveal that individuals who experience blindness at younger ages develop superior pitch discrimination and pitch-timbre discrimination compared to sighted individuals, regardless of their musical training.

By addressing the specific needs of visually impaired users, Tuneful aims to break barriers and enable full engagement in the musical experience. Its development represents a transformative step towards making music accessible and enjoyable for the visually impaired community. The projected growth in demand for assistive technologies further validates the app’s significance, highlighting its potential to empower individuals and foster inclusivity in the world of music.

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