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Chat GPT has an iOS app, and it’s relatively accessible

CHAT BOT AI in purple writing above hands typing on a keyboard

by David Redmond

Late last year, a chatbot called ChatGPT took the world by storm. It has led to companies throwing huge resources into AI projects, and it has also raised questions about what exactly the future looks like in a world of artificial intelligence.

Chat GPT is based on a Large Language model, or LLM. The GPT model isn’t only being used for Chatbot, it’s being integrated into many apps including some assistive technology apps such as Be My Eyes.

Despite the wide variety of apps using the GPT model, it was only last week that Chatbot, (the chatbot based on GPT) got its own official app. This of course raises a question. How accessible is it?

Let’s answer that question
Back when we interviewed Chat GPT on our Talking Technology podcast, it spoke of the importance of making sure that people with disabilities weren’t left behind by the advancements in AI. Let’s see if ChatGPT keeps its promises.

When you first open the app, you’ll immediately notice little haptic vibrations. We’ll talk more about these in a bit, but first let’s log in. Flicking with VoiceOver doesn’t work correctly here, but if you tap the bottom of your screen, you’ll find a menu. You can now flick away to your heart’s desire. Select how you’d like to log in or sign up. All the options are accessible so you should be fine. Once you’re logged in you get an accessible welcome screen which you can dismiss. And like magic, you’re in.

The app layout is really simple. There’s a menu button in the top right, but the rest of the screen is just a chat screen. Type your message at the bottom and send it to get a near-instant response. The app’s send button is labeled as sent, which is the only real issue in what’s otherwise a very accessible app.

The app supports dark mode which is great, and chats and 156 menus seem to work well with VoiceOver. I would like a new chat button on the main screen but that’s me just being picky at this point.

The haptics are really interesting. When you send a message, you’ll feel a light vibration as the chatbot types its response, it’s as if you feel the chatbot tapping away on its keyboard. When it’s done typing you feel a more pronounced tap, indicating your message is complete. It’s subtle and I personally like it, but you can turn it off in Settings if you want.

All in all, I was really happy with the app, and I just wish they’d fix the one mislabelled send button. I’m willing to give them a pass on this as the app is really quite usable despite the issue.

It’s going to be fascinating to watch this tech change over the next while, and hopefully accessibility stays front and centre.