During my senior year of high school, I had the opportunity to share my favorite apps that I use as a student with low vision in the classroom in a presentation to the school district, and one of the apps I mentioned that I still use today is the Clarisketch app. Clarisketch has been one of my favorite apps for creating short instructional videos and annotating pictures for a long time, and today it is finally getting its own post. Here is how I use the Clarisketch app as someone with low vision, and how Clarisketch can be used to support students with visual impairments.
What is Clarisketch?
Clarisketch is a free Android and Chrome OS app that allows users to create their own short tutorial videos (up to two minutes in length) by taking a picture or background and drawing on top of it while speaking. After creating their Clarisketch, users can share a link to their final product, which can be opened in any web browser and does not require a Clarisketch account.
- Clarisketch on Google Play Store
- Clarisketch for Google Chrome
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Creating a Clarisketch account
Users do not need a Clarisketch account to create or view Clarisketches. However, if users do create an account, it means that their name will be connected to their Clarisketches, and that they can have a listing of all of their sketches on the Clarisketch server. Setting up an account requires users to connect their Google account or provide their name, an email, and a password.
Creating a new Clarisketch
Once users open the Clarisketch app, they can create a new Clarisketch by pressing the plus icon in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. From there, users can choose to sketch over a blank background, choose a picture from their camera roll, or take a new picture within the app. Once a picture or background is chosen, users are then taken to a screen where they can choose from different colored pens/lines to use in their Clarisketch- users can customize the width, color, and opacity of the pens by long pressing on one of the line icons at the top of the screen. Once the user starts talking, Clarisketch will automatically start recording their audio, even if they aren’t drawing, and will automatically stop when the user is done talking.
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Once users are done creating their Clarisketch, they can set a name and share a link to their Clarisketch on social media, via email, or wherever they would traditionally share a link. As mentioned earlier, users do not need to have an account to view Clarisketches, and Clarisketches will play in any web browser, including mobile web browsers.
Using Clarisketch with large print
The Clarisketch app works very well with the large print/large display settings on my Google Pixel 2. The app doesn’t work as well with screen magnification, as I had difficulty magnifying the pens, though if a user just wanted to record audio over top of an image, they would be able to without any assistance. Users can use screen magnification when playing back a Clarisketch in a web browser with no issues, though I recommend using the window/lens magnification lens if possible.
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Using Clarisketch with TalkBack
The buttons within the Clarisketch app are unlabeled, though if users are familiar with the basic app interface, they would be able to create a Clarisketch independently. However, they would not be able to customize their drawing tools, as TalkBack would not let me close the pen menu or draw on the screen. However, TalkBack users and other screen reader users can still watch Clarisketches with no known issues.
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Clarisketch premium features
Clarisketch offers a premium subscription for $5 a month or $40 per year that unlocks the following features:
- Remove two minute limit on Clarisketches
- Add multiple pages/photos to one Clarisketch- up to 30 pages with one hour of audio each
- Pointer- use a line which smoothly disapppears, which is ideal for emphasizing different points
What I use it for
Here are some of the many ways I have used Clarisketch over the years:
- Annotating a map for orientation and mobility practice on my college campus
- Explaining an assignment to a friend with the assignment as the background
- Reading text content in an image/recording alt text in an audio format
- My friend used the app to describe their latest drawing to me
- Creating a tutorial on how to solve a math problem and another one on how to balance a chemistry equation
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I love the Clarisketch app and have used it for years to create short instructional videos or for recording image descriptions. I highly recommend the Clarisketch app for Android users who want to create their own picture and audio tutorial videos!