Tell us about Predictable
Predictable is an augmentative communication app. By providing ways for people with severe physical disabilities to be able to quickly compose and speak a message, the app helps people maintain independence. We offer the ability to store messages you want quick access to and ways to speed up typing – because many people who use the app don’t type with their hands – they may use a switch, which is like a button; or control the app using head movements. It is used in 35 countries in 10 languages by people with MND/ALS, cerebral palsy, after head and neck surgery or due to autism and other conditions that can make speaking difficult. The app can be customised to take into account each person’s abilities and difficulties; so that they can set it up to work best for them and change the settings if their physical abilities change over time.
How did you come up with the idea for Predictable?
I came up with the idea for Predictable when I was working as a speech and language therapist. My clients needed a smart, quick way to be able to keep communicating when they lost their speech to MND/ALS or other degenerative conditions. I wanted to create an app that would make their lives easier and better!
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What advice would you have for other women looking to start their own business?
The advice I have for other women wanting to start their own business is to focus on what you do well and then work with people who have skills that you don’t. Don’t try and do everything on your own. The other key considerations are being realistic with your time. As a mum, I need to try to balance out family life and my career. It’s really important to set yourself reasonable expectations and be fair on yourself.
What does the future hold for Predictable?
For Predictable, we are about to launch a major update that will allow people to use the app with small facial gestures if they can’t use the screen with their hands. They’ll be able to, for example, trigger messages using eye blinks, or eyebrow raises – whatever works best for that person. It’s a big step forward for the app and I hope it will make a big difference for people!