Join the conversation
with OpenAccess Chat
Join the conversation
who are hard of hearing
who are Deaf
While there have been a lot of advances in the communication field, the truth is assistive technology can be expensive, cumbersome and obvious. Imagine you’re out and about you wanted to discreetly whisper a comment to a friend or enjoy a spontaneous conversation but it’s too noisy? Or if you are Deaf, and want to learn and be part of the conversation in English?
It's great to be able to use mainstream apps to communicate, but every time you try to do something like increase the font or change the screen contrast to make it easier to read, you’re reminded these apps weren’t created with accessibility in mind.
Introducing OpenAccess Chat. An iPad and iPhone app that allows people who are Deaf or hard of hearing to communicate with people who are hearing through text based conversation — using minimal data.
"It makes communication with everyone easy!"
"OpenAccess Chat is easy to use. I choose to use it over other apps because it doesn’t use much data once I’ve downloaded it.
I use it to have real-time conversations with people who I am having trouble understanding, particularly in loud environments.
Previously I used the notes app in my iPhone. OpenAccess Chat allows me to save my conversations for later so I can recall who said what. "
Rebecca, young professional who lost her hearing when she was two years old
Conexu believes communication barriers should never stop people from reaching their potential.
We are a national non-profit organisation, and experts in both technology and communication access. It’s our whole focus.
Our purpose is to use technology to bridge the communication divide between hard of hearing, Deaf or speech impaired Australians and the broader community.
Since 2011, our award winning team has been developing accessible apps with our communities to overcome communication barriers using mainstream technology.
Learn about Conexu's other OpenAccess apps:
Access to the arts (OpenAccess Tours)
Instant Auslan and English translations (OpenAccess Face to Face)
so you can see if someone is still composing a message
for smaller devices
via bluetooth technology pairing between mutiple devices
or store to review later
change font size, colours and background colours (useful for vision impaired)
so you can string together phrases in advance
through built in or external microphone
with spin function allows two-way conversations on a single device
With a grant from the Brockhoff Foundation in May 2018, Conexu is currently working with Deaf organisations and schools to develop a list of over 500 words to be translated into Auslan and add to our OpenAccess Face to Face app in early 2019.
With current community concern about mental health and wellbeing, young deaf people are at risk of missing out on important information and understanding the meaning of common words used when talking or learning about this important issue. With access to Auslan signs for these words, deaf people.
In May 2016, we worked with Furlong Park School for Deaf Children to trial Open Access Chat in a learning environment, to overcome communication barriers and increase literacy skills.
I wanted to be able to use the suite of apps to make real-life connections in the classroom that would make our students learning experiences with them fun, engaging, and meaningful. It allows for students to take turns, share each other’s ideas/answers/questions in a written format.Technology such as this provides opportunities for students to communicate what they learn to audiences beyond the classroom.
– Marion Trieber, ICT & PE Teacher, Furlong Park School for Deaf Children
One of the functions I found really helpful on the Chat app, was looking at review of conversation... I see a huge improvement in students use of punctuation in the sentences. The skills that students have learned through the last two months using the Chat app is really going to help them in contacting friends and family via email, and text in future.
- Lee Bullock, Teacher of the Deaf, Furlong Park School for Deaf Children
Simply open the app and tap to chat.
You can use a single iPad to chat back and forth, or connect to a nearby device using Bluetooth. As a group, Bluetooth works like a chain of people so person A connects to B and so on. Inbuilt Quick Scripts allow you to pre-type commonly used phrases and use them quickly.
You can also connect a Bluetooth (or braille) keyboard to the iPad, for easier access. And if one of you would prefer to use the microphone option, the app provides speech to text. That way people can communicate in their preference. You’re not asking people to type when they want to speak.
You can change things like text size and colour, and share conversations via email, all without using much data. Which means no nasty bill shock.
Answers to frequently asked questions.
In terms of compatability, OpenAccess Chat requires iOS 8.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The app requires a device with Bluetooth 4+ which includes any iPhone model after the iPhone 4s and any iPad after the iPad 3.
You can get OpenAccess Chat for a one off payment of $2.99 AUD from the app store with no hidden in app purchases.
Good news. Open Access Chat doesn’t use much data, which makes it more cost effective than other alternatives. The only time data is used on the app is when the speech to text function is activated.
Getting started is easy. Once the app is installed, you can begin having conversations. Simply tap > start a conversation, set your personalized options and away you go – its that easy.