CanTunes And CanPlan: iOS Apps For Cognitive Impairment

There are certain simple interests we all have that bring us immense pleasure. Needless to say, one of them is listening to music. Thanks to digital music and portable music devices, listening to music is much more fun, and the experience is more special. But what if someone has cognitive impairment and finds maneuvering regular music applications like iTunes difficult?
CanAssist, an assistive technology organization, has released an app for iOS with a minimal interface that helps people with cognitive disabilities play music on their iPhones and iPads with utmost east. CanTunes, a $.99 app on the app store, does not require knowledge of traditional music player buttons (play, pause, rewind, forward, etc.). The interface displays all the album covers on the device in the form of a circular disc. Tapping the album cover starts playing the music and spins the album art continuously, indicating that it is playing. Tapping the  same album art stops the music. You can also tap a different album cover to play that album and stop the current one. As simple as that!

This app also has sleep mode to turn off music after a certain period of time, and is also compatible with VoiceOver.
The same organization has developed another useful app called CanPlan which is a task management app that helps people with a range of cognitive challenges to complete activities with greater independence and confidence.
To set things up, a user would work with a support person and take pictures of each step in a task. For example, for all the steps required to make coffee (get coffee grinds, get filter, etc.), they can take pictures of every step, caption them and create a task. Whenever the user needs to perform that task, they will just go through all the steps one by one in CanPlan and finish that task. These tasks can also be scheduled – they can set reminders for themselves, so at a certain time of day, a message will alert them to perform that task, and they can go through all the steps one by one to accomplish it.
Watch this video for a simple demo of this app.

The free version of CanPlan supports a maximum of 3 tasks. The full version, which supports an unlimited number of tasks, is available for purchase from within the free app.


  1. Great post, I think the trend towards more iOS apps providing impaired user access is a great thing. In the future, I think that cognitively impaired users will be able to do a lot more with iOS apps and devices.

  2. Thanks for share this interesting post, its nice that iOS applications provides access to incapacitated users. This kind of applications very helpful to these people.

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