Application that helps people with visual impairments enjoy the theater


  • Рейтинг Рунета 2016

    1-е место в конкурсе мобильных приложений Рейтинг Рунета в номинации «Информация и Коммуникация» 3-е место в номинации «Приложение с лучшим UX/UI»


Tiflo comments is a specially prepared audio description of scenes, actions and objects that helps people with visual impairment to perceive information in whole. With the help of the application «Iskusstvo.Vsluh», visually impaired and blind people can listen to performances with tiflo comments and expand the boundaries of perception without using special equipment.

Story behind it

In the framework of the Golden Mask Festival 2017, Sberbank, together with the Russian Society of the Blind (RSB), decided to present the first Russian application for listening to tiflo comments to theatrical productions. We were invited to act as a technology partner and executor on the project.

Application screen

Progect goal

To create a unique application with tiflo comments for performances, we needed to analyze possible technical solutions and offer a suitable option for theaters.
When projecting, designing and developing it was necessary to take into account the specific features of users, so that a person with visual impairments could easily use the application.


In addition to the applications for iOS and Android, we developed a server part, a database and an operator panel, through which the responsible employee of the theater launches tiflo comments at the right moment of the performance. This provides the most simple and reliable scenario for the system.

Spectacle selection screen
Polina Mahold
«Our task was to try to create a platform that would allow theaters to independently attract the blind without much effort. The implementation of the technological solution on smartphones (which are now common among the visually impaired) is the best option to speed up the penetration of tiflo commenting in theaters and to allow blind people in any major city to enjoy performances. We took a risk and decided to be the first to develop such application. Of course, we invited experienced partners to the team».
Polina Mahold

Mobile projects and platforms marketing manager of "Sberbank"

User Experience

To start listening to the tiflo comments, the user only needs to come to the theater, run the application, put on the headphones and that’s it! As soon as the performance begins, the user will hear an audio description of what is happening. Connection to Wi-Fi happens automatically on Android. iPhone technically does not have this capability, so the application tells you to which network connect to, and offers to do so.

Fragment of main sections interaction

Fragment of the main sections interaction

Syncing Comments

The format of the application with tiflo comments previously was used only for movies. But unlike the cinema in the theater, the launch of tiflo comments can not be automated. There can be delays, improvisation, and changes in the script.

To link the comments to the pauses in the performances, we analyzed 3 ways of synchronization and proposed the best option in terms of implementation time, reliability and ease of use.
The option of using the local network turned out to be the most reliable and requiring minimal effort from users.

Analysis of the optimal synchronization method

Requirements for the theaters

In theaters there are often problems with connection. Sometimes there are special signal jammers, so as not to interfere with the performance. Therefore, the presence of a local network is a necessary condition for reliable transmission of information. Each theater participating in the project was given a customized Wi-Fi router and a laptop — they just need to be plugged into the outlet and the infrastructure for the tiflo comments is ready.

LAN connection screen

Operator panel

A tiflo operator is a person who plays audio files and accompanies the production. A similar technology is used to provide subtitles in operas. Therefore, in every theater there is a staff member who is able to cope with this task. We created a simple application for running tracks with audio files. Working with the operator panel is not difficult, and it is easy to introduce it into any theater.

Screen of the operator panel

Interface, accessible
to everyone

What should be the application interface for people who do not see the screen clearly? How do they understand where to tap? The design and font in the application «Iskusstvo.Vsluh» are tailored to meet the needs of the visually impaired and are coordinated with the «VOS.» Support for voice interface technology, TalkBack for Android and VoiceOver for iOS, allow even completely blind people to navigate in the application.

Application interface

Testing subtleties

To make sure that the blind can use the application and check the correctness of work of the voice assistants, the testers specially checked all functions with their eyes closed. Members of the Russian Society of the Blind also took part in testing the application.

Mikhail Korneyev
"Developers managed to find a simple and understandable approach for implementing the interface. Particularly pleasant is that the application remains visually pleasing to the people with good vision. Often, when developing an interface for the blind, they do not think about it and abuse the contrasts and sizes of the elements. It is important that none of the viewers needed help in getting to know the interface of the application, everyone could start using it on their own.

Directly at the performances everything went well and the application was able to realize the most important task — to become invisible (didn’t distract by mistakes or unnecessary reminders) while performing its task".
Mikhail Korneyev

The coordinator of the project "RBS-Film"

short video about the work of the app Iskusstvo.Vsluh iOS
Eugen Denisov
«The more different applications there are that allow people to perceive the world that everyone else sees, the better».
Eugen Denisov

Project manager at MobileUp

The atmosphere of performance in the app

Text tiflo comment voiced professional actors: Chulpan Khamatova, Yuliya Peresild and Anatoly Bely. It allows to feel the theater atmosphere even more. Now people with visual impairment have an opportunity to participate in theatrical life.

Mikhail Korneyev
«The most valuable feedback are the faces of blind viewers (this is not a typo, blind people are also viewers) when they came out of the performances. It is difficult to describe with words the range of emotions and impressions read on their faces. First and foremost, it is necessary to thank the wonderful performances chosen for the start of the project, and the joy and emotions of the spectators is an additional confirmation that everything (organization, tiflo comments, and also the application conveying it) has been done right».
Mikhail Korneyev

The coordinator of the project "RBS-Film"

Team of the project

  • Project Manager

    Eugene Denisov

  • Art Director

    Philip Filchenko

  • Design

    Ilyas Gayfullin

  • CTO

    Eugene Valeev

  • iOS Development

    Alexey Nemychenkov

    Polina Demidova

  • Android Development

    Dmitry Gorbunov

  • Testing

    Alexandra Kochetkova

    Ilya Biltuyev

  • Backend Development

    Anton Vityazev


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