Herbi Writer next steps
Let me know which of these changes would be most useful to you and I'll try to get to those changes as soon as possible. I'm always improving Herbi Writer and I want to focus on the most useful changes first. If you have a request that's not listed below, let me know and I'll add it to the list of things to do.
Top of the list
Based on recent feedback, these are the next two changes I intend to make to Herbi Writer:
Make it easy to rename existing sets of letters, and to delete sets of letters that you no longer want. Also make it easy to rename existing letters, numbers, or shapes, and to add new ones.
Add a way to easily view the letters which were evaluated as incorrect on the previous game, and to have only those letters shown on the next game played. From the OT:
"The issue I'm running into is, as the student works on a letter set and has not successfully mastered, say 12/26. Unless I'm sitting with them making note of the ones they miss I would have to go to the saved report (assuming I remembered to save it) and set the game to display those letters prior to the session next weeks session. And I usually don't have time to do that for each student. Now I am using some of the beginning of their sessions to customize the game. Making a child wait anxiously to get started is not ideal."
Recent updates to Herbi Writer
The most recent change to Herbi Writer based on input from an OT was:
Add a way for the OT to include verbal visual instructions for the letter formation. From the OT, "Write a 'd'; round and up and down."
A demonstration of this new feature can be found at http://herbi.org/HerbiWriterDemonstrations.htm.
Potential new Herbi Writer features
An easily accessible history of the student's game scores covering a specific date period. This would help track the student's progress over time.
Changes to the report feature to show information that's more useful to you.
Improve the letter evaluation, such that fewer letters are considered to be incorrect when they should be considered correct, and vice versa. I've been told that the evaluation of 'O', 'Q', and 'G' can be unreliable.
Allow sample words to be shown, which the student should copy or trace. To take this a step further, show short sentences.
Add better support for non-English letters.
Add a way to create new sets of letters and new background lines such that the letters automatically appear where you'd expect them to on the lines.
Potential smaller improvements which should take less time to do
Have a sound played when the student reaches each "dot" while playing "Join the dots".
Add an optional time limit for the amount of time the student has for completing the game.
Make Herbi Writer more useful for students with low vision who use high contrast colors. For example, use no animation, and use a high contrast image of Herbi.
Add a new sample set of big letters.
Make the Shapes letter set practical to use. This will require a new background with vertical lines to make it clear how wide the shapes are.
When playing a game, specify a maximum number of times that a letter can be shown if it's never considered to be correct. This prevents the student getting stuck on a letter.
If the sample letter contains two ink stokes and the student only write one stroke, give up waiting for the second stroke after a while.
Make sure Herbi Writer works for all users of the computer if it should do, regardless of who actually installed the software.
Add off-line Help, such that you can get details of how to use Herbi Writer when you're not connected to the Internet.
Make it easier to customize letters or to add new sets of letters. Fix the problem whereby customized letters can appear too high or too low on the background lines.
Fix the delay in updating the visual feedback after a student's letter has been evaluated. Today not all the things get updated at the same time when a letter is evaluated as being correct.
Add more useful information when the program starts if some support software required by Herbi Writer is not available on the computer.
Improve what's shown on the screen when the background lines are near the bottom of the Herbi Writer window. For example, today the tails of sample letters like 'q' may not be seen on small screens.
Change the location of certain Herbi Writer files on your computer. Today, most files get put in beneath the "C:\Users\<UserName>\AppData\Roaming\Herbi.org\HerbiWriter" on a Windows Vista computer, and they get put beneath "C:\Documents and Settings\<UserName>\Application Data\Herbi.org\HerbiWriter" on a Windows XP computer.
Prevent the game score being reset whenever the Settings window is closed. As part of this, prevent the need to click Stop Game and Start Game after closing the settings window.
Make is clearer when a game has finished.
Current investigations based on feedback
The game can become slower after around 30 minutes of use.
Some backgrounds were not available after an upgrade of