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Project 1 Development of an App to Help Parents and Youth Focus on Employment

Creation of an app to guide users through steps they can take to help youth who are B/LV or deaf-blind progress in education, independence, and employment.



The purpose of this project is to create an app for parents of youth who are blind or visually impaired (B/VI) or deaf-blind (DB) and youth who are B/VI that will guide them through steps to help youth prepare for employment. The app will provide a checklist of age-appropriate activities that can aid youth during the transition process.

Research Questions

  1. How do end users prefer to interact with the app (e.g., number of notifications, frequency of reminders)?
  2. What suggestions do end users have about content and functionality of the app?
  3. Can the app interface be learned quickly without instruction?
  4. Can an end user perform the basic functions of the app without errors?
  5. Is the app fully accessible for B/VI users?
  6. Do end users enjoy using the app and desire to keep using it?
  7. Do parents and youth find the app beneficial to the transition process?
  8. Could the app raise the expectations of parents who initially had low expectations for their child with B/VI or DB?

Study Summary

For many youth who are B/VI or DB, the transition from school to career can be challenging. Parents can play a significant role in their child’s success by supporting and encouraging preparation for the school-to-career transition. This project involves the development of an app to help parents of youth who are B/VI or DB, ages 4 to 24, and youth who are B/VI, focus on steps to prepare for employment.

The app framework will be developed by AFB Tech to be compatible with iOS, Android, and web platforms. Two distinct versions of the app are being developed: one for youth with B/VI and their parents and one for parents of youth who are DB with multiple impairments. The app will provide a personalized experience based on the user’s profile information, such as the role of the user (parent or youth); disability of youth (B/VI or DB); age of youth; academic progress in school; and future college and career goals. The profile will control the automated dissemination of information and active (“push”) notifications to each user. App users will receive suggested activities, information and resources, reminders to complete activities, and a checklist to track their progress.

NRTC staff, working in conjunction with a team of external experts, will develop content for the app. Following content development, advisory boards of four experts for each of the populations (B/VI and DB) will assist with content validation. These experts will independently evaluate the content. Input will also be gathered from the three target end user populations through focus groups, usability testing, and a field test of the app. End user input will be utilized to improve the app prior to its public release, which is set for 2020.

Expected Outcomes and Benefits

This project will lead to the creation of a new app that will provide valuable transition resources to parents of youth with B/VI and DB and youth with B/VI, with the goal of helping youth successfully achieve employment.

Project Outputs

Cmar, J. L., & Steverson, A. (2023). Confidence and expectations among parents of and students with visual impairments. The New RE:view, 1(2), 51-67.

Antonelli, K., Steverson, A., & Cmar, J.L. (2023). Usability of 4to24: A transition application for parents of students with visual impairments. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 117(1), 19-29.

Steverson, A., Cmar, J. L., & Antonelli, K. (2022). The experiences of parents of and students with visual impairments with 4to24, a transition application. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness. Advance online publication.

Antonelli, K. & Steverson, A. (2022). 4to24 App: Transition guidance for parents. CHARGE Accounts

Antonelli, K., Cmar, J. L., & Steverson, A. (2021). Development of 4to24, a transition application for parents of students with visual impairments. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 115(6), 493-505.

Antonelli, K. & Steverson, A. (2021, March). Navigating to successful transition: There’s an app for that! Future Reflections. 40(1).

Principal Investigator

Karla Antonelli

Project Updates

NRTC 4to24 App Available on Apple App Store

Fall 2020 - NRTC Newsletter

Spring 2019 - NRTC Newsletter

Fall 2017 - NRTC Newsletter

Spring 2016 - NRTC Newsletter

This research project is sponsored by a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant #90RT5040). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  The contents of this webpage do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, or HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.