I see people frequently asking what the best AAC app is, and this is a hard question, because explaiing that there isn't one best app, its a question of the best app for a given person is not a single sentence reply.
It's easy to give a suggestion that is the app that works best for you or whoever your support. It's easy to give the suggestion of whatever you know the best.
And that app, is the best app for you! And not the best app for everyone. Because there's not one best app.
What works best for different people, is different, because we're different people, because we have different needs and different experiences and different lives. What works best is different, because we aren't all the same person. And that's a good thing.
For example, Proloquo2go is an app that is very popular for good reason. I have many friends who use this app. I can easily turn to people for whom this is the best app. And I trialed it, and it was complete nonsense to me. It didn't matter how much I tried, I could not make sense of it.
Others talk about how they really like it because of how intuitive it is. It was so confusing to me that after months I still hadn't figured out basics. People talk about this symbol set (symbolstix) being one that works well for many people. I cannot tell the difference between different symbols as a general rule - they are just, visual nonsense that only make the text more complicated, nothing that helps sort out what is what, or help me keep track of what is where. I never was able to figure out the editing, or many of the setting options. I got lost in the words to the point where I was able to confirm that I'd never be able to, no matter how much practice I had, use the vast majority of the built in vocabulary, with the layout they choose not to mention any I would add.
And this app is absolutely the best app for multiple of my friends.
The fact that I cannot use this, that it is not something that works for me, does not make it something that does not work well for many people. It does not mean it is not the first one I would recommend to people in some cases. Because we're all our own people with our own needs.
But it does mean, this is not the best for everyone.
None of them are. When some of us need symbolstix and others need PCS, when some of us need words in multiple places and others needs words in one place, we have different needs.
But also, what is considered easy to edit, is different person to person.
What is considered an intuitive settings menu, is different person to person.
How you swap between typing and symbols, how you use search, how you save what you're saying to say something else, how you speak aloud something while you're in the middle of typing, these all vary app to app and your preferences and needs and what is easy and intuitive varies.
And sure, a lot of this you can learn, you don't need to go out of your way to be perfect, and be afraid you're going to get something wrong because you haven't gotten to try everything. It's worth getting AAC even if you're not positive this is the optimal app it's worth getting a method of communication that is more likely a better one. But, how we talk and suggest things and help people find their way also is relevant.
(also, if you try something, and its not the best, and you find another app that looks better, then no matter how much there is talk of how hard it is to swap apps, that doesn't mean its not sometimes worth it when new apps are created or something else becomes financially available. Change is hard and also, communication methods becoming added to a system of options is not a bad thing if you can afford it)
But, there is no one feature that you can add, one change you can make, one option, that makes an app the best app for all of us (whether you're designing a new app or otherwise). Because we just, don't all need the same things. Because what is going to be the best for you, is still going to be confusing to someone else.
Choice is good. Different people using different apps is good. The same person using different apps at different times, because different apps are the best in different moments is good!
Because setting up for our own needs, rather than the expectation of meeting what others expect we should be, is good. Because actually doing what we need for ourselves, and having what works for us is good.
And because we're all our own people and actually recognizing this when we discuss technology and assistive tech is good. Actually recognizing and talking about our humanity and personhood is something we need to do more of.
But we also need to do more of recognizing that maybe we actually have individual preferences rather than you say you need AAC so lets recommend the one app that is the one that I personally know most about because it's obviously going to be the best when there is literally no reason to assume that it would be.
When I say I'm an AAC user that doesn't mean I'm the same as any other AAC user.
It means I'm me. And I'm an AAC user. And I don't know literally any other person who has the needs I have or the set up I have or the specific apps that works and don't work for the reasons that they do, that I do.
We don't all communicate the same way, we don't all use the same assistive tech to communicate either. Lets have there be more options.