Ballyland™ Magic App - Quick Start

It is recommended to read the full instructions on the Ballyland Magic app website.

Download Quick Start as an accessible Word document ↓


The Ballyland Magic app is an iPad game that is designed to enable children with vision impairment to learn and practice basic navigational touch gestures for VoiceOver. Without any need for previous experience, the app aims to give them a head-start to the independent use of an iPad. Skills can be gradually built and settings can be adjusted to suit personal learning requirements.

The four multi-level scenes of the Magic App follow the Ballylanders in their preparations for a performance in a Magic Show. Children with vision impairment practice their own 'magic' touch gestures while they move through the app. When they have mastered all the required touch gestures, they are put in charge of the Ballyland Magic Show!

The app offers a fun and supportive learning experience for all involved. Although it has been demonstrated that children can be left to play with the app on their own, active guidance and support by a parent or educator may generally be required to help the child perform the touch gestures correctly and achieve the best learning outcomes. To assist with this process, dynamically updated score-data and clear, short instructions are provided throughout the app.

Recommended for children with vision impairment:


The Ballyland Magic app does NOT use VoiceOver (Apple's screen reader), so VoiceOver should not be turned on*. Instead, the app uses automatic, built-in speech, and simulates VoiceOver. Effective interaction results from a combination of correctly executed touch gestures and good listening and memory skills. More specifics of each gesture can be found in the full instructions. Teachers and parents who are blind and usually use VoiceOver, please turn on the accessible navigation menu.

Scenes and Touch Gestures

The Ballyland Magic app consists of four multi-level Scenes, introducing the following navigational touch gestures:

Scene 1: Preparing for the show

Finger drag implies putting the fingertip of one finger on the screen and then lightly dragging the finger around the screen, without lifting it up. Finger drag enables a user with vision impairment to scan and explore the screen, and to put an item in focus, which means that you select that item as the one that you want do something to. A double tap with the tip of one finger anywhere on the screen then activates or opens the item. The popular and powerful TapTap song supports the development of finger dexterity, timing, and speed. It aims to bring the child's level of skills up to the standard that is required to effectively perform the 'double tap' touch gesture with VoiceOver. Note that a 'ticking' sound alert indicates an 'empty cell' or a 'virtual wall': you try to move to where there is nothing anymore.

Scene 2: Practicing for the Show

The one finger Flick gesture (anywhere on the screen) is a way to quickly move through items on the screen.

Scene 3: The Magic Book

The Magic Book is a bi-directional, magic story of the Cat, the Hat and the Mouse. To move through the 5 pages, make Flick gestures to the right and to the left, with three fingers. Changing direction in the three finger flick gesture on any page of the story will magically change the colours in the story. To complete this Scene, the child needs to flick to and from the first and last page at least two times.

Scene 4: The Magic Show

The Magic Show, the Grand Finale of the app, can be used to assess the child's current level of skills. The Ballylanders will perform their acts in the show, and the child is responsible for running the show. One by one, each of the previously learnt touch gestures needs to be used correctly to progress through the acts of the show. Being able to make the show run smoothly, is proof of the fact that the child has mastered fundamental touch gestures skills, which can be transferred to other game or learning environments that use VoiceOver. If specific touch gestures still prove to be (too) difficult for the child, the app is the perfect tool to refine and further those skills.

Options Menu

To open the "Options Menu", double tap the red button at the top left corner of the screen.

The Options Menu provides options to:
  • Go to Main Menu
  • Skip Intro speech
  • Replay intro speech
  • Go to previous Page
  • Go to next page
  • Adjust settings

*Using the Ballyland Magic app if you are a parent or educator with vision impairment and rely on VoiceOver

The Magic app plays in "Landscape Mode". The landing page of the app is VoiceOver accessible. It provides instructions on when to turn VoiceOver off in order to avoid mingling with the app's built-in speech. You can turn on VoiceOver again before you quit the app. The full instructions as well as the on-screen short instructions can be downloaded in an accessible format.

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