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Universal Design and Assistive Technology. Providing access and assistance to people with special needs. Part 4 Presentation. 20 minutes each (including questions) Load slides onto swiki Motivation Requirements learning from users Design learning from prototyping possible demo

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Universal design and assistive technology
Universal Design and Assistive Technology

Providing access and assistance to people with special needs.

Part 4 presentation
Part 4 Presentation

  • 20 minutes each (including questions)

  • Load slides onto swiki

    • Motivation

    • Requirements

      • learning from users

    • Design

      • learning from prototyping

      • possible demo

    • Evaluation

    • Conclusions

    • Q&A


  • Legal Requirements

    • Section 508 1973/1986 Rehabilitation Act

    • 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act

  • 1/5 Americans have a disability, 1/10 have a severe disability*

  • Everyone is impaired sometimes

  • Intriguing interface challenges

*2000 US Census Brief

Universal design principles
Universal design principles

  • equitable use

  • flexibility in use

  • simple and intuitive to use

  • perceptible information

  • tolerance for error

  • low physical effort

  • size and space for approach and use


Multi sensory systems
Multi-Sensory Systems

  • More than one sensory channel in interaction

    • e.g. sounds, text, hypertext, animation, video, gestures, vision

  • Used in a range of applications:

    • particularly good for users with special needs, andvirtual reality

  • Will cover

    • general terminology

    • speech

    • non-speech sounds

    • handwriting

  • considering applications as well as principles

Multi modal vs multi media
Multi-modal vs. Multi-media

  • Multi-modal systems

    • use more than one sense (or mode ) of interaction

      e.g. visual and aural senses: a text processor may speak the words as well as echoing them to the screen

  • Multi-media systems

    • use a number of different media to communicate information

      e.g. a computer-based teaching system:may use video, animation, text and still images: different media all using the visual mode of interaction; may also use sounds, both speech and non-speech: two more media, now using a different mode

Usable senses
Usable Senses

The 5 senses (sight, sound, touch, taste and smell) are used by us every day

  • each is important on its own

  • together, they provide a fuller interaction with the natural world

    Computers rarely offer such a rich interaction

    Can we use all the available senses?

  • ideally, yes

  • practically – no

    We can use • sight • sound • touch (sometimes)

    We cannot (yet) use • taste • smell


  • Very hard to design a product for everyone

  • What happens when you can’t?

  • “Design for all” vs. “Design for most”

  • Assistive technology

    • Any item, equipment or system, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of a person with a disability


  • Access to GUIs for the blind

    • speech

    • Braille

  • Alternate input devices

    • sip&puff, single switch


  • Communication for speech impaired

  • Sign language translators

  • Educational software for cognitive impairments

Users with disabilities
Users with disabilities

  • visual impairment

    • screen readers, SonicFinder

  • hearing impairment

    • text communication, gesture, captions

  • physical impairment

    • speech I/O, eyegaze, gesture, predictive systems (e.g. Reactive keyboard)

  • speech impairment

    • speech synthesis, text communication

  • dyslexia

    • speech input, output

  • autism

    • communication, education


Universal design and assistive technology 1345773
… plus …

  • age groups

    • older people e.g. disability aids, memory aids, communication tools to prevent social isolation

    • children e.g. appropriate input/output devices, involvement in design process

  • cultural differences

    • influence of nationality, generation, gender, race, sexuality, class, religion, political persuasion etc. on interpretation of interface features

    • e.g. interpretation and acceptability of language, cultural symbols, gesture and colour

We re all disabled
We’re all disabled

  • Environment

  • Fatigue

  • Injury

  • Aging

  • Changing role of information technology


Sheila the programmer. She was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy in her early 20's. This condition, which results in progressive loss of muscular strength, means that she works from her motorized wheelchair, and is unable to sit upright for more than a brief time. As a result, she works in a reclined position, leaning back almost horizontally. Her vision problems limit the amount of time she can focus on the screen, and her muscular weakness prevents her from handling paper manuals.


Another example
Another example:

Carla the secretary. She has no vision in one eye and "tunnel vision" in the other and prepares documents using a standard PC and screen magnification software. Sometimes she is unable to tell the difference between old and new email messages, because her mail application uses color to distinguish old from new. Like many users with low vision, she has problems working with columns, because it is difficult for her to see if text is aligned.


Range of physical impairments
Range of Physical Impairments

  • Complete lack of function

    • absence of a limb

    • paralysis – usually due to spinal injury, the higher the damage the greater the degree of paralysis

      • tetraplegia/quadriplegia – all four limbs

      • paraplegia – lower limbs only

  • Lack of strength

  • Tremor/lack of accuracy

  • Slowness

Keyboard modifications
Keyboard Modifications

  • Keyguards

  • Alternative layouts

    • Reduce movement

    • One-handed keyboards, possible chords

  • Membrane surfaces (minimize required pressure)

Software modifications
Software Modifications

  • Sticky keys

  • Slow keys or disable auto-repeat

  • Modify keyboard mappings

  • On-screen keyboards

Alternative input devices
Alternative Input Devices

  • Speech input

    • Dictation versus control

  • Switches

    • Keyboard has approx 50 switches

    • Scanning interfaces

Possible switches
Possible Switches

  • Foot pedal

  • “Leaf” switch – highly sensitive

  • Sip and puff

  • Dual switch (can be used for Morse code)

  • Joy stick

  • Muscle switch

  • Neural implant

  • Eye gaze


Acceleration techniques
Acceleration Techniques

  • Control macros

  • Word prediction

  • Abbreviations

Mouse alternatives
Mouse alternatives

  • Trackball

  • Proportional joystick

  • Switched joystick or cursor keys

  • Head sensor or mouth stick

  • Eye-gaze

  • Keyboard only



  • Low-vision

  • Color blindness

  • Blindness

    • affordances of different media

    • interface model

    • special purpose doesn’t work

    • challenge of generality

Incidence of visual disability
Incidence of visual disability

  • The vast majority of visually disabled people have some sight

Myopia and hypermetropia
Myopia and Hypermetropia

  • Myopia Hypermetropia

  • (short-sighted) (far-sighted)

Accommodating partial sight
Accommodating Partial Sight

  • Large monitor, high resolution, glare protection

  • Control of color and contrast

  • Control of font size everywhere

  • Keyboard orientation aids

Magnification not always a help
Magnification not always a help

‘Now is the time,’

Hardware or software magnification
Hardware or Software Magnification

  • 2 to 16 times

  • Virtual screen

  • Viewport, control

  • Notification of “outside” events

  • CRTs for physical items


Accommodating blind users
Accommodating Blind Users

  • Screen Readers

    • Full-featured

    • Cursor-tracking, routing

    • Dialogue focus

    • View areas

  • Auditory or tactile output



Screen reader output
Screen Reader Output

  • Braille

    • Only 10%?

    • Many Braille codes

    • Real and virtual displays

  • Tactile pads

  • Synthesized speech


Access to graphical user interfaces
Access to Graphical User Interfaces

  • Capture and model graphical interface

  • Translate graphical objects

  • Support efficient and intuitive interaction


  • Redundant output

    • hardware (flashing title bar)

    • software (text to speech)

  • An increasing problem?

    • Population

    • Phone interfaces


  • Communication aids

    • Sign language

    • Speech training

    • Writing aids

  • Preventable form of mental retardation

    • Importance of language development

  • Seeing Voices (Sacks)

Sign language
Sign Language

  • Sign languages are true languages

    • Syntax, semantics, pragmatics

  • Differ dramatically from oral-based languages

  • Many different sign languages

    • American (ASL) close to French Sign Language but different than British (BSL)

  • Signed Exact English for one-to-one translation

Minicoms and tdds
Minicoms and TDDs

  • “Universal” telephone technology

  • Text terminal (keyboard, LED display, modem)

  • Deaf relay centers

    • TypeTalk

  • Automation?

Most significant new communication device is
Most significant new communication device is…

  • The mobile phone

  • …with SMS

  • Sidekicks, Blackberry, etc. – extremely popular

Computing assistance
Computing Assistance

  • Translators

    • Speech to sign

    • Sign to speech

      • Gesture recognition

    • Need sign language grammars

  • Video phones

  • Word processors (Write This Way)

  • Speech training (Speech Viewer, IBM)

Speech conversation
Speech & Conversation

  • Conversation is “a dialogue in which the one taking breath is called the listener”

  • 150 words/minute

  • High-speed input for people with limited manual dexterity

    • Predictive interface, stored phrases, iconic boards

  • Chat

Input techniques
Input Techniques

  • Word boards

  • Switch input

  • Scanning techniques

  • Predictive input

Speech synthesis
Speech Synthesis

  • Quality of synthetic speech

  • Similarity to human speech

Cognitive impairments
Cognitive Impairments

  • Memory

  • Perception

  • Problem-solving

  • Learning impairments

    • redundant input-output, motivation

  • Language impairments

    • dyslexia (spelling corrector)

    • aphasia (symbolic languages)

  • Everyday impairments - in-place information

  • Writing Home

Impaired mental capabilities
Impaired Mental Capabilities

  • Memory

    • Short or long term, recall and recognition

  • Perception

    • Attention, discriminating sensory input

  • Problem Solving

    • Recognizing the problem, implementing solutions and evaluation

  • Concepts

    • Generalizing, skill development

Common causes
Common Causes

  • Learning disability

  • Head injury or stroke

  • Alzheimer’s

  • Dementia

Design guidelines
Design Guidelines

  • Input / Interface Control

    • ex: touchpad, prompts and menus

  • Presentation Format

    • ex: blank space to focus attention

  • Informational Content and Prompting

    • ex: match vocabulary level to user

Learning impairment
Learning Impairment

  • Infinite patience

  • Risk-free environment

  • Accommodate cognitive impairment

  • Motivate

Who are older people
Who are older people?

  • People who have been alive for longer

  • That’s about all they have in common

Potential declining abilities
Potential Declining Abilities

  • Physical

  • Sensory

  • Cognition

    • Cognitive ageing

    • Retrospective memory

  • Computing no longer limited to the workplace

Assistive uses
Assistive Uses

  • Sensory aids

  • Memory aids

  • Mobile emergency alerts

  • Information access

    • ThirdAge (www.thirdage.com)

  • Social communication

    • SeniorNet (www.seniornet.com)

Universal design principles1
Universal design principles

  • equitable use

  • flexibility in use

  • simple and intuitive to use

  • perceptible information

  • tolerance for error

  • low physical effort

  • size and space for approach and use


Guideline summary
Guideline summary


Direct brain interfaces


Direct Brain Interfaces

Melody Moore

Computer Information Systems Dept.

What is a direct brain computer interface


What is a Direct Brain-Computer Interface?

… a system that captures signals directly from the human brain, providing a channel to control computers and other devices.

The GSU BrainLab Mission

is to pioneer real-world applications research for biometric technologies to improve the quality of life for people with severe disabilities, and to explore mainstream applications.

Brain signal detection techniques
Brain Signal Detection Techniques

Invasive: implanted electrodes (single neuron)

Noninvasive: scalp electrodes (EEG)

Neural internet
Neural Internet

  • Neurally controlled Internet Access:

  • Specialized web browser and email program

  • Uses:

  • communication

  • shopping

  • education

  • handling of personal finances

  • employment

Restoring motion neural prosthetics
Restoring Motion - Neural Prosthetics

  • Brain “re-learns” how to move limbs via an artificial

  • nervous system

  • Simulation

  • Virtual reality hand

  • Restoring Physical Motion

  • Robotic arm

The aware chair
The “Aware ‘Chair”

  • Integrated communication and environmental control

    • Intelligent, neurally controlled wheelchair

    • Conversation and environmental control prediction

    • Learns users habits and context

    • Provides emotional expression

Take home points
Take home points

  • Think about universal design principles – helps all users, not just disabled

  • Technology can help provide access and control of computer

  • Technology can also help people function better in everyday world

  • Solutions include wide range of physical and software solutions

  • Work with users!

    • You can’t understand what its like