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Special Access Technology Chapter 7 On-screen Keyboards
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  1. Special Access TechnologyChapter 7On-screen Keyboards Kristen Eklund & Jolene Hyppa Martin

  2. Introduction • Later chapters focus on individual areas of on-screen keyboard use • Our chapter introduces many terms relating to this topic • Uses terms standardized by the Common Terminology for Switch Controlled Software (ACE Centre, 1990) • These terms are shown initially in yellow

  3. Introduction • On-screen keyboards • Any keyboard displayed on a computer screen • Accessed using pointing devices or switches • Not just the “qwerty” keyboard • Floating palettes for drawing programs • Shortcut menus • Toolbars • Pull-down menus • Clip art menus • Specialized pop-up menus • “qwerty” keyboard displayed on the screen • And much, much more!

  4. Introduction • The items presented for selection by an on-screen keyboard are called a selection set • Items are also referred to as: • Cell • Key • Button • Selection set is also referred to as: • Grid • Setup • Window • Layout • When a scanning program is used, a highlighter indicates which item is currently available for selection

  5. Selection setsItemsHighlightingPrompts

  6. Introduction • Items in selection sets may be text or graphics or both • Items can be selected by: • Point and click • Dwell • Scanning and switch use • Goal is to enable user to use standard programs such as: • Word processor • Database • Spreadsheet • Drawing programs • Games • Email • Web browser

  7. Who might use an on-screen keyboard? • Early writers • People who have difficulty using a keyboard • Limited ROM • Poor fine and/or gross motor control, but able to use head pointing device (CP) • Good head control, but poor limb control (SCI) • Combination of physical and other problems • Impairments resulting in ability to use only one or two switches • Individuals with specific reading or writing difficulty • Helped by visual and/or spoken prompts • Word prediction

  8. Selection Set Design & Layout • Arranging the items in the selection set is an important consideration • Goal is to choose the best arrangement for client • Most programs offer many selection set options • Many of those that don’t can be changed by using selection set editor program

  9. Selection Set Design & Layout • Some options include: • QWERTY keyboard layout • Suitable for those familiar with this layout • Good for those who need access to all the keys on a standard keyboard • Confusing for young users & beginners • Unlike actual keyboard, little or no speed advantage of this layout in an onscreen format • Alphabetic layout • Better for young users and beginners • Always faster than “qwerty” for those familiar with alphabet, but not “qwerty” • Frequency of use layout • Easier & faster • Good for those with learning difficulties

  10. Selection Set Design & Layout • Word selection sets • Phrase selection sets • Graphics • Pictures • Symbols • All of these options may include synthetic or digitized speech prompts or other visual/auditory prompts to assist with selection

  11. Selection Set Appearance • Things to consider: • Size • Larger items may be necessary, but that decreases total item options • Item spacing • Items placed further apart may be selected with better accuracy • Shape • Items arranged in a single line • Items arranged in a grid • Items arranged in a flip chart • Items arranged in a custom design

  12. Selection Set Appearance • Frame Style • Square • Round • Button • Changing frame can be helpful to differentiate type or function of items • Color • Aid in visual discrimination

  13. Selection Set Appearance • Text Font • Lower case is preferred for young children • Simple upper/lower case for most adults • Rachel’s example in clinic class • Highlighting and Prompting • Visual • Customized foreground/background color or graphic changes • Avoid low contrast color combinations • Auditory • Helpful for those with visual, learning or perceptual difficulties • Bells, beeps other sounds • Digitized or synthetic speech • Speech MUST be synchronized

  14. Selection • Three methods of selection • Pressing the mouse button • Switch • Dwell (wait time) • Feedback of selection may be auditory (beep) or visual (flash on screen) • Selected by “pressing for action” or “releasing for action”

  15. Keyboard Actions • Send text • Word processing • Send graphics • Insert pictures or symbols • Cursor keys and control key combinations • e.g., bg Hello there bg (start and end of line) • e.g., bP is a print signal • Sticky keys • Control + letter (e.g., control + c = copy)

  16. Acceleration Features • Prediction • Most frequently or recently used words • Reduces number of selections while increasing the speed of writing • Abbreviation Expansion • Short abbreviation stands for longer word • Smart Punctuation • Automatically adds spaces after punctuation marks and capitalizes the first letter • Scrolling word lists • Lists of words beginning with each letter

  17. Computer/Program Control • These features improve speed and increase ease of use • Automatic startup • Save/load user settings • Open set automatically with application • Open application • Switch applications

  18. Speech/Sound Actions • Two types of speech • 1- digitized (recorded speech or sound) • 2- synthetic (computer generated) • Most programs have speech control to change voice, pitch, volume, etc. of speech

  19. Selection Sets • Selection set editor • Program for creating and changing settings • Instant editing • Changed automatically without editor program • Editor accessible by user • Special access to program to edit sets • Import text file to selection set • Load file and creates word-bank selection • Selection sets supplied and available • Ready-made selection sets

  20. Problems with Selection (mouse or pointing device) • Difficulty hitting small items on the screen • Accidentally selects items next to the intended selection • Can move the mouse, but can not operate the mouse buttons • Difficulty seeing the mouse pointer on the screen • Writing is slow

  21. Solutions to These Problems • Practice • Slow mouse speed • Increase spacing between items on the screen • Use another switch • Use dwell select • Increase the size, shape, or color of the mouse pointer • Onscreen highlights • Use acceleration tools, use frequency of use layout

  22. Learning to Use On-Screen Keyboards • Make it simple and fun • Start with large targets and gradually fade to smaller targets • Sample Programs for Learning • Living Books • Kid Pix (drawing programs)

  23. Programs Using On-Screen Keyboards • Most are suitable for the computer-literate • Many are expensive • EZ Keys for Windows ($1,000) • Each specialize in specific areas • (e.g., graphics, speech, writing, classroom)

  24. Other Programs • Wivik • Program designed for independent access without focus on speech output • EZ Keys • Designed for users with communication impairment because of speech output • Discover • Windows and Macintosh compatible

  25. Advantages of Programs designed for classroom use include: Low cost Text and graphics Restrict access to certain users Ready-made selection sets Programs for Classroom Use: 1- Clicker Inexpensive, compatible with all computer systems, designed for classroom use 2- Windows Switch and Point Inexpensive, effective, flexible Programs for the Classroom