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RE: internet access via a touch screen

From: Joe Roeder <Jroeder@nib.org>
Date: Tue, 3 Feb 1998 12:25:17 -0500
Message-ID: <C039498D996AD1118DAC0060083DB35401E77A2C@NIB-NT>
To: "Banham, Leigh, BANHAMJL" <banhamjl@btlip13.bt.co.uk>
Cc: WC3-WAI-IG <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
> Leigh Banham wrote:
>Does anyone have any thoughts on ways around the web access
difficulties >which arise when using a touch screen (without a physical
keyboard).  In this >case much of the content which will be accessed via
the touch screen will >not be designed for a touch environment.  I would
welcome any advice on the >usability issues I am likely to face i.e.
scrolling, accurately selecting >hypertext links etc. as well as
information about methods of 'doctoring' web >pages as they are accessed
for the touch environment. 

A few years ago I spoke with someone who had developed a visitor's
information display that was designed for accessability.  This was a
sort of pedastal that housed a pc and would be installed in large public
buildings.  It included a  touch screen operation that worked, as I
recall, something like this:

When a visitor approached the display, there was a screen divided into 4
or 6 equal rectangles and a recorded message that described the
operation.  the visitor was invited to touch the upper left rectangle to
switch to accessable mode.  The accessable mode then used a combination
of large print and voice recording that guided the visitor to other
display choices.  A blind visitor could , for example, press the left
center of the screen or the bottom right of the screen to hear about
another selection.

Basically there were two modes, one for persons with normal vision and
one for persons blind or visually impaired.  With the latter mode, the
voice explained each screen and which part of the screen to press for
other choices.  The demo I tried worked very well for a blind user.  I
would think for web site design, you could do something similar.

Alternatively, perhaps there is some way of letting the user know which
selection they have touched and asking confirmation before proceding.
This is more "hit and miss" for the blind user, but if the number of
choices are kept to just a handful,well-spaced and if the location of
the confirmation button is standardized, it could work.

Another possibility (which would not depend on built-in audio support)
is to design the screen is such a way that the mouse can always be used
to click on the touch spot.  Mose screen readers provide a keyboard
mouse that the blind reader can use, but there needs to be a text label
to latch on to the right location.

Hope this helps.

Joe Roeder
Access Technology Specialist
National Industries for the Blind
1901 N. Beauregard,  Suite 200
Alexandria, VA 22311
E-mail:  jroeder@nib.org
Voice:  (703) 578-6524
FAX: 	(703) 998-4217
Received on Tuesday, 3 February 1998 12:33:52 UTC

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