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Re: Force Feedback Mouse for Blind Users (ref. Hardware for Bind Accountants) [2]

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@access.digex.net>
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 1998 12:11:34 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <199802121711.MAA24658@access5.digex.net>
To: chasser@immerse.com (Chris Hasser)
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org, bruce@immerse.com, evan@immerse.com, louis@immerse.com
to follow up on what Chris Hasser said:

> Current development efforts are focused on mainstream use, but I'd like
> to consider accessibility issues well in advance of product launch.  Thus
> this appeal for advice.  I'd be grateful for input in two areas:
> 
> 2. Suggested Strategies for the next year - people or organizations we
> could collaborate with, grants we might apply for, organizations or 
> softare companies that might put a prototype to good use (e.g. 
> developing valuable software or techniques), etc.

AG:: More warmup for WAI-UI:  Here is a blue-sky strategic plan.

We use force feedback as a pilot program to demonstrate how to do
adaptation with style.

The central step in this is the document-by-document or
user-by-domain profiling of force feedback effect classes to
interaction-plane-content classes.

A simple example of this is the concept of z-index in CSS2.  This
is a hidden but standard layer index associated with any content
that appears in the image plane of the display device.  One
class/class binding would be to emulate that the mouse has
climbed a small curb onto a new plane whenever the z-index of
what appears in that region is higher and the cursor transitions
into a new region, and vice versa for emulating a teeny step
down.

It is not reasonable to expect the creator of every architectural
drawing to think about the force-field styling of his/her
drawing.  Nor is it reasonable to expect the purveyors of the
mouse and its support libraries to understand all domains from
accounting to architecture.  Achieving an intelligent binding
reuquires some homework on both sides to come to a central 
meeting point, defined by the reference model for the binding
transaction.

Application domains such as architecture have data models as for
example in ISO 10303 STEP.  Very often these models are not
carried to the level where it is clear from the model what the
correct pecking order is in terms of relative importance of
different boundaries.  But that is what is critical in styling
drawings for usability.  The people who do road atlases for a
living have this knowledge and consider it proprietary.  But it
is this pecking order that constitutes enough domain analysis so
that a novel display effect such as force feedback can be bound
to existing content without a case by case analysis of the
document.  If the content is already classified so that it is
possible to detect by computation which context transitions are
major and which are minor, then an application-by-rule of force
feedback effects will be welcomed as a positive contribution.
Otherwise a nuisance.

The dream plan decentralizes the analytical work.  Or at least it
suggests that usability analysis of interfaces for use by people
with disabilities can be boilded down to rules which guide
force-feedback-effect-allocation patterns.

The key thing here is that it does not make sense to decide force
feedback coloration of graphical features one at a time, feature
by feature.  Style is achieved when there is a coordinated family
of force feedback effects and the profile of their allocation to
content class features makes sense as a system.

Al Gilman
Received on Thursday, 12 February 1998 12:12:01 GMT

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