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

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charlesn@sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 1998 10:38:48 +1100 (EST)
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
cc: Chris Hasser <chasser@immerse.com>
Message-ID: <Pine.SUN.3.91.980213103047.25618C-100000@sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>
Coupling Al's first and third points (below), if the force feedback mouse 
can give an indication of when the user is at the edge of the display, it 
could be helpful. The feature that may be even handier is the ability to 
expand the display to an arbitrary size. On my screen, I can open a 
window that is bigger than the screen, and then have to, as it were, 
position the screen over the section I want to see. A force-feedback 
mouse could identify edges of a window bigger than the one I could see. 
On the other hand, if it s possible to enlarge the window for ever, 
things will get lost. This is the value of being able to get around the 
display using a keyboard, which need not require a spatial model at all.

On the other hand, force-feeedback gives something to deaf users that a 
beep doesn't.

Charles McCathieNevile
Sunrise Research Lab
RMIT University

On Thu, 12 Feb 1998, Al Gilman wrote:

> 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:
> > 
> > 1. Useful Mouse Behaviours - Suggestions up to this point include
> > pulling the mouse towards text entry boxes and washboard-style 
> > grooves to aid the user in traversing the screen in a straight line.  
> > Many behaviors will be appealing both to sighted and blind users, but 
> > I'd be especially happy to add to our list behaviors that a sighted 
> > development team would be unlikely to think of.  Many effects are 
> > possible, such as attractive and repulsive vectors and fields, shapes,
> > boundaries, textures, damping, etc.
> 
> AG::
[snipped] 
> First, I suspect that blind users will be better off with an
> absolute frame of references for the motion of the hand.  The
> conventional mouse is differentially coupled to the display
> cursor.  A tablet or touch screen is "DC coupled" to absolute
> display coordinates.  I suspect that blind users will be better
> off if the sandbox you prepare for their hand to play in is one
> which tracks position, not just accumulates changes in position.
> 
> Second hypothesis: The tangible GUI approximates a touch-screen
> interface in resolution.  Don't try to put too fine a point on
> it.  This is the application class I think you are looking at as
> far as UIs for the blind and VI are concerned.
> 
> Third, I have a hunch that the real win from force feedback is in
> speeding up the process.  I think that you should not try to use
> force feedback to communicate minutiae, but rather to make the
> maintenance of global context easier.  There should be little
> speedbumps in spreadsheets, so you notice each colum or row you
> cross with bigger bumps at major blocks.  In fact the little ones
> may only be audible and the force feedback reserved for major
> divisions.  Make it so it is easy to move to a subregion of the
> interactive plane quickly and surely.  If force feedback means
> that your hand just knows where you are in the interaction plane
> without your eyes having to check, that is the real selling point
> for force feedback.
> 
> Al Gilman
> 
> 
Received on Thursday, 12 February 1998 18:55:44 GMT

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