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Re: Switches and Universal Access

From: Jonathan Chetwynd <j.chetwynd@btinternet.com>
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 2003 07:02:18 +0000
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
To: philip steven lanier <planier@u.washington.edu>
Message-Id: <9E42BA12-29E9-11D7-8013-0003939B5AD0@btinternet.com>

Steven,

I very much look forward to the time when more people (including 
Washington University) consider the wider population when authoring 
materials, this is the meaning of Universal Access, isn't it? Inclusion 
in the UK is coming to mean that people with severe learning 
difficulties have a right of access to higher education and university, 
for instance individuals are studying drama, and others art.  The 
Washington tapes are useful, they are not sufficiently inclusive IMHO.


you wrote:
>  The
> other site you discuss (peepo.com) is very unique in that it is
> *specifically* for online radio listeners who have severe learning
> difficulties and who use switches.

this simply is not true, our site was not written for switch users, or 
even with switch users in mind.
and if you visit the homepage http://www.peepo.com you'll find out we 
link to a broad range of topics, not just radio.

also you wrote"
> This means that the user often has to click 2-4 times per letter
and you suggest that switch users can do better than 1:26, this would 
be true of stephen hawking on specialist equipment, but not our users.
which sites do you know of that employ predictive technology?
perhaps you did not realise that you can type a letter, use your real 
keyboard, try it at the homepage, or any other.
It is an original concept, and works well for those that can use it. It 
is also intended to aid learning for those who don't have use of the 
alphabet. believe me its 1:26, really it is more like 1:36 + 10 as 
there are ~36 links per page 26 alphabet + 10 purposeful results....

However many don't have use of the alphabet, and we are still 
conceiving what method could be used to popularise and develop a mass 
consensus on what graphic might for instance represent 'humanities'

I do hope this does not appear over-heated, it is intended to strike a 
balance.

thanks

Jonathan Chetwynd

On Wednesday, January 15, 2003, at 08:44 PM, philip steven lanier wrote:

>
> Johnathan,
> A couple points:
>
> 1) I am not at all surprised that the videos on the DO-IT site assume a
> somewhat greater ability than the population you are describing.  Keep 
> in
> mind the audience for the videos.  I would assume that there are very 
> few
> individuals at the university level who have severe learning 
> disabilities.
>
> 2) To quote:
>> "To imagine the problems facing switch users consider typing an email,
>> that's 26 clicks for every letter or say 100 per word..."
>
> Most systems that use a switch (aside from those that use morse code),
> usually rely on scanning.  This typically employs a "divide and 
> conquer"
> strategy to select keys on the keyboard: A moving cursor highlights
> different parts of the keyboard, and as the user selects these, the 
> area
> of focus gets incresingly narrower until the user selects the key 
> he/she
> wants.  This means that the user often has to click 2-4 times per 
> letter
> (as opposed to 26 times), and the selection moves perhaps 5-10 times.
> (This is a rough guess, if anybody cares to correct me.)  Not to say 
> that
> this is at all easy or efficient, but I don't think it's accurate to 
> say
> that the typical switch user must click 26 times per letter.
>
>> "(predictive software could possibly help a little, though users might
>> have problems selecting words that were unfamiliar) now imagine you 
>> also
>> have a physical and or cognitive impairment."
>
> In my experience, predictive software can help *significantly* for many
> switch users.  The one case where it may not help, as you alluded to, 
> is
> the case where the user does not understand how to use the word 
> prediction
> software.  (I.e. the software is too complex for the user to learn.)
>
> 3) The issues with the sites you discuss are perhaps slightly more
> complex.  For one, I think the BBC site has some major *usability* 
> issues.
> Accessibility issues aside, other than for site indexes, a page with 
> 160
> links is rarely ideal.  The BBC site also has some major linearization
> issues (associated with the incorrect use of tables for layout).  The
> other site you discuss (peepo.com) is very unique in that it is
> *specifically* for online radio listeners who have severe learning
> difficulties and who use switches.  In fact, for most other audiences, 
> the
> site would be very unusable, and for many people with disabilities it
> would also have accessibility problems.  In this regard, I think it 
> could
> be useful to differentiate between a site such as this and another 
> general
> site that is "regularly check[ed]... for 'switch' accessibility."
>
>
> In any case, I do recognize that your ultimate question/issue was that
> "a switch site has been asked for" and you are considering how best to
> develop this.  Unfortunatly, I do not have the answer.  I did want to 
> try
> to clear a few things up, however.  I also hope that the links I 
> provided
> were helpful to those who had no idea what switches are and how they're
> used.  I will be looking forward to hearing what suggestions others 
> have
> regarding a site specifically for switch users, and I am also looking
> forward to seeing what solution(s) you come up with.  Keep us informed!
>
> Philip Lanier
> University of Washington
> Senior, Informatics
>
>
>
>
> On Wed, 15 Jan 2003, Jonathan Chetwynd wrote:
>
>>
>> Philip & Jukka,
>>
>> Our users* have severe learning difficulties. The video: 'Working
>> Together: Computers and People with Learning Disabilities'
>> http://www.washington.edu/doit/Video/wt_learn.html assumes a somewhat
>> greater ability. This applies to the other resources I viewed on the
>> Washington University site.
>>
>> To imagine the problems facing switch users consider typing an email,
>> that's 26 clicks for every letter or say 100 per word, (predictive
>> software could possibly help a little, though users might have 
>> problems
>> selecting words that were unfamiliar ) now imagine you also have a
>> physical  and or cognitive impairment.
>>
>> The BBC radio site: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/ has 160 links, last
>> time I counted, think on this. try it out using a tab switch.
>> Now visit http://www.peepo.com/alfy/radio/b.html type a letter, or tab
>> through the alphabet. potentially 260 radio stations within 46 clicks.
>> Can someone else improve on this?
>>
>> The web currently offers very little for this community, and very few
>> every get paid employment.
>> We are still a very long way from enabling people with severe learning
>> difficulties using (adaptive) technology.
>>
>> thanks
>>
>> Jonathan
>>
>> *many of our users respond to concrete symbols, ie TV, 
>> microwave...most
>> recognise photographs of people they know(of) telling the time is a
>> significant achievement, as would 'simple' addition be, some follow
>> soaps, and many have special interests about which they know much. We
>> do have a few users who can read plain simple English in a ~20pt font,
>> and we intend to add the option of a text label to links at
>> http://www.peepo.com, this only allows 5 or 6 letters so has its own
>> problems. If you mouse over there is a tooltip, and the font size can
>> be set much larger.
>>
>> A switch site has been asked for, and we are considering how best to
>> develop this......
>>
>>
>
Received on Friday, 17 January 2003 02:00:49 GMT

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