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Re: touchscreens and interactive whiteboards

From: Matthew Smith <matt@kbc.net.au>
Date: Wed, 09 Apr 2003 17:33:57 +0930
Message-ID: <3E93D3ED.6020009@kbc.net.au>
To: Jonathan Chetwynd <j.chetwynd@btinternet.com>
CC: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Jonathan, All

> Does anyone know how touchscreens and interactive whiteboards activate 
> onclick and onmouseover events?

I have had some experience developing a kiosk application with 
Microtouch (now 3M Touch Systems) touch screens.  Since I knew HTML and 
didn't have the time to learn another <abbr title="User 
Interface">UI</abbr>, I used Mozilla with all the window decoration and 
controls turned off, running under a minimal XFree86 installation.

A light touch corresponded activated onMouseOver events and a sharp tap 
acted as a click.  However, the system was anyting but Accessible and 
has left me slighly wary of ( touch screens + Web browser ) in an 
Assistive Technologies context, at least with casual use.

Although the tests were with a technically able-bodied sample, many 
people had a job using the system, at least until they had developed the 
"knack".  If I worked my events using onMouseOver, they would tap too 
hard and the event would be ignored; operating a standard link (no 
JavaScript handlers) soon found the people who didn't tap hard enough.

Touch screens can also be problematic for anyone with motor/coordination 

My final solution to the problem with my kiosks (on which I am still 
working), is to go with the touchscreen (whichever event handler you 
choose), but to pass the data as XML, translating to XHTML for the 
screen with an option to translate to SABLE (a voice XML) for speech 
output.  The alternate input device will be either the EZ interface or 
something similar, probably providing accesskey events.

Hope this helps.



Matthew Smith
IT Consultant - KBC, South Australia
KBC Web Site    http://www.kbc.net.au
PGP Public Key  http://gpg.mss.cx
Received on Wednesday, 9 April 2003 04:04:16 UTC

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