HCI Bibliography Home | HCI Journals | About UAIS | Journal Info | UAIS Journal Volumes | Detailed Records | RefWorks | EndNote | Hide Abstracts
UAIS Tables of Contents: 01020304050607080910111213

Universal Access in the Information Society 11

Editors:Constantine Stephanidis
Dates:2012
Volume:11
Publisher:Springer Verlag
Standard No:ISSN 1615-5289 (print); 1615-5297 (electronic)
Papers:34
Links:Table of Contents
  1. UAIS 2012-03 Volume 11 Issue 1
  2. UAIS 2012-06 Volume 11 Issue 2
  3. UAIS 2012-08 Volume 11 Issue 3
  4. UAIS 2012-11 Volume 11 Issue 4

UAIS 2012-03 Volume 11 Issue 1

Editorial

Intergenerational context as an emphasis for design BIBFull-TextHTML 1-5
  Dave Harley; Frank Vetere

Long Papers

The firekeepers: aging considered as a resource BIBAFull-Text 7-15
  John M. Carroll; Gregorio Convertino
Technology can improve the quality of life for elderly persons by supporting and facilitating the unique leadership roles that elderly play in groups, communities, and other organizations. Elderly people are often organizational firekeepers. They maintain community memory, pass on organizational practices, and ensure social continuity. This paper reports studies of several essential community roles played by elderly community members -- including the role of volunteer community webmaster -- and describes two positive design projects that investigated how technology can support new kinds of social endeavors and contributions to society by elderly citizens. Finally, the paper speculates on the utility of intergenerational teams in strengthening society's workforce.
Come play with me: designing technologies for intergenerational play BIBAFull-Text 17-29
  Hilary Davis; Frank Vetere; Martin Gibbs
Despite research showing that interaction between the elderly and young people is beneficial to the health and well-being of both, little is known about the grandparent-grandchild relationship. Consequently, it is difficult to make informed design decisions about technologies to support their intergenerational interactions. This paper investigates one particularly important type of intergenerational interaction, namely play. The paper presents research that examines grandparent-grandchildren interactions in preschool playgroups. Through the use of vignettes drawn from observation of playful activity, pertinent features of intergenerational play are identified, focussing on the roles grandparents and grandchildren use when playing together. The results are relevant to researchers wishing to understand intergenerational play and to technology designers wanting to support it.
Shades of lightweight: supporting cross-generational communication through home messaging BIBAFull-Text 31-43
  Siân E. Lindley
Previous work suggests that older adults view communication with family as being worthy of time and dedication, and that they fail to understand the allure of lightweight contact. This paper presents findings from a field trial in which three generations of a family were linked through situated messaging devices, which, while designed to support lightweight messaging, also afford rich and expressive contact. Analysis suggests that communication via the devices provided a valuable additional dimension to the families' existing practices, but that the type of messaging supported is best understood as one element in an amalgam of communication possibilities. Suggestions for complementary approaches are offered.
Console gaming across generations: exploring intergenerational interactions in collocated console gaming BIBAFull-Text 45-56
  Amy Voida; Saul Greenberg
In this paper, we examine the intergenerational gaming practices of four generations of console gamers, from ages 3 to 83 and, in particular, the roles that gamers of different generations take on when playing together in groups. Our data highlight the extent to which existing gaming technologies support interactions within collocated intergenerational groups, and our analysis reveals a more generationally flexible suite of roles in these computer-mediated interactions than have been documented by previous studies of more traditional collocated, intergenerational interactions. Finally, we offer implications for game designers who wish to make console games more accessible to intergenerational groups.
Designing for collaboration: a study in intergenerational social game design BIBAFull-Text 57-65
  Jan Derboven; Mieke Van Gils; Dirk De Grooff
This paper presents a study of a computer game designed for the elderly, allowing them to train their memory while playing the game. The game supports both a single-player and a multiplayer mode, in which the elderly can play with their friends or family using an embedded video chat application. The main question that is addressed in this paper is how the elderly gamers' experience is influenced by the possibility to communicate directly with the other players. The study presents a comparison of the game experience and appreciation of older users and their (grand)children playing the game together, with or without the video chat application. Most importantly, the study shows that the added value of video chat is not limited to social contact, but that it also provides opportunities for the younger generation to assist the elderly during the game. In conclusion, the paper points out some intergenerational game design implications, and some future research suggestions.
Photo-based narratives as communication mediators between grandparents and their children and grandchildren living abroad BIBAFull-Text 67-84
  V. M. González; N. Jomhari; S. H. Kurniawan
Media-sharing Web sites are facilitating modern versions of storytelling activities. This study investigates the use of photo-based narratives to support young parents who are geographically separated from their aging parents to share stories about their young children. The case analyses Malaysian young mothers living in the UK, communicating regularly with their families back home, sharing experiences living in another country, looking for parenting advice, and opening opportunities for sharing the life and development of their young children. Sixteen families participated in the study by providing access to their social networking and web spaces and participating in exercises for creating photo stories. We identified the characteristics of the mediating system serving to establish the contact between grandparents and grandchildren as well as the characteristics of the photo stories and the practices around sharing them.
Atlas.txt: exploring linguistic grounding techniques for communicating spatial information to blind users BIBAFull-Text 85-98
  Kavita E. Thomas; Somayajulu Sripada
This paper describes exploratory research into automatically describing geo-referenced information to blind people. The goal is to produce texts giving an overview of the spatial layout, and a central concern of such texts is that they employ an appropriate linguistic reference frame which enables blind hearers to ground the information. The research presented in this paper was based on two hypotheses: (1) directly perceivable reference frames are easier to ground and (2) spatial descriptions drawn from composite reference frame systems composed of more than one reference frame are easier to ground. An experiment exploring text comprehension on a range of texts employing different reference frame systems is presented. The main results indicate that the second hypothesis is supported. A prototype of a natural language generation system, which generates texts describing geo-referenced information from data, is described.

UAIS 2012-06 Volume 11 Issue 2

Review Paper

The Easyline+ project: evaluation of a user interface developed to enhance independent living of elderly and disabled people BIBAFull-Text 99-112
  Rich Picking; Alexia Robinet; John McGinn
This paper reports the usability evaluation of interfaces developed to enable elderly and disabled people interact remotely with kitchen appliances in the home to enhance their independent living. A number of evaluation exercises were undertaken throughout the project's development, including user-participative workshops and focus groups. This paper focuses on the summative usability evaluation exercise, which comprised a laboratory-based study in a simulated home environment, with a view to determining the appropriateness of employing this approach with potentially vulnerable participants. The study involved 27 participants interacting with the user interface. Their behaviour was observed and recorded, and their interaction with the system was analysed. They were also given a post-session questionnaire, where their opinions of the usability of the interface were solicited. The results of the usability testing were positive, and insight has been gained into how products of this nature can be further improved. The experience of conducting laboratory-based studies with vulnerable users was positive and led to propose in this paper a set of guidelines for future work in evaluating usability for work in this domain.

Long Papers

An improved Web search engine for visually impaired users BIBAFull-Text 113-124
  Yi-Fan Yang; Sheue-Ling Hwang; Bo Schenkman
The Google search engine was studied as a Web prototype to be modified and improved for blind users. A Specialized Search Engine for the Blind (SSEB) was developed with an accessible interface and improved functions (searching assistance functions, user-centered functions, and specialized design for the blind). An experiment was conducted with twelve participants, both blind and sighted, to verify the effects of SSEB. The performance was better with the SSEB than with the Google search engine, and the participants also showed higher satisfactions with the SSEB. Interface considerations for designing an accessible Web site for blind users are important. The users of SSEB could in the future be expanded to include most, if not all, visually impaired people, since the World Wide Web and all Internet resources should ideally be accessible to everyone.
Whom to talk to? A stakeholder perspective on business process development BIBAFull-Text 125-150
  Albert Fleischmann; Christian Stary
Although many organizations operate in a process-driven way, few members are skilled in specifying and developing business processes -- a skill that has become crucial for organization development, in particular to establish agile enterprises. This paper shows, on the basis of natural language constructs (subject, predicate, object) and communication patterns between actors (subjects), how individual members of an organization could contribute to coherent and intelligible process specifications. A language and tool supporting Subject-oriented Business Process Management (S-BPM) are introduced, allowing organizations to cope with strategic and operational challenges dynamically. As many organizations already work with BPM concepts and technologies, existing approaches to process modelling are also revisited with respect to representing natural language constructs and standard sentence syntax. Since most of them refer either to subjects, predicates, objects or to a respective combination, a roadmap can be developed for enriching existing modelling approaches. In doing so, organizations can benefit from stakeholder inputs for effective business process engineering re-using existing specifications.
Hybrid paradigm for Spanish Sign Language synthesis BIBAFull-Text 151-168
  Fernando López-Colino; José Colás
This work presents a hybrid approach to sign language synthesis. This approach allows the hand-tuning of the phonetic description of the signs, which focuses on the time aspect of the sign. Therefore, the approach retains the capacity for the performing of morpho-phonological operations, like notation-based approaches, and improves the synthetic signing performance, such as the hand-tuned animations approach. The proposed approach simplifies the input message description using a new high-level notation and storage of sign phonetic descriptions in a relational database. Such relational database allows for more flexible sign phonetic descriptions; it also allows for a description of sign timing and the synchronization between sign phonemes. The new notation, named HLSML, is a gloss-based notation focusing on message description in it. HLSML introduces several tags that allow for the modification of the signs in the message that defines dialect and mood variations, both of which are defined in the relational database, and message timing, including transition durations and pauses. A new avatar design is also proposed that simplifies the development of the synthesizer and avoids any interference with the independence of the sign language phonemes during animation. The obtained results showed an increase of the sign recognition rate compared to other approaches. This improvement was based on the active role that the sign language experts had in the description of signs, which was the result of the flexibility of the sign storage approach. The approach will simplify the description of synthesizable signed messages, thus facilitating the creation of multimedia-signed contents.
Effect of spatial reference and verb inflection on the usability of sign language animations BIBAFull-Text 169-184
  Matt Huenerfauth; Pengfei Lu
Computer-generated animations of American Sign Language (ASL) can improve the accessibility of information, communication, and services for the significant number of deaf adults in the US with difficulty in reading English text. Unfortunately, there are several linguistic aspects of ASL that current automatic generation or translation systems cannot produce (or are time-consuming for human animators to create). To determine how important such phenomena are to user satisfaction and the comprehension of ASL animations, studies were conducted in which native ASL signers evaluated ASL animations with and without: establishment of spatial reference points around the virtual human signer representing entities under discussion, pointing pronoun signs, contrastive role shift, and spatial inflection of ASL verbs. It was found that adding these phenomena to ASL animations led to a significant improvement in user comprehension of the animations, thereby motivating future research on automating the generation of these animations.
The uptake of Web 2.0 technologies, and its impact on visually disabled users BIBAFull-Text 185-199
  Andy Brown; Caroline Jay; Alex Q. Chen
World Wide Web (Web) documents, once delivered in a form that remained constant whilst viewed, are now often dynamic, with sections of a page able to change independently, either automatically or as a result of user interaction. In order to make these updates, and hence their host pages, accessible, it is necessary to detect when the update occurs and how it has changed the page, before determining how, when and what to present to the user. This can only be achieved with an understanding of both the technologies used to achieve dynamic updates and the human factors influencing how people use them. After proposing a user-centred classification of dynamic updates, this paper surveys the current state of technology from two perspectives: that of the developer, and those of visually disabled users. For the former group, the paper introduces some of the technologies that are currently available for implementing dynamic Web pages, before reporting on the results of experiments analysing current and historical Web pages to determine the extent of use of these technologies 'in the wild' and the trends in their uptake. The analysis shows that for the most popular 500 sites, JavaScript is used in 93%, Flash in 27% and about one-third (30%) use XMLHttpRequest, a technology used to generate dynamic updates. Uptake of XMLHttpRequest is approximately 2.3% per year across a random selection of 500 sites and is probably higher in the most popular sites. When examining dynamic updates from the perspective of visually disabled users, first an investigation is reported into which technologies (Web Browser and assistive technologies) are currently used by this group in the UK: Internet Explorer and JAWS are clear favourites. Then, the paper describes the results of an experiment, and supporting anecdotal evidence, which suggests that, at best, most users can currently reach updated content, but they must do so manually, and are rarely given any indication that any update has occurred. With technologies enabling dynamic updating of content currently deployed in about 30% of the most popular sites, and increasing annually, action is urgently required if visually disabled users are to be able to use the Web. The paper concludes by discussing some of the issues involved in making these updates accessible.
The accessibility of Saudi Arabia government Web sites: an exploratory study BIBAFull-Text 201-210
  Hend S. Al-Khalifa
This study is intended to provide an exploratory evaluation of Saudi Arabia government Web sites based on the Web Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 provided by the W3C. The results indicate that the Saudi government Web sites have made many of the accessibility mistakes as predicted. In the light of the study findings, this paper will present some recommendations for improving Saudi government Web sites, as well as discuss future implications.
Linking the lonely: an exploration of a communication technology designed to support social interaction among older adults BIBAFull-Text 211-222
  Chiara Garattini; Joseph Wherton
This article explores mixed methods data gathered from a pilot of a communication system prototype in the homes of 19 older adults over a period of 10 weeks. The system has been designed to enhance communication among both friends and strangers and has been developed as a possible tool to increase interaction in older adults suffering from social isolation and loneliness. The paper uses remote logging data to inform discussion of how such a technology was received and utilised over time in a home setting. Qualitative data gathered via entry and exit interviews, and weekly checkpoint calls were used to provide deeper insight into patterns and practices identified via the logs.
Empirical investigation on factors influencing the behavioral intention to use Facebook BIBAFull-Text 223-231
  Norazah Mohd Suki; T. Ramayah; Kee Ker Ly
There continues to be a gap in understanding of what makes an individual engage in Facebook use. This is the primary research question of this study. Social network research is a good place to begin. Hence, this research aims to investigate factors influencing the behavioral intention to use Facebook. Cross-sectional data were collected from 200 respondents through a survey. Data were then analyzed by means of multiple regression analysis. The findings verified the research hypotheses and confirmed that perceived enjoyment, perceived ease of use, and perceived usefulness all impact attitude toward continuance intention of Facebook. This paper provides some insights into how practitioners could better develop Facebook site and enhances understanding of users' perception toward Facebook. Facebook developer should evaluate ways to improve perceptions of their sites on these dimensions. Facebook group should add more game zones and interesting features to boost up the number of Facebook users so that Facebook can maintain or achieve a higher position in social networking sites compared to others. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

UAIS 2012-08 Volume 11 Issue 3

Editorial

The Streitz perspective: computation is ubiquitous, yet must be designed for human use (a festschrift for Norbert Streitz) BIBAFull-TextHTML 233-238
  Daniel M. Russell
In many ways, embedded computation -- the increasingly common way of adding computers into everyday life and everyday artifacts -- is a natural outgrowth of technology trends over the past two decades. Adding computation is an easy way to increase the range of affordances and capabilities of devices, adding the ability to sense, cooperate, and support extended work practices and leisure activities. However, as Norbert Streitz has illustrated throughout his career, just adding computation to systems does not guarantee a successful or useful merging of capabilities. As this special issue points out (and as Streitz has argued many times), ubiquitous/pervasive/ambient computation must be carefully designed, with particular attention paid to the multiple and overlapping domains of human interest (cognitive, social, collaborative, and architectural). It is only by designing such systems with an eye toward actual use patterns, with an eye toward the behaviors of people who would use, inhabit and move through work and play, data and artifacts, that a clear "design for humans" trend become clear.

Long Papers

The next-generation business meeting: from i-lands to flexible meeting landscapes BIBAFull-Text 239-258
  Till Schümmer; Peter Tandler; Joerg M. Haake
Meetings are an important form of interaction in business settings. However, meetings are often not held in a way that makes all participants feel engaged. Meeting support systems try to overcome this obstacle by helping meeting participants in the meeting workflow. This paper takes a complementary approach by distinguishing between different perspectives of good meetings: the peopleware perspective, the generic groupware perspective, and the roomware perspective. It is argued that all these perspectives have to be considered simultaneously when heading toward an ideal meeting system design. The paper presents excerpts of a pattern language that empowers users to improve their meeting. Besides this, the pattern language can be considered as a tool for the designer. After showing, how both groups made use of the patterns, the paper finally presents LivingAgendas, a meeting support system that can accompany the meeting participant through the meeting life cycle.
Universal access to awareness information: using smart artefacts to mediate awareness in distributed teams BIBAFull-Text 259-271
  Carsten Röcker
This paper presents a set of design recommendations for team awareness systems based on fundamental social and technical requirements. The work was motivated by recurring usability problems identified in evaluations of state-of-the-art awareness systems. Based on these findings, it is argued that the limited success of existing systems is mostly caused by conceptual shortcomings, which can be overcome by adhering to a set of design recommendations elaborated in this paper. To demonstrate the validity of this argumentation, the development and evaluation of an ambient awareness system is illustrated.
Hybrid gaming environments: keeping the human in the loop within the Internet of things BIBAFull-Text 273-283
  Carsten Magerkurth
This paper discusses the issues and realization of hybrid gaming environments that allow human users to utilize ubiquitous computing technology in order to provide novel interaction experiences. The paper first discusses recent trends in human-computer interaction and the emerging application domain of hybrid gaming that is realized with tangible user interfaces and smart artifacts. Then, the field of hybrid games is discussed and analyzed in more detail through the thorough discussion of a conceptual model for hybrid games. Finally, the concrete realization of the hybrid game "In search for the Amulet" is presented as an example for the emerging field of hybrid games.
Interacting with mouse and touch devices on horizontal interactive displays BIBAFull-Text 285-294
  Christian Müller-Tomfelde
This article presents and discusses findings on collaborative interaction on horizontal interactive displays using touch and mouse input devices. Tabletop interaction environments are suitable for small computer-supported group collaboration, and usually allow for concurrent interaction by multiple users. The appropriate support of interaction on horizontal interactive displays is crucial to the successful design and adoption of digital tabletops for work, education and entertainment. A study was conducted investigating interactions of users on tabletops operating with mouse and touch input devices, and shedding light on the differences and commonalities from different perspectives. This laboratory study was designed to allow for as much ecological validity and to provide good experimental control at the same time. The study builds on the standard digital puzzle, or mosaic task, by adding a hidden or implicit task, for the participants to discover and work on. Without solving the hidden task, participants were not able to solve the primary puzzle task. This approach was chosen to trigger spontaneous and natural collaborative work amongst the participants in the lab setting. The analysis of the interaction is based on system-logged interaction data, questionnaires and observations focused on the participants' selection and usage of input devices during the task execution. The study revealed, amongst others, that participants did not change their initially preferred input device even when they became more engaged in coordination and communication with their partner during the course of the study.
Kawaii/Cute interactive media BIBAFull-Text 295-309
  Adrian David Cheok
Cuteness in interactive systems is a relatively new development yet has its roots in the aesthetics of many historical and cultural elements. Symbols of cuteness abound in nature as in the creatures of neotenous proportions: drawing in the care and concern of the parent and the care from a protector. We provide an in-depth look at the role of cuteness in interactive systems beginning with a history. We particularly focus on the Japanese culture of Kawaii, which has made large impact around the world, especially in entertainment, fashion, and animation. We then take the approach of defining cuteness in contemporary popular perception. User studies are presented offering an in-depth understanding of key perceptual elements, which are identified as cute. This knowledge provides for the possibility to create a cute filter that can transform inputs and automatically create more cute outputs. This paper also provides an insight into the next generation of interactive systems that bring happiness and comfort to users of all ages and cultures through the soft power of cute.
Modelling social translucency in mediated environments BIBAFull-Text 311-321
  Georgios Metaxas; Panos Markopoulos
This paper concerns social aspects of interaction with ambient intelligence applications that support awareness of activities and whereabouts of others. It introduces FN-AAR, an abstract model of such systems, which allows to model social translucence, an essential requirement for the social embedding and acceptance of such technologies. FN-AAR abstracts away from implementation concerns, modelling the information shared and the information that is observable by actors. The model allows describing and clarifying fine nuances regarding the concept of social translucence lending clarity to earlier discussions. It is argued that building systems that support this conceptual model will allow their users to specify and configure the disclosure and display of information in terms meaningful to them rather and relevant to their concerns.
Phenotropic and stigmergic webs: the new reach of networks BIBAFull-Text 323-335
  Gilles Privat
This article proposes a conceptual extension of sensor-actuator networks, taking in all "things" that can be sensed by sensors, or acted upon by actuators, in various physical modalities. These things become nodes of a web, graph, or virtual network overlaid on the existing sensor-actuator networks that make up the "Internet of Things". The paper explains how the broader concepts of phenotropics and stigmergy may account for the special kind of connections that these networks entail. Phenotropics refer to a model of communication between nodes by way of pattern recognition. Stigmergy refers to a model of self-organization that uses communication between entities by modifications of a shared physical environment. Phenotropic-stimergic webs "loop back" sensor-actuator networks by way of the physical world. Graph-based complexity models provide a means of analyzing the hybrid systems made up by these networks and the additional nodes attached to them in this way. The evolution toward such paradigms in the realm of network-to-environment interfaces draws upon a similar, long-standing evolution in the realm of human-to-information interfaces. The paper explores the consequences of these new networking paradigms on the architecture, management, and organization of networks. It also shows how these ideas can expand and enrich present-day applications of pervasive networking, by taking full advantage of the physical nature of the new end points of digital networks, and how they bear upon human interfaces to networked services, possibly opening up new territories for universal access.
Ubiquitous search for smart workspaces BIBAFull-Text 337-344
  Daniel M. Russell
One key goal of personal information management is to let users search all of their information assets easily. As knowledge workspaces evolve, a need to provide ubiquitous search services that allow the user to search anything, from anywhere, at any time becomes increasingly important. A key feature of the smart workspace is the ability to support this access to personal content. Here, several current systems that provide some of these capabilities are examined, and implications for future information access systems are derived.

UAIS 2012-11 Volume 11 Issue 4

Editorial

Universal technologies in ICT BIBFull-TextHTML 345-346
  Frode Eika Sandnes; Suzette Keith

Long Papers

On the usefulness of off-the-shelf computer peripherals for people with Parkinson's Disease BIBAFull-Text 347-357
  Miriam E. Nes Begnum; Kyrre M. Begnum
People who suffer from Parkinson's Disease face many challenges using computers, and mice are particularly problematic input devices. This article describes usability tests of standard peripherals for use by people with Parkinson's Disease in order to identify optimal combinations with respect to the needs of this user group. The results are used to determine their effect upon inertia, muscle stiffness, tremor, pain, strain and coordination and show that widely available equipment could significantly improve mouse pointer control for many users. The results reflect the diversity of challenges experienced by computer users with Parkinson's Disease, and also illustrate how projector-based technology may improve computer interaction without risking strain injuries.
An evaluation of web-based voting usability and accessibility BIBAFull-Text 359-373
  Kristin Skeide Fuglerud
Several countries are considering web-based voting as an alternative to, or a replacement of, traditional voting methods. It is argued that electronic voting could increase voter participation and help strengthen democracy, as e-voting would increase accessibility for large sections of the population, particularly with regard to groups that previously have experienced difficulties with the traditional voting setup. With a focus on usability and accessibility, this paper reports on a study evaluating several electronic voting prototypes in Norway, involving technical aspects as well as expert evaluation and user testing in the field, with users from a wide range of disabled user groups participating in the study. Technical testing regarding accessibility standard compliance, testing with the personas method and user testing revealed that many rather basic universal design principles were either not fully understood or not prioritized for implementation by the solution providers. However, despite various accessibility difficulties, the participants generally showed a positive attitude towards web-based elections. Through the findings of this study, the authors highlight factors that are important to consider in the development and testing of web-based voting systems.
Validating WCAG versions 1.0 and 2.0 through usability testing with disabled users BIBAFull-Text 375-385
  Dagfinn Rømen; Dag Svanæs
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) has become the de-facto standard for accessibility on the Web. WCAG version 1.0 has become significant both as a practical tool and as an academic set of principles and is presently the basis of Web accessibility evaluations and guidelines in many countries. WCAG version 2.0 was released in 2008. This paper reports on a study that empirically validated the usefulness of using WCAG as a heuristic for website accessibility. Through controlled usability tests of two websites with disabled users (N = 7) and a control group (N = 6), it was found that only 27% of the identified website accessibility problems could have been identified through the use of WCAG 1.0. A similar analysis of conformance to WCAG 2.0 showed a marginal 5% improvement concerning identified website accessibility problems. Compensating for the low number of test subjects with confidence tests gave results that were still low (42% for WCAG 1.0 and 49% for WCAG 2.0, with 95% confidence). It is concluded from this that the application of WAI accessibility guidelines is not sufficient to guarantee website accessibility. It is recommended that future versions of the accessibility guidelines should be based on empirical data and validated empirically and that WAI expand their definition of accessibility to include "usability for all" in accordance with ISO 9241-171:2008.
Universal life: the use of virtual worlds among people with disabilities BIBAFull-Text 387-398
  Kel Smith
With their emphasis on 3D graphics and complex interface controls, it would appear that virtual worlds have little to offer to people with disabilities. On the contrary, multi-user virtual environments, such as Linden Lab's Second Life platform, serve as a form of augmented reality where users transcend physiological or cognitive challenges to great social and therapeutic benefit. A number of intriguing developments exist within the accessibility sector, making barrier-free access an important aspect of the interaction experience. Examples include haptic input devices for the blind, virtual regions developed according to Universal Design principles, communities dedicated to people with cognitive disorders, the use of the avatar as counselor, and customizable personae that either transcend or represent a disabled person's self-identity. This paper investigates research methods and case studies affiliated with virtual environments, as well as the ways inclusive design removes barriers to access for users with disabilities.
Providing accessibility to blind people using GIS BIBAFull-Text 399-407
  H. Fernandes; N. Conceição; H. Paredes
In everyday life, people need to move, whether in business or leisure. Navigation requires spatial knowledge and ability to make decisions based on geographic information. Recently, powerful tools have been developed, enhancing the capabilities of geographical analysis and decision-making. This work presents a platform to handle and provide geographic information, including accessibility oriented features. This geographic information system (GIS) is part of a wider project, called SmartVision. The aim of this project is to create a system that allows blind users to navigate in the University of TrĂ¡os-Montes and Alto Douro campus. The GIS platform, together with other modules of the SmartVision system prototype, provides information to blind users, assisting their navigation and giving alerts of nearby points-of-interest or obstacles. Together with the GIS platform, this paper also describes the handling of accessibility information by the SmartVision prototype, namely the Navigation Module, the Computer Vision Module and the Interface Module.
Eye-blink detection system for human-computer interaction BIBAFull-Text 409-419
  Aleksandra Królak; Pawel Strumillo
A vision-based human-computer interface is presented in the paper. The interface detects voluntary eye-blinks and interprets them as control commands. The employed image processing methods include Haar-like features for automatic face detection, and template matching based eye tracking and eye-blink detection. Interface performance was tested by 49 users (of which 12 were with physical disabilities). Test results indicate interface usefulness in offering an alternative mean of communication with computers. The users entered English and Polish text (with average time of less than 12s per character) and were able to browse the Internet. The interface is based on a notebook equipped with a typical web camera and requires no extra light sources. The interface application is available on-line as open-source software.
Making touch-based kiosks accessible to blind users through simple gestures BIBAFull-Text 421-431
  Frode Eika Sandnes; Tek Beng Tan
Touch-based interaction is becoming increasingly popular and is commonly used as the main interaction paradigm for self-service kiosks in public spaces. Touch-based interaction is known to be visually intensive, and current non-haptic touch-display technologies are often criticized as excluding blind users. This study set out to demonstrate that touch-based kiosks can be designed to include blind users without compromising the user experience for non-blind users. Most touch-based kiosks are based on absolute positioned virtual buttons which are difficult to locate without any tactile, audible or visual cues. However, simple stroke gestures rely on relative movements and the user does not need to hit a target at a specific location on the display. In this study, a touch-based train ticket sales kiosk based on simple stroke gestures was developed and tested on a panel of blind and visually impaired users, a panel of blindfolded non-visually impaired users and a control group of non-visually impaired users. The tests demonstrate that all the participants managed to discover, learn and use the touch-based self-service terminal and complete a ticket purchasing task. The majority of the participants completed the task in less than 4 min on the first attempt.