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Tweaking user interfaces to match abilities, disabilities July 17, 2008

Posted by Rob LeFebvre in access.
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This is really good news. It’s nice to see the concept that people who have different motoric ways of accessing the world are valued enough to get computer access in a way that works for THEM, rather than in a way that works for the rest of people who aren’t as motorically involved. Keep an eye on this one, folks.

Tweaking user interfaces to match abilities, disabilities
Quite a few systems exist for disabilities like vision impairments, but not many options are accessible for people with motor impairments. The few systems that are available suffer from design flaws; most are still created based on the principle that the standard user interface is the best, so people with impairments must utilize specialized equipment to help them achieve an “average” level of usage. Other systems adjust the interfaces to a degree, but they are unable to change the overall organization of the user-software interactions.

Krzysztof Gajos, Jacob Wobbrock, and Daniel Weld from the University of Washington have been designing software systems that addresses the user-software interface problem. They presented their latest work at the 2008 conference of the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, where they described Supple , their most promising system.

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