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UAIS Tables of Contents: 01020304050607080910111213

Universal Access in the Information Society 7

Editors:Constantine Stephanidis
Publisher:Springer Verlag
Standard No:ISSN 1615-5289 (print); 1615-5297 (electronic)
Links:Table of Contents
  1. UAIS 2008 Volume 7 Issue 1/2
  2. UAIS 2008 Volume 7 Issue 3
  3. UAIS 2008 Volume 7 Issue 4

UAIS 2008 Volume 7 Issue 1/2

Adaptive course generation through learning styles representation BIBAFull-Text 1-23
  Enver Sangineto; Nicola Capuano; Matteo Gaeta; Alessandro Micarelli
This paper presents an approach to automatic course generation and student modeling. The method has been developed during the European funded projects Diogene and Intraserv, focused on the construction of an adaptive e-learning platform. The aim of the platform is the automatic generation and personalization of courses, taking into account pedagogical knowledge on the didactic domain as well as statistic information on both the student's knowledge degree and learning preferences. Pedagogical information is described by means of an innovative methodology suitable for effective and efficient course generation and personalization. Moreover, statistic information can be collected and exploited by the system in order to better describe the student's preferences and learning performances. Learning material is chosen by the system matching the student's learning preferences with the learning material type, following a pedagogical approach suggested by Felder and Silverman. The paper discusses how automatic learning material personalization makes it possible to facilitate distance learning access to both able-bodied and disabled people. Results from the Diogene and Intraserv evaluation are reported and discussed.
Evaluation of an experimental mainstream cellular phone feature to allow use by individuals with moderate to severe cognitive disabilities BIBAFull-Text 25-30
  Mary Sesto; Regina Nelson; Long Yan; Gregg Vanderheiden
This proof-of-concept study evaluated the ability of individuals with moderate to severe cognitive impairments to use a mainstream cellular phone that was programmed with two new experimental interfaces (Flip and Picture modes). Success in placing a call was measured following a brief demonstration or instruction in phone use and again after a brief distraction. Sixteen individuals with Mini-Mental State Examination scores ranging from 6 to 19 (mean= 12.31, SD=4.39) participated. The success rate using the Standard dialing mode was 12.5% during the instruction phase and 6.3% in the carryover phase. The Flip mode resulted in a 100% success rate for both the Instruction and Carryover phases; the Picture mode resulted in a 100% success rate in the Instruction phase and 81.3% success rate during Carryover phase. A potential application of this work is that mainstream cellular phones could be designed to include a simple feature that would make them usable by people with moderate to severe cognitive disabilities.
A systematic examination of universal design resources: part 1, heuristic evaluation BIBAFull-Text 31-54
  Chris Law; Ji Yi; Young Choi; Julie Jacko
This paper presents the evaluation of eight published Universal Design Resources (UDRs) to measure how effectively they support typical design processes and design psychology. New heuristics and principles to evaluate the UDRs from the point of view of designers who were universal design novices were created. Established methodologies for heuristic evaluation were used with the new heuristics. The evaluators found numerous problems in seven of the eight UDRs, providing evidence in support of the hypothesis that the content UDRs does not facilitate the design process and is not commensurate with what is known about typical design psychology.
A systematic examination of universal design resources: part 2, analysis of the development process BIBAFull-Text 55-77
  Chris Law; Ji Yi; Young Choi; Julie Jacko
In this paper, the development process of four Universal Design Resources (UDRs) was analyzed. The results of a heuristic evaluation (HE) of UDRs (Part 1) were used in this (Part 2) study to create an online survey. Thirty-one individuals involved in the creation of the four UDRs responded, 15 of whom were also interviewed. For three resources, the hypothesis was confirmed that meeting the needs of end-users was assumed to be satisfied without systematically addressing them. Additional findings also revealed a common lack of a clearly defined "central idea" among many of the committee members of two US-based ICT accessibility/UD guidelines.
An empirical investigation into the difficulties experienced by visually impaired Internet users BIBAFull-Text 79-91
  Emma Murphy; Ravi Kuber; Graham McAllister; Philip Strain; Wai Yu
In this paper, an empirical based study is described which has been conducted to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by the visually impaired community when accessing the Web. The study, involving 30 blind and partially sighted computer users, has identified navigation strategies, perceptions of page layout and graphics using assistive devices such as screen readers. Analysis of the data has revealed that current assistive technologies impose navigational constraints and provide limited information on web page layout. Conveying additional spatial information could enhance the exploration process for visually impaired Internet users. It could also assist the process of collaboration between blind and sighted users when performing web-based tasks. The findings from the survey have informed the development of a non-visual interface, which uses the benefits of multimodal technologies to present spatial and navigational cues to the user.
Non-visual interaction with graphs assisted with directional-predictive sounds and vibrations: a comparative study BIBAFull-Text 93-102
  Tatiana Evreinova; Grigori Evreinov; Roope Raisamo; Leena Vesterinen
Blind and visually impaired students need special educational and developmental tools to allow them to interact with graphic entities on PDA and desktop platforms. In previous research, stylus movements regarding the hidden graph were sonified with three directional-predictive sound (DPS) signals, taking into account an exploration behavior and the concept of the capture radius. The results indicated that the scanpaths were by 24-40% shorter in length and task completion times decreased by 20-25%. The goal of the study presented in this paper was to measure and compare the subjective performance recorded with directional-predictive vibrations (DPV) regarding the subjective performance achieved when the hidden graphic images were explored with DPS. The study also aimed to find out which kind of feedback cues would require less cognitive efforts in interpreting their meaning. The prototype of vibro-tactile pen with embedded vibration motor was used to produce DPV instead of sounds. The performance of eight blindfolded subjects was investigated in terms of the number of both feedbacks used and the time spent to complete non-visual inspection of the hidden graphs. There was a statistically significant difference between the average number of DPS and vibrations and task completion time taken by the players to discover the features of hidden graphs being explored with different capture radius. The experimental findings confirmed the beneficial use of DPS signals in the task when cross-modal coordination should benefit the user in the absence of visual information when compared with DPV patterns.
Web accessibility awareness in search engine results BIBAFull-Text 103-116
  Myriam Arrue; Markel Vigo; Julio Abascal
The enormous amount of information available on the Internet requires the use of search engines in order to find specific information. As far as web accessibility is concerned, search engines contain two kinds of barriers: on the one hand, the interfaces for making queries and accessing results are not always accessible; on the other hand, web accessibility is not taken into account in information retrieval (IR) processes. Consequently, in addition to interface problems, accessing the items in the list of results tends to be an unsatisfactory experience for people with disabilities. Some groups of users cannot take advantage of the services provided by search engines, as the results are not useful due to their accessibility restrictions. The goal of this paper is to propose the integration of web accessibility measurement into information retrieval processes. Firstly, quantitative accessibility metrics are defined in order to accurately measure the accessibility level of web pages. Secondly, a model to integrate these metrics within IR processes is proposed. Finally, a prototype search engine which re-ranks results according to their accessibility level based on the proposed model is described.
Accessible design and testing in the application development process: considerations for an integrated approach BIBAFull-Text 117-128
  Gottfried Zimmermann; Gregg Vanderheiden
Accessible design principles should permeate virtually all phases of the application development cycle, using existing "best practices of software engineering" for accessibility purposes. This paper proposes a methodology for accessible design and testing that includes proven tools of software engineering, namely use cases and scenarios, to capture functional requirements. Guidelines developed through user testing and heuristics are made real using personas to exemplify accessibility requirements, reflecting a diversity of user capabilities and use contexts. For implementation and testing, test cases containing accessibility checkpoints are generated, based on the guidelines. Complementary to this methodology, expert reviews and user testing should be conducted for evaluation of the developed products and further refinement of the development process.

UAIS 2008 Volume 7 Issue 3

A camera-joystick for sound-augmented non-visual navigation and target acquisition: a case study BIBAFull-Text 129-144
  Tatiana Evreinova; Grigori Evreinov; Roope Raisamo
This paper presents the results of a comparative study of user input with a camera-joystick and a manual joystick used in a target acquisition task when neither targets nor pointer could be perceived visually. The camera-joystick is an input technique in which each on-screen item is accessible from the center with a predefined vector of head motion. Absolute pointing was implemented with an acceleration factor of 1.7 and a moving average on 5 detected head positions. The underlying assumption was that, in order to provide a robust input for blind users, the interaction technique has to be based on perceptually well-discriminated human movements, which compose a basic framework of an accessible virtual workspace demanding minimum external auxiliary cues. The target spots, having a diameter of 35mm and a distance between the centers of adjacent spots of 60 mm, were arranged in a rectangular grid of 5 rows by 5 columns. The targets were captured from a distance of 600mm. The results have shown that the camera input is a promising technique for non-visual human-computer interaction. The subjects demonstrated, more than twice, better performance in the target acquisition task with the camera-joystick versus the manual joystick. All the participants reported that the camera-joystick was a robust and preferable input technique when visual information was not available. Blind interaction techniques could be significantly further improved allowing a user-dependent activation of the navigational cues to better coordinate feedbacks with exploratory behavior.
Involving domain experts in assistive technology research BIBAFull-Text 145-154
  Meghan Allen; Rock Leung; Joanna McGrenere; Barbara Purves
Teams engaging in assistive technology research should include expertise in the domain of disability itself, in addition to other areas of expertise that are more typical in human-computer interaction (HCI) research, such as computer science and psychology. However, unexpected problems can arise when HCI researchers do not adequately plan the involvement of domain experts in a research project. Although many research teams have included domain experts when designing assistive technologies, there has been little work published on how to best involve these experts in the research process. This paper is a first step towards filling that void. Based on the authors' own experiences involving domain experts in research, as well as those documented in the literature, five types of domain experts and three broad roles that domain experts can play are identified, and five guidelines for their involvement are presented. This analysis will be useful to anyone in the assistive technology and universal accessibility communities, especially those who are in the early stages of conducting research in this area. It is intended to lay the foundation of best practices for involving domain experts in assistive technology research.
Evaluating a modified Google user interface via screen reader BIBADOI 155-175
  Barbara Leporini; Patrizia Andronico; Marina Buzzi; Carlos Castillo
This paper describes the progress of a research project aimed at improving the usability of web search tools for blind users who interact via screen readers and voice synthesizers. In the first stage of research, specific guidelines were proposed for simplifying the interaction with search engines for the blind. To evaluate these criteria, they were applied to Google user interfaces, by re-implementing the search form as well as the results page. Finally, the redesigned interfaces were evaluated through remote testing with 12 totally blind users. The results highlighted how Google, although already accessible, may be further improved in order to simplify interaction for people with impaired vision.
Social and community informatics: humans on the net by Gunilla Bradley (2006), Publisher: Routledge BIBFull-Text 177-178
  Iosif Klironomos
User profiling and virtual agents: a case study on e-commerce services BIBAFull-Text 179-194
  Giovanni Semeraro; Verner Andersen; Hans Andersen; Marco de Gemmis; Pasquale Lops
The main contribution of this work is the design of an application framework based on both conversational agents and user profiling technologies for the development of e-commerce services. User profiles are exploited by conversational agents to help customers in retrieving potentially interesting products from a catalogue. Three techniques were used for collecting data for a usability test: eye-movement tracking, questionnaire, and recording the user-system dialogue. The main outcomes of the experimental sessions are: (1) the dialogue capabilities of the agent facilitate the interaction between the user and the e-commerce site; and, (2) user profiles improve the retrieval capabilities of the agent. Finally, some limitations of the user profiling techniques adopted in the framework are discussed and a more sophisticated content-based profiling technique is proposed.

UAIS 2008 Volume 7 Issue 4

Universal access to technology-enhanced learning BIBFull-Text 195-197
  Andreas Holzinger
Utilizing Wiki-Systems in higher education classes: a chance for universal access? BIBAFull-Text 199-207
  Martin Ebner; Michael Kickmeier-Rust; Andreas Holzinger
Wikis are a website technology for mass collaborative authoring. Today, wikis are increasingly used for educational purposes. Basically, the most important asset of wikis is free and easy access for end users: everybody can contribute, comment and edit -- following the principles of Universal access. Consequently, wikis are ideally suited for collaborative learning and a number of studies reported a great success of wikis in terms of active participation, collaboration, and a rapidly growing content. However, the wikis success in education was often linked either to direct incentives or even pressure. This paper strongly argues that this contradicts the original intentions of wikis and, furthermore, weakens the psycho-pedagogical impact. A study is presented which focuses on investigating the success of wikis in higher education, when students are neither enforced to contribute nor directly rewarded similar to the principles of Wikipedia. Amazingly, the results show that, in total, none of the N= 287 students created new articles or edited existing ones during a whole semester. It is concluded that the use of Wiki-Systems in educational settings is much more complicated, and it needs more time to develop a kind of "give-and-take" generation.
Experience with usability evaluation of e-learning systems BIBADOI 209-221
  Andrina Graniæ
Progress in the field of e-learning has been slow, with related problems mainly associated with the poor design of e-learning systems. Moreover, because of a depreciated importance of usability, usability studies are not very frequent. This paper reports the experience with the usability assessment of intelligent learning and teaching systems which are based on TEx-Sys model and are intended to enhance the process of knowledge acquisition in daily classroom settings. The applied scenario-based usability evaluation, as a combination of behaviour and opinion based measurements, enabled to quantify usability in terms of users' (teachers' and students') performance and satisfaction. According to the achieved results, the main directions for interface redesign are offered. The acquired experience indicates that useful usability assessments with a significant identification of interface limitations can be performed quite easily and quickly. On the other hand, it raised a series of questions which, in order to be clarified, require further comprehensive research, the more so if the employment of universal design within e-learning context is considered.
Adaptive multimedia presentations enabling universal access in technology enhanced situational learning BIBAFull-Text 223-245
  Thomas Kleinberger; Andreas Holzinger; Paul Müller
Successful situational learning, with continuous media support, requires both sophisticated technological and appropriate psychological concepts to enable learners, independently of age, to easily access continuous media learning objects (CMLO), which must be properly adapted to their actual needs, demands, requirements and previous knowledge. Current technological approaches fail to cover all relevant aspects concurrently. For example, systems providing adequate media management either are insufficiently adaptable and learning management systems lack sufficient support for continuous media. This paper addresses three main issues: (1) an analysis of adaptive situational learning with continuous media, identifying the shortcomings of some current solutions; (2) outline of an integrated approach for adaptive multimedia presentations enabling universal access for situational learning; and (3) a description of the multimedia module repository (MEMORY) system implementing this approach, the basic idea being to define multimedia presentations as dynamic processes, comparable to a computer program.
Three scenarios on enhancing learning by providing universal access BIBAFull-Text 247-258
  Renate Motschnig-Pitrik; Michael Derntl
This paper presents three simple and effective technology-enhanced learning scenarios, specifically reaction sheets, cooperative writing, and self evaluation. These scenarios address universal access by providing web-based support and services with a potential for enhancing the learners' capacity of gaining access to both personal and technical resources. While the web as an open space tends to support experiential learning, its enhancement as a service to address the learners' intellect, social skills, and attitudes substantially depends on constructive interpersonal relationships and thoughtfully designed learning scenarios. The tree proposed scenarios aim to address these interpersonal and technology-related issues. A uniform description template is used for each scenario, including intent, motivation, conceptual model, and research context. This is complemented by reports on the authors' experiences with applying the scenarios in recent years and by qualitative and quantitative results from multiple action research cycles.
Computer supported collaborative learning and vocational training: adapting the technology to the learners' needs BIBADOI 259-272
  Margit Pohl; Markus Rester; Kerstin Stöckelmayr; Jutta Jerlich; Peter Judmaier; Franz Reichl; Eva Obermüller
The aim of the ECODESIGN project was the development of a course in sustainable product design. The target group are employees in the areas of product design, marketing or similar areas. Some learners from this target group have a low computer literacy and are, therefore, reluctant to use advanced forms of electronic communication. Collaborative learning has to be designed according to the learners' needs, taking into account that many participants of the ECODESIGN course have to get used to electronic communication. Despite this problem, a community of practice seems to result from the ECODESIGN course. Active tutoring was especially important to motivate learners and to constitute the community of practice.
Ubi-App: a ubiquitous application for universal access from handheld devices BIBAFull-Text 273-283
  Shameem Ahmed; Moushumi Sharmin; Sheikh Ahamed
Universal access from a handheld device (such as a PDA, cell phone) at any time or anywhere is now a reality. Ubicomp Assistant (UA) (Sharmin et al. in Proceedings of the 21st annual ACM symposium on applied computing (ACM SAC 2006), Dijon, France, pp 1013-1017, 2006) is an integral service of MARKS (Sharmin et al. in Proceedings of the third international conference on information technology: new generations (ITNG 2006), Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, pp 306-313, 2006). It is a middleware developed for handheld devices, and has been designed to accommodate different types of users (e.g., education, healthcare, marketing, or business). This customizable service employs the ubiquitous nature of current short range, low-power wireless connectivity and readily available, low-cost lightweight mobile devices. These devices can reach other neighbouring devices using a free short-range ad hoc network. To the best of the authors' knowledge, the UA service is the only service designed for these devices. This paper presents the details of Ubi-App, a ubiquitous application for universal access from any handheld device, which uses UA as a service. The results of a usability test and performance evaluation of the prototype show that Ubi-App is useful, easy to use, easy to install, and does not degrade the performance of the device.
Any time, any place: online advanced placement courses for high school students BIBAFull-Text 285-292
  Carol Shepherd
Increasingly, high school students in USA are participating in advanced placement courses. Unfortunately, this opportunity is not equitable across the country, as many students are unable to take these classes. By effectively utilizing technology, advanced placement courses could be offered to all students, in all countries, from all socio-economic groups. This paper discusses the benefits and possible disadvantages of students taking AP courses online. However, little research has been conducted in this area. There is a need for further research in the positive and negative aspects of online learning among high school students, particularly those taking AP courses.