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UAIS Tables of Contents: 01020304050607080910111213

Universal Access in the Information Society 9

Editors:Constantine Stephanidis
Publisher:Springer Verlag
Standard No:ISSN 1615-5289 (print); 1615-5297 (electronic)
Links:Table of Contents
  1. UAIS 2010 Volume 9 Issue 1
  2. UAIS 2010 Volume 9 Issue 2
  3. UAIS 2010 Volume 9 Issue 3
  4. UAIS 2010 Volume 9 Issue 4

UAIS 2010 Volume 9 Issue 1

Long Paper

Applying qualitative content analysis to study online support communities BIBAKWeb Page 1-16
  Ulrike Pfeil; Panayiotis Zaphiris
With the increasing popularity of online support communities for people with disabilities and older people, the research domain of online communities is gaining more and more research potential in the area of inclusive design. There are many studies that investigate social interactions within online communities. However, researchers seem to apply a variety of different methods in very different ways. This makes it often difficult to decide on the appropriate method. In order to provide guidance to researchers in the area of inclusive design, this paper reviews past research in this area and presents a self-contained methodology that is based on qualitative content analysis for studying social interactions in online support communities for people with special needs. A case study from an online community for older people is presented in order to set the theory into context.
Keywords: Online communication; Qualitative content analysis; Methodology; Support communities
Accessibility and interoperability in e-government systems: outlining an inclusive development process BIBAKWeb Page 17-33
  Rodrigo Bonacin; Amanda M. Melo; Carlos A. C. Simoni; M. Cecília C. Baranauskas
The multidisciplinary nature of e-government demands a research agenda that includes issues related to social inclusion, universal accessibility, interoperability, privacy, security, and citizen participation, to name a few. Understanding the underlying cultural context, the involvement of citizens in the proposal and evaluation of services, and the promotion of quality in use are aspects that need special consideration in the development of systems to support government. This paper provides an outline for a process model for promoting the identification and specification of accessible e-government services with the participation of the interested parties. A socially shared perspective is adopted toward the comprehension of the involved problems and the elaboration of potential solutions. The proposed model is a result of practice in the domain, using organizational semiotics artifacts to stimulate participation and discussion.
Keywords: e-Government; Accessibility; Interoperability; Organizational semiotics; Participatory design; Process model
Managing accessibility in local e-government websites through end-user development: a case study BIBAKWeb Page 35-50
  Daniela Fogli; Sergio Colosio; Matteo Sacco
This work discusses accessibility problems concerning content creation and publication on e-government websites, and proposes an approach based on end-user development (EUD) techniques to overcome them. To deal with the huge and diverse amount of documentation to be published, content management systems (CMSs) are usually adopted in government institutions to support content creation by a large set of publishers, who typically have no competencies in information technology. This paper proposes the integration of EUD techniques in CMSs in order to limit CMS personalization and, at the same time, relieve publishers from managing the low-level details of content representation. To demonstrate the validity of the approach, a case study research has been performed by involving some employees of the Brescia Municipality in Italy. The results of the study confirm the positive impact of EUD techniques on content accessibility and publishers' work practice, and suggest their possible use in more sophisticated tasks.
Keywords: e-Government website; End-user development; Accessibility; Content management system
Accessibility and findability of local e-government websites in the Czech Republic BIBAKWeb Page 51-61
  Hana Kopackova; Karel Michalek; Karel Cejna
This article focuses on the accessibility of local e-government web pages. Accessibility is herein considered in a broader perspective, taking also into account that information must be findable within the Internet through conventional fulltext search engines. Based on this assumption, an analysis of 39 local e-government websites in the Czech Republic was carried out in two testing periods (March 2006 and April 2008). The web pages were analysed both from a citizen's point of view (with disadvantage due to disability or to technical equipment) and from the point of view of fulltext search engines. In the analysis of results, there is an overall evaluation and comparison between testing periods and recommendations for improvement of the current conditions.
Keywords: Local government websites; Accessibility; Disabled users; XHTML; Fulltext search engines
Re-fashioning fashion: an exploratory study of a live audio-described fashion show BIBAKWeb Page 63-75
  J. P. Udo; D. I. Fels
This paper presents a process and its analysis for live audio description of a fashion show that contained only music and no dialogue. The findings of this work suggest that using a content expert with a process that combines conventional audio-description techniques with colour commentary techniques to allow emotion and excitement, as well as description of the important visual elements, is enjoyable and entertaining for blind, low-vision and sighted audiences. Following the proposed process, about 60% of the content of the live show could be described in a timely manner. Finally, it was found that the describer added about three times as many descriptions from a prepared script as were omitted.
Keywords: Live audio description; Access to live content for people with vision impairments
GOMS analysis as a tool to investigate the usability of web units for disabled users BIBAKWeb Page 77-86
  Martin Schrepp
Guideline compliance is a necessary but not sufficient condition to guarantee the usability of web units by disabled users, since efficiency-related issues can be as exclusive for disabled users as violations to basic guidelines. This paper shows that Goals, Operators, Methods and Selection rules (GOMS) analysis, which is an established method in user interface design, can be adapted to evaluate the efficiency of interface designs for disabled users. As examples, several GOMS models for the interaction behavior of disabled users with web units are described, showing how such models can be used to answer concrete accessibility-related questions. Advantages and limitations of GOMS analysis are also discussed.
Keywords: GOMS analysis; Efficiency; Usability; Accessibility


A web accessibility assessment on the Texas public school system BIBAKWeb Page 87-96
  Shane May; Qi Zhu
As the World Wide Web becomes one of the main communication channels between school districts and their community of stakeholders, the need to provide equal access and equal opportunity to people with disabilities is no longer just an ethical issue, but also a legal obligation. This communication reports on testing the 1,117 entities within the Texas public school system using the Bobby Software. The results show that most of the web sites fail to meet the minimum required standards: Section 508 guidelines and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines priorities. Each violation is counted, a breakdown of the data is given, and finally a global approach for designing the web sites is proposed for the Texas public school system to enhance its web accessibility.
Keywords: Web accessibility; Web development

UAIS 2010 Volume 9 Issue 2

Long Paper

Accessible presentation of information for people with visual disabilities BIBAWeb Page 97-119
  Christopher Power; Helmut Jürgensen
Personal computers, palm top computers, media players and cell phones provide instant access to information from around the world. There are a wide variety of options available to make that information available to people with visual disabilities, so many that choosing one for use in any given context can often feel daunting to someone new to the field of accessibility. This paper reviews tools and techniques for the presentation of textual, graphic, mathematic and web documents through audio and haptic modalities to people with visual disabilities.
Understanding barriers to online experience for people with physical and sensory disabilities using discursive social psychology BIBAKWeb Page 121-136
  Natilene I. Bowker
Using social psychology, this study discursively explores barriers limiting the online experiences of people with disabilities. Twenty-one people in New Zealand with physical and sensory disabilities volunteered to participate in an online interview. Data demonstrated a disabling differentials repertoire (pattern), comprising four linguistic resources: negative reactions (when disability was disclosed), exclusion, gatekeeping, and disability costs. In addition to the technology alone, human values embedded in the construction of online technology, and participants' cultural competency, as well as stereotyped attitudes and economic factors prevalent offline, define and restrain people with disabilities' online experience. The social identity model of deindividuation is discussed.
Keywords: Users with disabilities; Barriers; Online experience; Accessibility; Social psychology
Note: This paper comprises some of the research findings of a Ph.D. thesis carried out in the School of Psychology, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.
Cognitive impairments and Web 2.0 BIBAKWeb Page 137-146
  Peter Fairweather; Shari Trewin
This paper illustrates how some of the human-computer interaction patterns associated with Web 2.0 can degrade the user experience of those with particular cognitive disabilities. It also shows how changes to computer technology often do not threaten accessibility directly and immediately, but, rather, indirectly, by spawning new user interaction patterns that compromise access. Web 2.0 interaction pattern technologies, such as mashups, dynamic page updates, social networking and user-created content demand specific perceptual abilities in addition to basic visual and auditory sensation. For example, computer users may have cognitive impairments that affect their abilities to group visual elements into patterns, recognize faces, build effective mental representations of perceptual or conceptual spaces, or retrieve linguistic representations during composition and comprehension. Because of these disabilities, they may find that certain forms of interaction associated with Web 2.0 diminish their access to this critical technology. Similarly, cognitive disabilities that disrupt social interactions may narrow users' participation in the socially intensive environment of Web 2.0. For areas of cognition that involve perception, social interaction, and critical supporting processes such as attention, the impact of Web 2.0 interaction patterns is discussed, suggesting potential solutions, design guidelines and research needs. The identification and description of the ways particular cognitive disabilities limit access to technology, particularly within the context of new, recently invented patterns of user interaction, underscores the need to extend Web design and development guidelines beyond the domains of sensory and movement disabilities. Designers and developers should learn to recognize how the different ways people think, learn, perceive, or plan can jeopardize access to computers in the same fashion as do the different ways they see, hear, or move.
Keywords: Accessibility; Cognitive impairment; Web 2.0; Technology change

Short Paper

What we know about dyslexia and Web accessibility: a research review BIBAKWeb Page 147-152
  Jacob E. McCarthy; Sarah J. Swierenga
Compared to the online interaction behavior of other users, little is known about the difficulties dyslexic Web users encounter online. This paper reviews existing literature at the intersection of dyslexia and accessibility research to determine what useful knowledge exists regarding this important and relatively large group of users. This review uncovers that, although there are few published usability tests with dyslexic users, there is a considerable body of knowledge on dyslexia as well as many design guidelines for authoring dyslexic-accessible interfaces. Through a comparison of existing accessibility guidelines for dyslexic and non-dyslexic users and discussion of the plain language movement, it is argued that dyslexic-accessible practices may redress difficulties encountered by all Internet users. This conclusion suggests that usability testing yielding a clearer profile of the dyslexic user would further inform the practice of universal design, but also that enough knowledge is already available to allow doing more to increase accessibility for dyslexic Internet users.
Keywords: Dyslexia; Accessibility; Disabilities; Usability; Interface design; Universal design

Long Paper

Developing multimedia interfaces for speech therapy BIBAKWeb Page 153-167
  Jennifer George; Paul Gnanayutham
Multimedia has been used creatively to entertain and educate, and can also be used for therapeutic and medical purposes. This paper addressed this issue by incorporating multimedia to design and develop an assistive device to help disabled children with speech impairments in mainstream education. The appropriate methodology for developing such an interface was investigated. Relevant multimedia, psychology, social and educational theories were taken into account. Based on this literature review, interfaces to enhance pronunciation were designed, developed and tested.
Keywords: Phonological disorders; HCI; Inclusive design; Assistive technology
Auditory universal accessibility of data tables using naturally derived prosody specification BIBAKWeb Page 169-183
  Dimitris Spiliotopoulos; Gerasimos Xydas; Georgios Kouroupetroglou; Vasilios Argyropoulos; Kalliopi Ikospentaki
Text documents usually embody visually oriented meta-information in the form of complex visual structures, such as tables. The semantics involved in such objects result in poor and ambiguous text-to-speech synthesis. Although most speech synthesis frameworks allow the consistent control of an abundance of parameters, such as prosodic cues, through appropriate markup, there is no actual prosodic specification to speech-enable visual elements. This paper presents a method for the acoustic specification modelling of simple and complex data tables, derived from the human paradigm. A series of psychoacoustic experiments were set up for providing speech properties obtained from prosodic analysis of natural spoken descriptions of data tables. Thirty blind and 30 sighted listeners selected the most prominent natural rendition. The derived prosodic phrase accent and pause break placement vectors were modelled using the ToBI semiotic system to successfully convey semantically important visual information through prosody control. The quality of the information provision of speech-synthesized tables when utilizing the proposed prosody specification was evaluated by first-time listeners. The results show a significant increase (from 14 to 20% depending on the table type) of the user subjective understanding (overall impression, listening effort and acceptance) of the table data semantic structure compared to the traditional linearized speech synthesis of tables. Furthermore, it is proven that successful prosody manipulation can be applied to data tables using generic specification sets for certain table types and browsing techniques, resulting in improved data comprehension.
Keywords: Data tables; Universal accessibility; Acoustic rendition; Auditory interfaces; Text-to-speech


An overview of web accessibility in Greece: a comparative study 2004-2008 BIBAKWeb Page 185-190
  Ioannis Basdekis; Iosif Klironomos; Ioannis Metaxas; Constantine Stephanidis
This communication reports on the results of a web accessibility audit of public Web sites in Greece. The audit was conducted in 2008 by the Human Computer Interaction Laboratory of the Institute of Computer Science of FORTH, in its capacity as the Greek National Contact Centre of the European Design for All e-Accessibility Network. In an earlier e-Accessibility study in 2004, that evaluated approximately 250 public and commercial Web sites in Greece, 73% of the sample failed to meet the most basic requirements for web accessibility (http://www.infosoc.gr/NR/rdonlyres/0B306F9C-A819-4F96-ABB1-A21945D1D2B3/1092/final_report.pdf). Four years later, in the context of a re-audit, a similar sample was examined for compliance with the same web accessibility standard (WCAG 1.0), as set by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium. The accessibility checks were conducted during the period from March to September 2008. A comparison of the results indicates that although new web development technologies may have been employed, instead of improving the overall status of e-accessibility, this has resulted in a serious deterioration in overall accessibility levels. Such findings -- 85% of sites failed to comply with Level A -- suggest that Greek Web sites are likely to present even more significant access barriers to people with disability than in the past. As Web Accessibility is poorly understood and, until today, new platforms have failed to deliver products that conform to WCAG, the need emerges for a concrete legislative framework to set accessibility specifications for all public Web sites in Greece.
Keywords: Web accessibility; Benchmarking; Accessibility evaluation

UAIS 2010 Volume 9 Issue 3


Designing inclusive futures BIBWeb Page 191-193
  Patrick Langdon; John Clarkson; Peter Robinson

Long Paper

Using disability data to estimate design exclusion BIBAKWeb Page 195-207
  S. D. Waller; P. M. Langdon; P. J. Clarkson
Exclusion auditing is a process that can quantitatively evaluate the inclusive merit of different products, or alternative design decisions. The results from such an audit can provide prioritised directions for product improvement and support the business case for reducing the capability levels required to use mainstream products. The 1996/1997 disability follow-up survey, conducted by the Office of National Statistics, is currently the most comprehensive data source for estimating design exclusion in the UK. In this paper, the data source is explained in detail, and a method is presented that uses this data to estimate the exclusion associated with several tasks that occur in series or in parallel, illustrated through worked examples. Having evaluated how many people are excluded, one can investigate why they were excluded, thus generating design insights into how they could be included. Data from the survey is also converted to a series of stylised graphs, which are intended to inspire designers to think about the relationship between the demands required to use a product and the resulting levels of population exclusion.
Keywords: Inclusive design; Usability data; Product assessment
Prior experience in the use of domestic product interfaces BIBAKWeb Page 209-225
  P. M. Langdon; T. Lewis; P. J. Clarkson
Interaction design and usability has focussed on instantaneous interaction, but the effects of prior experience are evidently important. Extant theories debate the nature of mental models or knowledge structures and their content, but less emphasis has been given to the effects of the various contributors to "unconscious" prior experience and their interaction with capability during real-time use of products. As a first step towards understanding product learning for inclusive design, this paper examines the role of prior experience, age and cognitive capability in individuals' performance with daily living products. Two microwave ovens were tested that had the same underlying functionality, but with the interface variations of dial or button control. The differences in performance were such that dials were found to be easier to use for both younger users and also those with higher cognitive ability. This was not related to prior experience as measured in a product knowledge questionnaire. However, it was possible that users possessed some degree of prior experience with specific interface elements and their use. Hence, in a second training-transfer experiment with DAB radios, participants were trained to a criterion of low error with a common base product to investigate the performance impact that subsequently resulted from switching to two further interfaces that varied in known interface properties. Transfer gave rise to a significant increase in time to complete set tasks proportional to the degree of difference. Small variations of interface function and appearance led to specific time-consuming misperceptions and trial-and-error exploration of interface functionality. Detailed error analysis further suggested the misapplication of specific sequences learnt with the original training. Both studies clearly indicate a general reduction of performance with increasing age and with reduced cognitive capability, but they also suggest that users were able to learn new interface sequences more effectively when they possessed higher cognitive capability. The results were not consistent with an interpretation in which knowledge-based mental models of the underlying functions of daily living products were dominating interaction effectiveness. They are, however, consistent with accounts of interaction that propose that in the absence of an adequate previously acquired mental model, users primarily resort to the application of skill-based or rule-based schemas to achieve task goals with everyday products (Freudenthal in Learning to use interactive devices: age differences in the reasoning process. Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, 1998; Blackler in Intuitive interaction with complex artefacts. Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, 2006; Langdon et al. in Univers. Access Inf. Soc., 6(2): 179-191, 2007).
Keywords: Inclusive design; Product design; Cognition; Training; Working memory; Learning
Policy development and access to wireless technologies for people with disabilities: results of policy Delphi research BIBAKWeb Page 227-237
  Paul M. A. Baker; Nathan W. Moon
This paper discusses the relationship between policy research and policy change, and it provides examples of the policy research outcomes informed by the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Mobile Wireless Technologies for People with Disabilities' (Wireless RERC) policy research process. In 2005 and 2006, the center conducted empirical research, using the policy Delphi polling methodology, to probe key stakeholders' opinions on the most significant issues surrounding the adoption and use of wireless communication and information technologies by people with disabilities. Drawing on the results of three rounds of polling, the Wireless RERC developed a set of policy options, and "fine-tuned" them using participating stakeholders from the disability community, wireless industry, and policymakers.
Keywords: Policy Delphi; Wireless technologies; Technology access; Assistive technology; People with disabilities; Public policy
Note: A preliminary version of this article was presented at the 2008 Cambridge Workshop Series on Universal Access and Assistive Technology (CWUAAT), held at Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge, April 14-16, 2008.
Accessible privacy and security: a universally usable human-interaction proof tool BIBAKWeb Page 239-248
  Graig Sauer; Jonathan Holman; Jonathan Lazar; Harry Hochheiser; Jinjuan Feng
Despite growing interest in designing usable systems for managing privacy and security, recent efforts have generally failed to address the needs of users with disabilities. As security and privacy tools often rely upon subtle visual cues or other potentially inaccessible indicators, users with perceptual limitations might find such tools particularly challenging. To understand the needs of an important group of users with disabilities, a focus group was conducted with blind users to determine their perceptions of security-related challenges. Human-interaction proof (HIP) tools, commonly known as CAPTCHAs, are used by web pages to defeat robots and were identified in the focus group as a major concern. Therefore, a usability test was conducted to see how well blind users were able to use audio equivalents of these graphical tools. Finally, an accessible HIP tool was developed which combines audio and matching images, supporting both visual and audio output. Encouraging results from a small usability evaluation of the prototype with five sighted users and five blind users show that this new form of HIP is preferred by both blind and visual users to previous forms of text-based HIPs. Future directions for research are also discussed.
Keywords: CAPTCHA; Blind users; Security; HIP; Universal usability
Designing technology to improve quality of life for people with dementia: user-led approaches BIBAKWeb Page 249-259
  R. Orpwood; J. Chadd; D. Howcroft; A. Sixsmith; J. Torrington; G. Gibson; G. Chalfont
This paper addresses the design of assistive technology that specifically aims to support an improvement in the quality of life of people with dementia. Starting from interviews with users, a grounded theory approach was used to compile a wish list of issues important for maintaining quality of life. A large list of potential technologies that could address these issues was generated, and four were selected for initial development: a music player, a device to reduce social isolation, a conversation prompter, and a device to support sequences of tasks. The music player and social isolation device are described in this paper in detail. A user-led approach to their design was followed, including approaches to finding control interfaces that were intuitive for people with dementia. The paper concludes with a list of recommendations for designers looking to develop equipment of this kind.
Keywords: Dementia; Quality of life; User-led design; Intuitive control interfaces; Music playing
Gaze interaction with virtual on-line communities: levelling the playing field for disabled users BIBAKWeb Page 261-272
  R. Bates; S. Vickers; H. O. Istance
This paper introduces the concept of enabling gaze-based interaction for users with high-level motor disabilities to control an avatar in a first-person perspective on-line community. An example community, Second Life, is introduced that could offer disabled users the same virtual freedom as any other user, and so allow disabled users to be able-bodied (should they wish) within the virtual world. A survey of the control demands for Second Life and a subsequent preliminary experiment show that gaze control has inherent problems particularly for locomotion and camera movement. These problems result in a lack of effective gaze control of Second Life, such that control is not practical and show that disabled users who interact using gaze will have difficulties in controlling Second Life (and similar environments). This suggests that these users could once again become disabled in the virtual world by the difficulties in effectively controlling their avatars, and their 'disability privacy', or the right to control an avatar as effectively as an able bodied user, and so appear virtually able bodied, will be compromised. Methods for overcoming these difficulties such as the use of gaze aware on-screen assistive tools could overcome these problems, but games manufacturers must design inclusively, so that disabled users may have the right to disability privacy in their Second (virtual) Lives.
Keywords: Eye gaze; Assistive technology; On-line communities; Second life; COGAIN
Understanding the use of tools for opening packaging BIBAKWeb Page 273-281
  A. Yoxall; J. Langley; J. Luxmoore; R. Janson; J. C. Taylor; J. Rowson
Various tools are available to improve the accessibility or 'openability' of packaging for those that may have potential difficulty. In this paper, the authors undertake an assessment of some of the common tools that have been designed to aid the aged in opening common packaging items with the aim of understanding their effectiveness. The study used a purpose built torque testing device embedded in a standard glass jar and asked participants to twist the lid of the device both unaided and with a tool and the maximum torque produced was noted. The study indicated that whilst some tools are effective, most however offer little or no benefit, as they do not overcome issues such as loss of dexterity and strength amongst the aged population.
Keywords: Packaging; Design; Openability
Designing spaces for every listener BIBAKWeb Page 283-292
  Ann Heylighen; Monika Rychtáriková; Gerrit Vermeir
Inclusive design aims at objects and environments that are accessible, usable and comfortable for all people throughout their entire lifespan. In architecture, this aim is usually associated with physical accessibility. Yet acoustic qualities may considerably impact usability and comfort as well, especially in spaces for listening. This case study explores the notion of acoustic comfort for all in the context of university education. One auditorium, situated in a historic building and subject to renovation in the near future, is studied in detail: acoustic obstacles are identified in collaboration with user/experts and are measured in situ; specific interventions are proposed in consultation with building professionals, technicians and conservation specialists and are tested using dedicated acoustic simulation software. The study draws attention to the importance of acoustic comfort for all and offers a first view of which solutions are possible and desirable and how these can be obtained.
Keywords: Architecture; Acoustic comfort; Inclusive design

UAIS 2010 Volume 9 Issue 4

Long Paper

Accessibility of audio and tactile interfaces for young blind people performing everyday tasks BIBAKWeb Page 297-310
  Yayoi Shimomura; Ebba Thora Hvannberg; Hjalmtyr Hafsteinsson
Increasingly, computers are becoming tools of communication, information exploring and studying for young people, regardless of their abilities. Scientists have been building knowledge on how blind people can substitute hearing or touch for sight or how the combination of senses, i.e., multimodalities, can provide the user with an effective way of exploiting the power of computers. Evaluation of such multimodal user interfaces in the right context, i.e., appropriate users, tasks, tools and environment, is essential to give designers accurate feedback on blind users' needs. This paper presents a study on how young blind people use computers for everyday tasks with the aids of assistive technologies, aiming to understand what hindrances they encounter when interacting with a computer using individual senses, and what supports them. A common assistive technology is a screen reader, producing output to a speech synthesizer or a Braille display. Those two modes are often used together, but the research studied how visually impaired students interact with computers using either form, i.e., a speech synthesizer or a Braille display. A usability test has been performed to assess blind grade-school students' ability to carry out common tasks with the help of a computer, including solving mathematical problems, navigating the web, communicating with e-mail and using word processing. During the usability tests, students were allowed to use either auditory mode or tactile mode. Although blind users most commonly use a speech synthesizer (audio), the results indicate that this was not always the most suitable modality. While the effectiveness of the Braille display (tactile user interface) to accomplish certain tasks was similar to that of the audio user interface, the users' satisfaction rate was higher. The contribution of this work lies in answering two research questions by analysing two modes of interaction (tactile and speech), while carrying out tasks of varying genre, i.e., web searching, collaboration through e-mail, word processing and mathematics. A second contribution of this work is the classification of observations into four categories: usability and accessibility, software fault, cognitive mechanism and learning method. Observations, practical recommendations and open research problems are then presented and discussed. This provides a framework for similar studies in the future. A third contribution of this work is the elaboration of practical recommendations for user interface designers and a research agenda for scientists.
Keywords: Learning; Blind; Multimodal; Audio; Tactile; Accessibility; Tasks; Usability
Making it easier for older people to talk to smart homes: the effect of early help prompts BIBAKWeb Page 311-325
  K. Maria Wolters; Klaus-Peter Engelbrecht; Florian Gödde; Sebastian Möller; Anja Naumann; Robert Schleicher
It is well known that help prompts shape how users talk to spoken dialogue systems. This study investigated the effect of help prompt placement on older users' interaction with a smart home interface. In the dynamic help condition, help was only given in response to system errors; in the inherent help condition, it was also given at the start of each task. Fifteen older and sixteen younger users interacted with a smart home system using two different scenarios. Each scenario consisted of several tasks. The linguistic style users employed to communicate with the system (interaction style) was measured using the ratio of commands to the overall utterance length (keyword ratio) and the percentage of content words in the user's utterance that could be understood by the system (shared vocabulary). While the timing of help prompts did not affect the interaction style of younger users, it was early task-specific help supported older users in adapting their interaction style to the system's capabilities. Well-placed help prompts can significantly increase the usability of spoken dialogue systems for older people.
Keywords: Spoken dialogue systems; Usability; Older adults; Smart homes; Help prompts
User-centered design in universal design resources? BIBAKWeb Page 327-335
  Chris M. Law; Paul T. Jaeger; Elspeth McKay
Studies have revealed usability problems with universal design resources (UDRs). In this paper, four UDR development cases are reviewed (Section 508 standards, Web accessibility guidelines, the British Standard on managing inclusive design, and Irish guidelines on public access terminals). Evidence of a user-centered design approach was found in only one case. The needs of people making universally usable products and services in industry are discussed in the context of the use of UDRs and results of organizational research studies. Nine recommendations are made on the development of user-centered UDRs and the setup and management of accessibility teams in organizations.
Keywords: Universal design resources; Guidelines; Standards; Usability; User-centered design
A unified methodology for the evaluation of accessibility and usability of mobile applications BIBAKWeb Page 337-356
  Marco Billi; Laura Burzagli; Tiziana Catarci; Giuseppe Santucci; Enrico Bertini; Francesco Gabbanini; Enrico Palchetti
This article reports a unified methodology developed to evaluate the accessibility and usability of mobile computing applications, which is intended to guarantee universal access as far as possible. As a basis for the methodology, this paper presents an analysis of the accessibility guidelines, conducted to take into account the specificity of mobile systems, as well as a set of usability heuristics, specifically devised for mobile computing. Finally, it presents the results of the application of the proposed methodology to applications that have been semi-automatically developed by the MAIS Designer, a new design tool that provides applications suited to different mobile devices.
Keywords: Accessibility; Usability; Mobile computing
Universal access in e-voting for the blind BIBAKWeb Page 357-365
  Juan E. Gilbert; Yolanda McMillian; Ken Rouse; Philicity Williams; Gregory Rogers; Jerome McClendon; Winfred Mitchell; Priyanka Gupta; Idong Mkpong-Ruffin; E. Vincent Cross
Since the inception of elections and election technologies, all segments of the voting population have never been granted equal access, privacy and security to voting. Modern electronic voting systems have made attempts to include disabled voters but have fallen short. Using recent developments in technology a secure, user centered, multimodal electronic voting system has been developed to study a multimodal approach for providing equity in access, privacy and security in electronic voting. This article will report findings from a study at the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind where more than thirty-five blind or visually impaired participants used the multimodal voting system. The findings suggest that the proposed multimodal approach to voting is easy to use and trustworthy.
Keywords: Electronic voting; Accessibility; Privacy; Blind; Prime III
An application of the technology acceptance model to the level of Internet usage by older adults BIBAKWeb Page 367-374
  Laxman U. S. Nayak; Lee Priest; Allan P. White
In this cross-sectional study, the principles of a technology acceptance model were used to identify variables related to the level of Internet usage by older adults. Community-dwelling older adults aged 60-88 years completed a postal questionnaire survey that elicited responses on the use of the Internet. Out of a sample of 592 older adults (236 males and 356 females), 50.7% used the Internet. A multiple linear regression analysis was carried out on the Internet users sample using the self-reported number of hours of Internet usage per week as the dependent variable. The results indicated that attitude toward using the Internet and good health status were statistically significant predictors of the level of Internet usage. A second multiple regression analysis using Internet activity as the dependent variable showed that attitude, usefulness, good health, and gender (males) were significant predictor variables.
Keywords: Technology acceptance model; Internet; World Wide Web; Older adults; Digital divide; Attitudes
Web popularity: an illusory perception of a qualitative order in information BIBAKWeb Page 375-386
  Stefano Federici; Simone Borsci; Maria Laura Mele; Gianluca Stamerra
Using a psychotechnological perspective, this study discusses the current model of information ranking by search engines, based on quantitative Web Popularity (WP), which binds users to a cognitive adaptation to the rank-system restrictions. This phenomenon gives rise to a "rich-get-richer" effect on the Web. This paper claims that such an effect could be limited or reversed by the introduction of quality factors in ranking, and addresses the case of accessibility as a fundamental such factor. A study is reported which, through introducing an accessibility factor in a well-known popularity ranking algorithm, demonstrates that this transformation allows a qualitative rearrangement, without modifying or weighing on the properties of the rank. The overall approach is grounded on two development factors: the analysis of accessibility through specific tools and the employment of this analysis within all components used to build up the ranking. The results show that it is important to reconsider WP as including not only on the number of inbound and outbound links of a website, but also on its level of accessibility for all users, and on users' judgment of the website use as efficient, effective, and satisfactory.
Keywords: Accessibility; Ranking model; Web popularity; Human computer interaction
Note: The abstract of this article is also presented in the 4th Biennial Disability Studies Conference at Lancaster University, UK 2nd-4th September 2008.
Worth-centred mobile phone design for older users BIBAKWeb Page 387-403
  Karen Renaud; Judy van Biljon
The twenty-first century society fights against an inherent tendency to over-classify and label people. In the case of the aged, despite all efforts, the perception of the helpless, feeble older person still prevails. The truth of the matter is that people over sixty often do not fit this profile. The aged are a heterogeneous group with varying different skills and abilities in many different areas. This paper challenges prevalent mobile phone design decisions that appear to have been made based on the erroneous pre-conception of the incapable elder. Designers currently produce "senior" mobile phones that are, at best, inadequate and, at worst, insulting to a sector of society that deserves respect and consideration. Age does indeed influence mobile phone usage, and people over sixty often have specific and special needs, quite apart from age-related limitations, that predict their use of mobile phones. Most mobile phones designed for older users simply reduce the number of features: the so-called simplification approach. Apart from reducing the effectiveness of the phone, this approach often incorporates the fatal design flaw of using numbers or letters, on speed-dial buttons, which requires the user to remember the button-person mappings. In fact, this design rationale reduces the value of the phone to the user. This paper argues that mobile phone design for older users should be worth-centred (Cockton G in Designing worth is worth designing. In: Proceedings of the 4th Nordic conference on human-computer interaction: changing roles. Oslo, Norway, pp 165-174, 2006) rather than simplification-driven. The worth-centred approach maximises worth to the user of the phone. This is achieved by maximising effectiveness while accommodating reduced capabilities. To maximise ease of use, and consequent accessibility, features may have to be reduced in an informed way. To facilitate this, a mapping process is proposed whereby user needs are linked to uses of the phone, and then to the features that facilitate these uses. Needs fall into a number of categories, and each category is characterised by a number of different uses, which form a usage space. Features can be linked to one or more usage spaces, and thus be used to support needs. The first step in the conducted research entailed the identification of the needs of the older mobile phone user. Then, it was determined whether these needs were indeed being met by the uses afforded in existing phones. Having concluded that most users' needs were not being met, the next step was to capture data on the needs, limitations and expectations of people over the age of sixty. This was achieved by conducting a series of one-to-one interviews with a number of older mobile phone users and also supervising a participatory design experiment. Using the findings of the analysis, a usage space model is proposed, which serves to align feature inclusion with user needs. Based on this usage space model (the theoretical contribution), a prototype mobile phone design is presented as the practical contribution of the paper.
Keywords: Mobile phones; Older users; Worth; Accessibility; Ease of use; Effectiveness