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UAIS Tables of Contents: 01020304050607080910111213

Universal Access in the Information Society 13

Editors:Constantine Stephanidis
Publisher:Springer Verlag
Standard No:ISSN 1615-5289 (print); 1615-5297 (electronic)
Links:Table of Contents
  1. UAIS 2014-03 Volume 13 Issue 1
  2. UAIS 2014-06 Volume 13 Issue 2
  3. UAIS 2014-08 Volume 13 Issue 3
  4. UAIS 2014-11 Volume 13 Issue 4

UAIS 2014-03 Volume 13 Issue 1

Pervasive technologies and assistive environments: cognitive systems for assistive environments: special issue of PETRA 2010 and 2011 conferences

Pervasive technologies and assistive environments: cognitive systems for assistive environments: special issue of PETRA 2010 and 2011 conferences BIBAFull-Text 1-4
  Ilias Maglogiannis; Fillia Makedon; Grammati Pantziou; Margrit Betke
The use of computing technology to improve everyday life continues at an exponential rate. Computer technology is becoming an integral part of environments addressing important social and healthcare issues [1-5]. On the other hand, improving the quality of living environments to enable a person to reach his or her maximum potential becomes particularly important in an increasingly crowded and complex world in which inclusiveness and connectivity with the rest of the world are critical. Cognitive systems for assistive environments address the fact that people increasingly rely on technology in their own homes [6, 7] as well as in work environments. This special issue addresses aspects of intelligent and context-aware computer technology that is designed to assist persons with special needs. It focuses on the use of devices (e.g., different types of sensors), tools and methods that can monitor, assess and facilitate the functionality of a person's everyday routine. By using, for example, ...
Adaptive sliding menubars make existing software more accessible to people with severe motion impairments BIBAFull-Text 5-22
  Christopher W. Kwan; Isaac Paquette; John J. Magee; Margrit Betke
The graphical user interfaces of popular software are often inaccessible to people with severe motion impairments, who cannot use the traditional keyboard and mouse, and require an alternative input device. Reaching for buttons and selecting menu items, in particular, can be difficult for nonverbal individuals with quadriplegia, who control the mousepointer with head motion via a mouse-replacement system. This paper proposes interaction techniques that can be used with mouse-replacement systems and enable the creation of accessible graphical user interfaces. To illustrate these techniques, the paper presents an image editing application, named Camera Canvas, that uses a sliding toolbar as its universal menu controller. The parameters of the toolbar automatically adapt to the movement abilities of the specific user. Individuals with and without disabilities and of a variety of ages were observed using Camera Canvas. It was found that the developed techniques worked across many different movement abilities and experience levels. Then, it was investigated how such techniques could be used to "retrofit" existing Windows applications with new graphical user interfaces. A tool called Menu Controller was created that can automatically re-render the menus of some existing applications into adaptive sliding toolbars. Menu Controller enables users of mouse-replacement systems to select menu entries that were otherwise inaccessible to them.
Emotion Detection via Discriminant Laplacian Embedding BIBAKFull-Text 23-31
  Hua Wang; Heng Huang; Fillia Makedon
Human emotion detection is of substantial importance in a variety of pervasive applications in assistive environments. Because facial expressions provide a key mechanism for understanding and conveying emotion, automatic emotion detection through facial expression recognition has attracted increased attention in both scientific research and practical applications in recent years. Traditional facial expression recognition methods normally use only one type of facial expression data, either static data extracted from one single face image or motion-dependent data obtained from dynamic face image sequences, but seldom employ both. This work proposes to place the emotion detection problem under the framework of Discriminant Laplacian Embedding (DLE) to integrate these two types of facial expression data in a shared subspace, such that the advantages of both of them are exploited. Due to the reinforcement between the two types of facial features, the new data representation is more discriminative and easier to classify. Encouraging experimental results in empirical studies demonstrate the practical usage of the proposed DLE method for emotion detection.
Keywords: Emotion detection; Facial expression recognition; Discriminative learning; Kernel; Facial feature
Bridging the gap between illiterate older adults and cognitive stimulation technologies through pervasive computing BIBAKFull-Text 33-44
  Victoria Meza-Kubo; Alberto L. Morán; Marcela D. Rodríguez
The global ageing of the population has made the increase in age-related diseases more obvious, some of which are accompanied by a patient's cognitive decline (CD). That is a hard problem for Mexico, as a large number of older adults belong to marginalized sectors. These older adults are characterized by their illiteracy and limited financial resources, which make them more vulnerable to conditions such as the Alzheimer's disease. According to the literature, a person who participates often in cognitive stimulation (CS) activities reduces the risk of suffering a CD-related condition. This has provided the motivation to carry out case studies to understand older adults' interactions in CS sessions, and their relation with technologies and with members of their social family networks (SFN). To address these technological, social and illiteracy gaps, a pervasive CS collaborative system has been designed and evaluated which eases interaction through natural interfaces and enables SFN members to interact with older adults during their CS activities regardless of their physical location. The evaluation results provide evidence that participants perceived the system as useful, easy to use and providing a pleasurable user experience. Furthermore, these results show the feasibility of augmenting traditional board games (e.g. chess, checkers) to create pervasive CS collaborative applications and the importance and benefits of integrating SFN members as informal caregivers.
Keywords: Cognitive stimulation; Illiterate older adults; Social family networks; Pervasive collaborative systems; Tangible interfaces
Behavior-based search of human by an autonomous indoor mobile robot in simulation BIBAKFull-Text 45-58
  Syed Atif Mehdi; Karsten Berns
The paper focuses on the development of a behavior-based strategy for an indoor autonomous mobile robot to find an elderly person living alone in an unstructured home environment. A perception of presence of human being in different rooms at different times of the day is maintained. Based on this perception, the estimation of possible locations of a person is carried out using Markov decision process. The implemented methodology mainly focuses on the two criteria for searching the person, namely distance to the destination and the probability of finding the person at that location. It also takes into account the last known position of the human being for the final estimation of the possible location. The robot navigates autonomously to the desired location by planning a path and avoiding the obstacles in the way. Upon reaching the destination, the process of detecting the human being in the surrounding environment is carried out. In order to validate all aspects of the robotic behavior over a longer period of time, prior to be used in an elderly care environment, a simulated environment resembling the real home apartment has been created. To make the simulation more realistic, an animated human character has also been developed which walks in to different rooms and exhibit different postures during its movements. The promising results from the 3D simulation show the effectiveness of the developed methodology.
Keywords: Elderly care; Indoor mobile robot; Human search; Markov decision process; Simulated environment
Cognitive and context-aware assistive environments using future internet technologies BIBAKFull-Text 59-72
  Charalampos Doukas; Nikos Fotiou; George C. Polyzos; Ilias Maglogiannis
Future Internet (FI) technologies are introducing new ways of networking and cognitive data delivery. In this paper, the potential of FI-based architectures for enabling the context-aware content adaptation and specialized delivery of health related information in assistive environments is investigated. The proposed system utilizes the publish/subscribe internetworking (PSI) architecture, an information-oriented architecture built for the FI using the so-called publish/subscribe paradigm. Information is brought at the center of the approach, providing several advantages: flexibility, seamless information morphing and exploitation of context, access control, and security in general. In addition to an overview of the approach and its characteristics, this work also presents the implementation of a subset of an assistive environment, using Blackadder, PSI's prototype, and illustrates its potential with an emergency service scenario for the assistive healthcare domain.
Keywords: Content adaptation; Context awareness; Assistive information delivery; Publish/subscribe networking
Heart sound screening in real-time assistive environments through MCMC Bayesian data mining BIBAKFull-Text 73-88
  Manolis Maragoudakis; Euripides Loukis
Emerging pervasive assistive environment applications for remote home healthcare monitoring of the elderly, disabled and also patients with various chronic diseases generate massive amounts of sensor signal data, which are transmitted from numerous homes to local health centers or hospitals. While it is critical to process this data efficiently (in a fast and accurate manner) and cost-effectively, in a large-scale application of the above technologies, it is not possible to do so manually by specialized human resources. This paper proposes a methodology for automatic real-time screening of heart sound signals (one of the most widely acquired signals from the human body for diagnostic purposes) and identification of those that are abnormal and require some action to be taken, which can be applied to many other similar types of bio-signals generated in assistive environments. It is based on a novel Markov Chain Monte Carlo Bayesian Inference approach, which estimates conditional probability distributions in structures obtained from a Tree-Augmented Naïve Bayes algorithm. It has been applied and validated in a highly 'difficult' heterogeneous dataset of 198 heart sound signals, which comes from both healthy medical cases and unhealthy ones having aortic stenosis, mitral regurgitation, aortic regurgitation or mitral stenosis. The proposed methodology achieved high classification performance in this difficult screening problem. It performs higher than other widely used classifiers, showing great potential for contributing to a cost-effective large-scale application of ICT-based assistive environment technologies.
Keywords: Bayesian inference; Markov Chain Monte Carlo; Tree-Augmented Naïve Bayes; Assistive environments; Heart sounds diagnosis
Role of cognitive and functional performance in the interactions between elderly people with cognitive decline and an avatar on TV BIBAKFull-Text 89-97
  Unai Diaz-Orueta; Aitziber Etxaniz; Mari Feli Gonzalez; Cristina Buiza; Elena Urdaneta; Javier Yanguas
The complexity of new information technologies (IT) may limit the access of elderly people to the information society, exacerbating what is known as "the digital divide," as they appear to be too challenging for elderly citizens regardless of the integrity of their cognitive status. This study is an attempt to clarify how some cognitive functions (such as attention or verbal memory) may determine the interaction of cognitively impaired elderly people with technology. Twenty participants ranging from mild cognitive impairment to moderate Alzheimer's disease were assessed by means of a neuropsychological and functional battery and were asked to follow simple commands from an avatar appearing on a TV by means of a remote control, such as asking the participant to confirm their presence or to respond Yes/No to a proposal to see a TV program. The number of correct answers and command repetitions required for the user to respond were registered. The results show that participants with a better cognitive and functional state in specific tests show a significantly better performance in the TV task. The derived conclusion is that neuropsychological assessment may be used as a useful complementary tool for assistive technology developers in the adaptation of IT to the elderly with different cognitive and functional profiles. Further studies with larger samples are required to determine to what extent cognitive functions can actually predict older users' interaction with technology.
Keywords: Intuitive interaction; Neuropsychological assessment; Cognitive impairment; Usability; Avatars
Erratum to: Role of cognitive and functional performance in the interactions between elderly people with cognitive decline and an avatar on TV BIBAFull-Text 99
  Unai Diaz-Orueta; Aitziber Etxaniz; Mari Feli Gonzalez; Cristina Buiza; Elena Urdaneta; Javier Yanguas; Eduardo Carrasco; Gorka Epelde
Erratum to: Univ Access Inf Soc DOI 10.1007/s10209-013-0288-1This erratum is published following a request signed by Javier Yanguas, Cristina Buiza, Mari Feli Gonzalez, Aitziber Etxaniz, Eduardo Carrasco and Gorka Epelde (as co-authors), as well as Javier Yanguas (as Scientific Director of INGEMA) and Jorge Posada (as Scientific Director of Vicomtech). Ingema and Vicomtech as Institutions, as well as the signing researchers who confirm that Vicomtech researchers Eduardo Carrasco and Gorka Epelde should appear as co-authors of the original published article. The article describes and analyzes results from collaborative research work of the two centers.
Aerobic activity monitoring: towards a long-term approach BIBAKFull-Text 101-114
  Attila Reiss; Didier Stricker
With recent progress in wearable sensing, it becomes reasonable for individuals to wear different sensors all day, and thus, global activity monitoring is establishing. The goals in global activity monitoring systems are among others to tell the type of activity that was performed, the duration and the intensity. With the information obtained this way, the individual's daily routine can be described in detail. One of the strong motivations to achieve these goals comes from healthcare: To be able to tell if individuals were performing enough physical activity to maintain or even promote their health. This work focuses on the monitoring of aerobic activities and targets two main goals: To estimate the intensity of activities, and to identify basic/recommended physical activities and postures. For these purposes, a dataset with 8 subjects and 14 different activities was recorded, including the basic activities and postures, but also examples of household (ironing, vacuum cleaning), sports (playing soccer, rope jumping), and everyday activities (ascending and descending stairs). Data from 3 accelerometers -- placed on lower arm, chest, and foot -- and a heart rate monitor were analyzed. This paper presents the entire data processing chain, analyses and compares different classification techniques, concerning also their feasibility for portable online activity monitoring applications. Results are presented with different combinations of the sensors. For the intensity estimation task, using the sensor setup composed of the chest accelerometer and the HR-monitor is considered the most efficient, achieving a performance of 94.37%. The overall performance on the activity recognition task, using all available sensors, is 90.65% with boosted decision trees -- the classifier achieving the best classification results within this work.
Keywords: Physical activity monitoring; Activity recognition; Intensity estimation of physical activity; Wearable computing; Machine learning
ER designer toolkit: a graphical event definition authoring tool BIBAKFull-Text 115-123
  Pythagoras Karampiperis; Giannis Mouchakis; Georgios Paliouras; Vangelis Karkaletsis
Modern assistive environments have the ability to collect data from various distributed sources and need to react swiftly to changes. As information flows, in the form of simple, source events, it becomes more and more difficult to quickly analyze the collected data in an automated way and transform them into operational knowledge. Event recognition (ER) addresses this problem. Several tools exist for defining ER rules, but only a few of them offer graphical design environments. Each such tool supports a single ER language, either query-based or rule-based. Also, many of these systems do not support the addition of user-defined operators, thus limiting the flexibility in rule design. This paper presents the Event Recognition Designer Toolkit (ERDT), a graphical authoring tool, with which a domain expert can design event recognition rules and produce standalone ER. The goal was to develop a user-friendly graphical tool with a basic set of operators, so that a user could easily produce recognizers for different domains and, when needed, easily extend the tool in order to satisfy domain-specific requirements. The ERDT uses an extendable pool of ER language libraries (at the moment SQL and Event Calculus are supported) and transforms the designed rules into Event Recognizers that use the preferred ER language. The same rule can be expressed in different languages without any changes to the design. Furthermore, the authoring tool is cross platform, free, and open source, so that it can be shared with the community, maximizing its potential impact and possible extension.
Keywords: Authoring tool; Complex event processing; Event patterns; Event recognition

UAIS 2014-06 Volume 13 Issue 2

Addressing universal access in social networks: an inclusive search mechanism BIBAKFull-Text 125-145
  Julio Cesar dos Reis; Rodrigo Bonacin; M. Cecília C. Baranauskas
Social network services (SNSs) have brought new possibilities and challenges to the design of software environments that respect people's cultural differences. These systems may represent an opportunity for social and digital inclusion. However, search mechanisms in these systems impose serious barriers for people in the process of acquiring digital literacy. One of the barriers is the difficulty of using the adequate terms/keywords to perform content searches. This paper presents an approach to allow ordinary, non-technology proficient people to access the content of a network through the use of search parameters that make sense to them. The proposal is grounded on Semantic Web technologies (Web ontology) combined with Organizational Semiotics concepts and methods to identify the users' profile and language. A case study was conducted with the search mechanism integrated into a SNS, and a preliminary evaluation reveals the advantages and drawbacks of the approach.
Keywords: Inclusive social network; Inclusive search mechanism; Information retrieval; Ontology; Semantic search and semiotics
EMMEL: a framework for historical manuscript analysis and presentation BIBAKFull-Text 147-160
  Y. Liang; R. M. Guest; M. C. Fairhurst; L. Heutte; S. Nicolas; A. Burnett; T. Palfray
In this paper, a generic framework for historical manuscript image and data processing, visualisation and analysis is introduced with a focus on the modelling of manuscript metadata underpinning the interaction. The goal of such a framework is to capture the requirements from three types of activities involving historical manuscripts: presentation, management and analysis. In addition to an overall text-based description of an historical manuscript, a central requirement of such a framework is to associate rich media information (e.g. video, flash component, etc.) to the manuscript or a specific region of the manuscript. A second requirement is to enable interchange of the manuscript data as well as the attached information between users. As a result of an extensive analysis of requirements collected across a wide range of target user groups, an XML-based metadata language derived from a relational database model is proposed to form an historical document data model, and a prototype system is developed to demonstrate some of the advanced functionalities enabled by this data model. Thus, the proposed framework provides an important tool in promoting access to historical documents on a wide and diverse basis, embracing the fundamental principles of universal access to a shared cultural heritage.
Keywords: XML; Archive standards; Digitised historical manuscript; Electronic publication; Document accessibility
Self-assessed and actual Internet skills of people with visual impairments BIBAKFull-Text 161-174
  Thea van der Geest; Hans van der Meij; Carolina van Puffelen
The Internet can make available to people with a visual impairment information and services that are otherwise inaccessible. But do visually impaired users actually use common Internet applications and do they have the necessary skills? This article reports a two-part study addressing these questions. The first part was an interview study in which 73 young and 69 older Dutch people with a visual impairment were questioned about usage of applications such as e-mail, chat, and web forms, and their self-perceived competence. The young participants reported more frequent use of Internet applications and mentioned multiple goals (i.e., social and educational), compared to the older. Both groups considered themselves reasonably competent, with the young rating themselves higher. The second part was a case study with 20 young and 20 older participants from the first study, who performed common Internet tasks, using websites or applications that complied with accessibility guidelines. Task performance was analyzed in detail for demonstrated skills. Actual performance proved to be unrelated to self-rated competence. Moreover, the competence of both young and older participants fell far short of what active participation in society requires, especially for the more complex information and strategic skills. The success rate on the performance tasks was low. People with a visual impairment should receive extensive support for the acquisition of higher-level skills that are called upon when using Internet information and services in order to participate in society.
Keywords: Internet usage; Internet skills; Visual impairment; Accessibility; Self-assessment; Performance measurement
Prediction of recall accuracy in contextual understanding tasks using features of oculo-motors BIBAKFull-Text 175-190
  Minoru Nakayama; Yuko Hayashi
Contextual understanding, which consists of memory, reasoning, and recall, is a key process of human-computer interactions and interfaces which provide universal accessibility. To determine the possibility of predicting the recall accuracy of reading and memorizing tasks using features of oculo-motors, eye movements, and pupillary changes, a contextual understanding task experiment, which was composed of definition and question statements, was conducted. The existence of a relationship between the features of oculo-motors during memorization and recall performance was hypothesized. The features of viewer's oculo-motors while reading and judging a statement were observed, and significant differences were identified in most features according to the correctness of responses. The possibility of predicting the verification accuracy of question statements using these features for definition statements and the support vector regression technique was established, and there was a significant correlational relationship between the predicted accuracy and the experimental accuracy. Also, the estimation performance for judging question statements was assessed using the features and support vector machines. Estimation accuracy was the highest when all extracted features of eye movements were used. The number of definition statements, which were experimental conditions used to control the task difficulty, affected the accuracy of both prediction and estimation. These results provide evidence that features of oculo-motors during the reading, memorizing, and recalling of statements can be used as an index of contextual understanding.
Keywords: Eye movements; User's response estimation; Discriminant analysis; Regression analysis
Lessons learned in deploying independent living technologies to older adults' homes BIBAKFull-Text 191-204
  Julie Doyle; Catherine Bailey; Cliodhna Ni Scanaill; Flip van den Berg
Independent living technologies are fast gaining interest within both academia and industry, amid the realization that the world's population is ageing. Technology can increase the quality of life of older people, allowing them to age-in-place and helping them to remain physically, cognitively and socially engaged with their environment. However, little research in this area is applied. The paper argues for the necessity of moving such technology out of the research laboratory and into the home, where its real impact on the lives of older adults can be assessed. Moreover, a series of recommendations are outlined, encompassing the life cycle of independent living technologies, from ethnographic assessment, through to design, deployment and evaluation. This work is based on lessons learned in deploying such technologies to older people in over 200 homes. This paper can act as a guide for other researchers interested in developing technologies with older people.
Keywords: Independent living technologies; Older adults; Recommendations; Ethnography; Design; Deployment; Evaluation
A universal design resource for rich Internet applications based on design patterns BIBAKFull-Text 205-226
  Daniela Fogli; Loredana Parasiliti Provenza; Cristian Bernareggi
Rich Internet applications have removed most of the constraints of Web 1.0 while giving users more responsiveness and advanced browsing and interaction experiences. These new horizons, however, raise many challenges for people with disabilities or using limited hardware and software technologies, whose risk to be excluded from the benefits deriving from advanced web applications. To address this problem, WCAG 2.0 guidelines have been released as the newest World Wide Web Consortium recommendation for accessible web content, and WAI-ARIA is a candidate recommendation which provides reference specifications for accessible rich Internet applications. However, both specifications contain a huge amount of information that often discourages most web designers from dealing with accessibility issues. Moreover, guidelines are suitable and usually adopted to judge a design solution a posteriori, but they do not suggest how to face a design problem constructively. This paper proposes a design pattern language for accessibility. The language can be regarded as a universal design resource for helping web designers create accessible rich Internet applications compliant with the most recent standards. Knowledge representation through design patterns reflects the problem-solving approach usually followed by software and web designers, while pattern organization in a structured language aims to guide web designers throughout the design process. The language has been implemented as an accessible rich Internet application itself, thus allowing designers with disabilities to participate in web design. In order to evaluate the design pattern language, a three-step process was carried out including: (1) a heuristic analysis with a group of human-computer interaction experts, (2) a survey study with a group of web designers, and (3) a validation on the field with two designers who have been requested to apply the language in real design cases.
Keywords: Accessibility; Universal design; Design pattern; Rich Internet application
Enabling user interface developers to experience accessibility limitations through visual, hearing, physical and cognitive impairment simulation BIBAKFull-Text 227-248
  Dimitris Giakoumis; Nikolaos Kaklanis; Konstantinos Votis; Dimitrios Tzovaras
His paper presents a tool facilitating developers of user interfaces (UIs) to experience accessibility limitations that can be posed from various disabilities during the interaction of impaired users with their developments. In this respect, various aspects of visual, hearing, physical and cognitive impairments have been modelled through filters providing approximate, yet, realistic simulations over them. These filters have formed the basis for the developed tool, which can be used either on its own (as a standalone application), or be embedded in the NetBeans Integrated Development Environment. The tool, named DIAS, allows for impairment simulations to be performed over Java, mobile and web applications. Moreover, it integrates two of the most common assistive technologies (ATs), namely a screen reader and a magnifier. As a result, developers of UIs can not only experience how interaction would be affected from various impairments, but they can also understand how their developments would be perceived by impaired users through an AT. This work aims to provide an integrated, practical solution for impairment simulation, which could be easily adopted by developers, thus realistically increasing the possibilities for the future development of interactive applications that are more accessible to users with disabilities.
Keywords: Human computer interaction; User interfaces; Accessibility; Simulation; User-centred software design
Accessibility of American University Special Education Departments' Web sites BIBAFull-Text 249-254
  Ravic Ringlaben; Marty Bray; Abbot Packard
In the last 20 years, the World Wide Web (Web) has gone from being the means of disseminating information for a few scientists to a universal means of disseminating information across the globe. While the Web provides an unprecedented level of access to information for many, if not properly designed, Web sites can actually create a number of barriers to information access to persons with disabilities. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the accessibility of home pages of University Departments of Special Education. A total of 51 Special Education departmental Web sites were located using a popular online search engine and evaluated for accessibility. Two Web site evaluation programs were used to determine whether the Web sites meet minimum accessibility guidelines, and one of them was used to quantify the number of accessibility errors on each site. The results indicated that most (97%) of the pages evaluated had accessibility problems, many (39%) of which were severe and should be given a high priority for correcting. The good news is the majority of errors can easily be corrected. The work reflects a need for Departments of Special Education to examine the accessibility of their home pages. Direction for improving accessibility is provided.

UAIS 2014-08 Volume 13 Issue 3

Mobile Accessibility

Mobile accessibility BIBAFull-Text 255-256
  Daniel Gonçalves; Markel Vigo; Luís Carriço
Recent years have witnessed an increasing importance of mobile devices. They pervade people's everyday lives, not only just in the form of feature phones, but also as smartphones and tablets. Some of these have the computing power of small computers. We are, thus, at the cusp of a fundamental change in how we relate to information and others, accessible at all times and places with the help of mobile devices.
   Alas, this change might be barred to a large number of people, suffering from a wide range of disabilities. Mobile devices are increasingly visual, making them hard to use by the blind or other vision-impaired people. Keyboards are steadily being replaced by touch screens, without tactile feedback, introducing additional barriers. Users with limited mobility of their limbs are hardly able to pick up the devices or use their fingers for precise pointing. Additionally, mobile devices are being used as mediators to reach distal interfaces (e.g. interactive TV, information kiosks) prov ...
Using hand gestures to control mobile spoken dialogue systems BIBAKFull-Text 257-275
  Nikos Tsourakis
Speech and hand gestures offer the most natural modalities for everyday human-to-human interaction. The availability of diverse spoken dialogue applications and the proliferation of accelerometers on consumer electronics allow the introduction of new interaction paradigms based on speech and gestures. Little attention has been paid, however, to the manipulation of spoken dialogue systems (SDS) through gestures. Situation-induced disabilities or real disabilities are determinant factors that motivate this type of interaction. In this paper, six concise and intuitively meaningful gestures are proposed that can be used to trigger the commands in any SDS. Using different machine learning techniques, a classification error for the gesture patterns of less than 5% is achieved, and the proposed set of gestures is compared to ones proposed by users. Examining the social acceptability of the specific interaction scheme, high levels of acceptance for public use are encountered. An experiment was conducted comparing a button-enabled and a gesture-enabled interface, which showed that the latter imposes little additional mental and physical effort. Finally, results are provided after recruiting a male subject with spastic cerebral palsy, a blind female user, and an elderly female person.
Keywords: Gestured-controlled mobile applications; Gesture and speech interfaces; Gesture classification; Mobile accessibility
SOSPhone: a mobile application for emergency calls BIBAKFull-Text 277-290
  Hugo Paredes; Benjamim Fonseca; Miriam Cabo; Tania Pereira; Filipe Fernandes
The general adoption of mobile devices and its wide network coverage made it possible to make emergency calls virtually everywhere, even in the absence of a valid contact. However, there is still generally the need for audio connection. This restriction is a problem for deaf people, but also for the elderly and people without disabilities who face sudden situations where speech is hard to articulate. In this context, this paper presents SOSPhone, a prototype of a mobile application that was developed to enable users to make emergency calls using an iconographic touch interface running in a touchscreen mobile device. The prototype implements the client-side of the application and was demonstrated and evaluated by a large number of users, including people without any disability, emergency services' professionals and deaf people. This paper describes the SOSPhone prototype and presents the results of the interface evaluation process, which is important to validate the main client-side interaction and architectural principles in order to proceed with the integration with each specific national emergency services' platform.
Keywords: Mobile accessibility; Emergency call; Iconographic interface; Short message service; Deaf; Elderly; Panic situations
Mobile text-entry and visual demands: reusing and optimizing current solutions BIBAKFull-Text 291-301
  Hugo Nicolau; Tiago Guerreiro; David Lucas; Joaquim Jorge
Mobile devices are increasingly used for text-entry in contexts where visual attention is fragmented and graphical information is inadequate, yet the current solutions to typing on virtual keyboards make it a visually demanding task. This work looks at assistive technologies and interface attributes as tools to ease the task. Two within-subject experiments were performed with 23 and 17 participants, respectively. The first experiment aimed to understand how walking affected text-entry performance and additionally to assess how effective assistive technologies can be in mobile contexts. In the second experiment, adaptive keyboards featuring character prediction and pre-attentive attributes to ease visual demands of text-entry interfaces were developed and evaluated. It has been found that both text-input speed and overall quality are affected in mobile situations. Contrary to the expectations, assistive technologies proved ineffective with visual feedback. The second experiment showed that pre-attentive attributes do not affect users' performance in task-entry tasks, even though a 3.3-4.3% decrease in error rates was measured. It was found that users reduce walking speed to compensate for challenges placed by mobile text-entry. Caution should be exercised when transferring assistive technologies to mobile contexts, since they need adaptations to address mobile users' needs. Also, while pre-attentive attributes seemingly have no effect on experienced QWERTY typists' performance, they showed promise for both novice users and typists in attention-demanding contexts.
Keywords: Mobile; Text-entry; Pre-attentive; Assistive technology
Mobile touchscreen user interfaces: bridging the gap between motor-impaired and able-bodied users BIBAKFull-Text 303-313
  Hugo Nicolau; Tiago Guerreiro; Joaquim Jorge; Daniel Gonçalves
Touchscreen mobile devices are highly customizable, allowing designers to create inclusive user interfaces that are accessible to a broader audience. However, the knowledge to provide this new generation of user interfaces is yet to be uncovered. The goal was to thoroughly study mobile touchscreen interfaces and provide guidelines for informed design. The paper presents an evaluation performed with 15 tetraplegic and 18 able-bodied users that allowed to identify their main similarities and differences within a set of interaction techniques (Tapping, Crossing, and Directional Gesturing) and parameterizations. Results show that Tapping and Crossing are the most similar and easy to use techniques for both motor-impaired and able-bodied users. Regarding Tapping, error rates start to converge at 12 mm, showing to be a good compromise for target size. As for Crossing, it offered a similar level of accuracy; however, larger targets (17 mm) are significantly easier to cross for motor-impaired users. Directional Gesturing was the least inclusive technique. Regarding position, edges showed to be troublesome. For instance, they have shown to increase Tapping precision for disabled users, while decreasing able-bodied users' accuracy when targets are too small (7 mm). It is argued that despite the expected error rate disparity, there are clear resemblances between user groups, thus enabling the development of inclusive touch interfaces. Tapping, a traditional interaction technique, was among the most effective for both target populations, along with Crossing. The main difference concerns Directional Gesturing that in spite of its unconstrained nature shows to be inaccurate for motor-impaired users.
Keywords: Mobile; Touch; Tetraplegic; Motor-impaired; Able-bodied; Interaction techniques
Accessibility barriers for users of screen readers in the Moodle learning content management system BIBAKFull-Text 315-327
  Rocío Calvo; Ana Iglesias; Lourdes Moreno
In recent decades, the use of the Internet has spread rapidly into diverse social spheres including that of education. Currently, most educational centers make use of e-learning environments created through authoring tool applications like learning content management systems (LCMSs). However, most of these applications currently present accessibility barriers that make the creation of accessible e-learning environments difficult for teachers and administrators. In this paper, the accessibility of the Moodle authoring tool, one of the most frequently used LCMSs worldwide, is evaluated. More specifically, the evaluation is carried out from the perspective of two visually impaired users accessing content through screen readers, as well as a heuristic evaluation considering the World Wide Web Consortium's Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines. The evaluation results demonstrate that Moodle presents barriers for screen reader users, limiting their ability to access the tool. One example of accessibility problems for visually impaired users is the frequent inability to publish learning contents without assistance. In light of these results, the paper offers recommendations that can be followed to reduce or eliminate these accessibility barriers.
Keywords: Accessibility; Authoring tool; ATAG; LCMS; Screen reader users
Understanding continuance usage intention of mobile internet sites BIBAKFull-Text 329-337
  Tao Zhou
Due to the high acquisition costs and low switching costs, retaining users and facilitating their continuance usage are crucial for mobile service providers. Integrating both perspectives of perceived utility and flow experience, this research identifies the factors affecting continuance usage intention of mobile internet sites. Data were collected through a survey, and data analysis was then conducted with structural equation modeling. The results indicated that system quality and information quality affect perceived usefulness, satisfaction and flow. And these three factors determine continuance usage intention. Among them, flow has the largest effect on continuance usage intention. The results imply that service providers need to improve users' experience in order to facilitate their continuance usage of mobile internet sites.
Keywords: Continuance usage; Mobile internet sites; Perceived usefulness; Flow
Municipal web sites accessibility and usability for blind users: preliminary results from a pilot study BIBAKFull-Text 339-349
  Costin Pribeanu; Paul Fogarassy-Neszly; Aurel Patru
Despite the existing regulations and standards at national and international level, web content is still difficult to use, if not completely unusable, for visually impaired people. This paper presents the evaluation results for three municipal web sites. A combined method, based on conformance review and expert review, was employed. Overall, the results reveal a low conformance to WCAG2 and many accessibility and usability problems. The content is not properly structured, and this reduces usability even for sighted user. The analysis of the evaluation data suggests that many accessibility barriers could be avoided by adopting a user-centered approach during web design.
Keywords: Accessibility; Accessibility barrier; Conformance review; Usability inspection; Municipal web sites

UAIS 2014-11 Volume 13 Issue 4

A heuristic checklist for an accessible smartphone interface design BIBAKFull-Text 351-365
  Na Mi; Lora A. Cavuoto; Kenneth Benson; Tonya Smith-Jackson; Maury A. Nussbaum
Smartphone technology has evolved into a multi-functional device with advanced capabilities, but this mobile technology remains inaccessible to many individuals with visual impairments or upper extremity disabilities. This paper provides a heuristic checklist for accessible smartphone interface design, developed through reviewing existing design standards and guidelines and validating these guidelines with user involvement. Specifically, a set of preliminary user requirements (59 items) was extracted from existing standards, guidelines, and user requirements regarding mobile handheld device accessibility. Subsequently, the requirement set was filtered using a participatory method and then integrated to create an operational version of design guidelines. These guidelines were then used in a heuristic evaluation and usability testing on high-fidelity prototypes produced by a commercial manufacturer. A heuristic checklist for designing accessible smartphones was formed, which may also be applicable to other touchscreen handheld devices (e.g., printer screen) in terms of accessibility features. The initial set of 59 user requirements was re-organized into 44 statements in six general categories: mechanical controls, display, speech and general operation controls, audio feedback controls, touch-operated controls, and others. Using results from both qualitative and quantitative methods provides support, though with some limitations, for this accessibility checklist. This checklist is intended as a practical design support tool for use in early design phases of handheld products. A number of challenges and limitations are discussed as well.
Keywords: Participatory design; Touchscreen accessibility; Usability; Users with visual impairments
Visual interface for searching and browsing children's WebOPAC BIBAFull-Text 367-385
  Tengku Siti Meriam Tengku Wook; Siti Salwah Salim
This study focuses on the visual interface design of WebOPAC, which assists children in carrying out searching and browsing activities for bibliographical information in a library database. The existing interface of WebOPAC, called Ilmu, is investigated in this study; the interface is efficient in retrieving information from the database; however, its poor graphic design causes major usability problems. The graphic design of Ilmu is important in helping children to understand and visualise concepts of searching and browsing. Therefore, the interface must be constructed in such a way that can meet the needs of children aged 7-11 years. In this study, an analysis has been carried out on children's requirements for the graphic design through participatory design activities using two approaches: cooperative inquiry and sketching of ideas. The cooperative Inquiry approach involved 40 children, while sketching children's ideas involved 20 children as respondents. A total of 14 requirement specifications were generated and categorised into four areas -- use of space, information organisation, function and use of colours; these would serve as a basis in designing a new WebOPAC interface. Synthesis of these requirements has shown that they are best supported through the implementation of visual interface display techniques. Chi-squared (χ²) test was used to test the responses of children towards the usability of the new interface; the results showed a high level of acceptance by the children, recording a rate of 83.98%.
Improving accessibility of Web interfaces: refactoring to the rescue BIBAKFull-Text 387-399
  Alejandra Garrido; Gustavo Rossi; Nuria Medina Medina; Julián Grigera; Sergio Firmenich
Universal access should be a target for all public Web sites. However, it is very hard to achieve, and even Web applications that comply with accessibility standards may still lack usability for disabled users. This paper proposes refactoring as an essencial technique to incrementally improve the accessibility and usability of a Web interface. Some accessibility refactorings are described and classified by the problems that each refactoring addresses. The way mainstream Web sites struggle with accessibility is illustrated, and two evaluations of email clients are presented as empirical evidence of the significance of accessibility refactorings at a low implementation cost.
Keywords: Accessibility; Web applications; Refactoring; Reengineering
Age-related difference in the use of mobile phones BIBAKFull-Text 401-413
  Jia Zhou; Pei-Luen Patrick Rau; Gavriel Salvendy
This study examined the difference between younger adults and older adults in requirements for mobile phones and acceptance of new functions. A survey was conducted among 351 older adults and 140 younger adults in China. Four major findings were derived. Firstly, older adults perceived ease to understand manuals, font size, icon size, and feedback of the operation as more important compared with younger adults. Secondly, younger adults placed more emphasis on most non-visual aspects of mobile phones than older adults, while older adults placed more emphasis on visible attributes. Thirdly, the biggest age-related difference lays in connectivity. Younger adults perceived Internet access and the connection between mobile phones and other devices as much more important compared with older adults. Fourthly, older adults had more difficulties using soft keys and multi-tap than younger adults, which implied that smart phones with changing button labels and the touch & hold operation would be confusing for older adults. These results were interpreted in the context of the transition from feature phones to smart phones.
Keywords: Age; Mobile phones; Smart phones; Acceptance; Usability; Attributes
Accessible haptic user interface design approach for users with visual impairments BIBAKFull-Text 415-437
  Hyung Nam Kim; Tonya L. Smith-Jackson; Brian M. Kleiner
With the number of people with visual impairments (e.g., low vision and blind) continuing to increase, vision loss has become one of the most challenging disabilities. Today, haptic technology, using an alternative sense to vision, is deemed an important component for effectively accessing information systems. The most appropriately designed assistive technology is critical for those with visual impairments to adopt assistive technology and to access information, which will facilitate their tasks in personal and professional life. However, most of the existing design approaches are inapplicable and inappropriate to such design contexts as users with visual impairments interacting with non-graphical user interfaces (i.e., haptic technology). To resolve such design challenges, the present study modified a participatory design approach (i.e., PICTIVE, Plastic Interface for Collaborative Technology Initiatives Video Exploration) to be applicable to haptic technologies, by considering the brain plasticity theory. The sense of touch is integrated into the design activity of PICTIVE. Participants with visual impairments were able to effectively engage in designing non-visual interfaces (e.g., haptic interfaces) through non-visual communication methods (e.g., touch modality).
Keywords: Human Factors; Design method; Visual impairments; Non-visual interfaces; Accessibility; Usability
Attitudes of individuals with visual impairments towards distance education BIBAKFull-Text 439-447
  Eleni Koustriava; Konstantinos Papadopoulos
The aims of this work were to examine the attitudes of individuals with visual impairments towards distance education (DE) and the relationships between attitudes and participants' personal characteristics. Forty-one adults with visual impairments, who ranged in age from 20 to 40, participated in this study. A self-constructed questionnaire measuring the attitudes towards DE was employed. The participants' answers revealed slightly positive emotions towards DE according to the affective component of attitudes, slightly positive attitudes when DE is compared with traditional education, and positive attitudes as far as the cognitive component of attitudes and participants' intention to participate in a DE programme were concerned. The elder participants seem to have more positive attitudes towards DE compared with younger participants. Furthermore, the greater the level of education, the more positive were the attitudes towards DE, and the greater the frequency of computer usage, the more positive were the attitudes towards DE. The analysis of the data collected revealed that the sample of individuals with visual impairments had slightly positive attitudes towards DE. Age, level of education, and frequency of computer usage were found to be significant predictors of the participants' attitudes.
Keywords: Visual impairments; Distance education; Attitudes; Intention to participate
On accepting smart environments at user and societal levels BIBAKFull-Text 449-469
  Sari Walldén; Erkki Mäkinen
This paper studies beliefs which predict acceptance of smart environments at the user level and the preconditions for acceptance at the societal level. The authors use a thorough literature survey and eight in-depth expert interviews based on four scenarios (home, conference, mall, and gym). As the results indicate, the crucial beliefs for acceptance turn out to be usefulness, ease of use, trust, and social influence at the user level. At the societal level, the preconditions are cultural, economic, and legal. The in-depth interviews confirm some of the results previously reported in the literature including the importance of usefulness, ease of use, and trust for user acceptance. In addition to previous results, social influence as a belief is considered. The external variables affecting beliefs are divided into two categories, namely individual differences and circumstantial differences. Individual differences include variables (age, socio-economic status, experience) already known in the literature, also considering health. Circumstantial differences include audience and place. Place can be public, semi-public, or private and considered from the viewpoints of location (size, pathways) and degree of familiarity. Audience was considered from the amount and role of people at presence (alone, with friends, with strangers). To the authors' knowledge, these circumstantial differences have not been discussed in the user acceptance literature before.
Keywords: Acceptance; Adoption; Smart environments; TAM-based models; Diffusion theories; Domestication; Acceptance levels; In-depth expert interview
Design recommendations for camera-based head-controlled interfaces that replace the mouse for motion-impaired users BIBAKFull-Text 471-482
  Cristina Manresa-Yee; Javier Varona; Francisco J. Perales; Iosune Salinas
This work focuses on camera-based systems that are designed for mouse replacement. Usually, these interfaces are based on computer vision techniques that capture the user's face or head movements and are specifically designed for users with disabilities. The work identifies and reviews the key factors of these interfaces based on the lessons learnt by the authors' experience and by a comprehensive analysis of the literature to describe the specific points to consider in their design. These factors are as follows: user features to track, initial user detection (calibration), position mapping, feedback, error recovery, event execution, profiles and ergonomics of the system. The work compiles the solutions offered by different systems to help new designers avoid problems already discussed by the others.
Keywords: Human-computer interaction; Camera-based interfaces; Vision-based interfaces; Accessibility; Design factors; Disabled users
State of the science on the Cloud, accessibility, and the future BIBAKFull-Text 483-495
  Amrish Chourasia; Dan Nordstrom; Gregg Vanderheiden
A state of the science conference on the Cloud, accessibility and the future was held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on September 21 and 22, 2013. The desired outcomes of the conference were a better understanding of current and emerging issues around digital inclusion, a better understanding of where things are going, and what strategies for effectively addressing inclusion in the rapidly changing world we live in might be. Speaker presentations were pre-recorded and posted on YouTube®. During the conference, participants discussed the issues raised in these presentations and other topics. Topics discussed included the threefold emerging threat to ICT inclusion; the approaching ICT/web/Cloud inflection point -- and how it changes existing rules; Cloud-based auto-personalization as an approach to inclusion (concept, status of implementation and plans); security and privacy, risks and options, related to personalization and Cloud-based solutions; non-technical issues and realities in national and global deployment and use of technical solutions; providing the tools necessary for industry to build accessibility into next and next-next generation everyday products; globally realistic/affordable approaches to scaling, sustainability and propagation; impact of digital inclusion on national prosperity, education and literacy; need for Cloud-based solutions in government services, health, voting, education, etc., and the demands these areas may impose on solutions. The summaries for the speaker presentations and recommendations regarding research, policy and education generated during the conference are presented in this paper.
Keywords: Universal design; Auto-personalization; Cloud computing; Accessibility architecture