Iconic Interfaces for Assistive Communication
Abhishek (Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India) and Anupam Basu (Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India)
Copyright: © 2006
A significant fraction of our society suffers from different types of physical and cognitive challenges. The seriousness of the problem can be gauged from the fact that approximately 54 million Americans are classified as disabled (Ross, 2001). In addition, approximately 7% of all school-age children experience moderate to severe difficulties in the comprehension and production of language due to cognitive, emotional, neurological, or social impairments (Evans, 2001). The problems faced by this community are diverse and might not be comprehended by their able-bodied counterparts. These people can become productive and independent, if aids and devices that facilitate mobility, communication, and activities of daily living can be designed. Researchers in the human-computer interaction and rehabilitation engineering communities have made significant contributions in alleviating the problems of the physically challenged. The technology, that assists the physically challenged to lead a normal life is termed assistive technology. This article dwells on different aspects of assistive technology that have found application in real life. One of the important approaches to assistive technology is the use of iconic environments that have proved their efficacy in dealing with some of the communication problems of the physically challenged. The second part of the article discusses the issues and methods of applying iconic interfaces to assist the communication needs of the physically challenged.