Keyboards, Screens, and Mice

Keyboards, Screens, and Mice

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6130-1.ch002
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This chapter deals generally with the developments in various interaction technologies. Interaction paradigms have shifted in the past from command line interfaces to graphical user interfaces exploiting heavily metaphors from the real to the digital world. Today, the traditional paradigm of interaction with a computer using a mouse, a keyboard, and a screen starts again to shift into new emerging paradigms employing a variety of technologies such as speech and gesture recognition. The functionality of a PC is now being transferred into devices such as mobile and wearable devices, exposing the need for new ways of interacting with devices. This chapter discusses how emerging interaction technologies can affect the eAccessibility domain by presenting opportunities, challenges, and dangers that lie ahead.
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For decades access devices such as special keyboards, switches, pointing devices, screen readers, TTS, Speech to Text apps, AAC devices have been developed and penetrated the market in order to facilitate the access in ICT for disabled people as well as to improve their quality of life. However, most of such devices are expensive to purchase, limited in capabilities with respect to functionalities supported, require special training and they are difficult to use especially for first time users. Therefore, such developments although they allowed disabled people to use ICT and in some cases actually to master the use of such access devices, the ICT penetration in the disability community is relatively low. In fact only 15% of those who need Assistive Tools and other devices, have these tools (Milliken, 2011). The reason for this can be multifold, i.e. expensive tools and lack of affordability, limited offer of functionalities, difficult to use and hard to learn how to use them, lack of innovation, platform dependency and lack of interoperability. Therefore, our analysis on new HCI interfaces that can advance eAccessbility by 2020 should identify such tools, applications and products that fulfil or have the potential to fulfil the following criteria:

  • Affordability and low cost/benefit ratio

  • User friendliness i.e. Easy to learn how to use them as well as easy to operate them

  • Significance i.e. to support functionalities that allow the disabled users implement as many tasks as possible that improve their quality of life and independent living

  • Reachability i.e. easy for the disabled users to reach points of purchase (places virtual or brick and mortar that the disabled user can reach for purchasing them

Based on the above, it is not surprising that at the end of 2011, there were 6 billion mobile subscriptions (MobiThinking, 2013), (estimates The International Telecommunication Union -2011). That is equivalent to 87% of the world population. And this is a huge increase from 5.4 billion in 2010 and 4.7 billion mobile subscriptions in 2009. Current mobile devices (based on iOS, Android, Symbian, Blackberry, Bada, Windows phone, etc.) satisfy at some level all the above four selection criteria which indicates that eAccessbility by 2020 should be based heavily on mobile technologies and phones and the applications and services that support them. Their functionality through the installation of new software apps can be significantly increased from measuring temperature to using them as universal remote controls for domestic appliances.

Furthermore, according to latest NMC Horizon Report (The New Media Consortium, 2012), released by the New Media Consortium and Educause Learning Initiative, four technologies that will affect the future are Mobile Apps, Tablet Computing, Gesture based computing, Internet of Things. More specifically:

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