Scanning-Based Interaction Techniques for Motor Impaired Users

Scanning-Based Interaction Techniques for Motor Impaired Users

Stavroula Ntoa (Foundation for Research and Technology–Hellas, Greece), George Margetis (Foundation for Research and Technology–Hellas, Greece), Margherita Antona (Foundation for Research and Technology–Hellas, Greece) and Constantine Stephanidis (Foundation for Research and Technology–Hellas, Greece & University of Crete, Greece)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 33
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4438-0.ch003
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Abstract

Scanning is an interaction method addressing users with severe motor impairments which provides sequential access to the elements of a graphical user interface and enables users to interact with the interface through at least a single binary switch by activating the switch when the desired interaction element receives the scanning focus. This chapter explains the scanning technique and reports on related approaches across three contexts of use: personal computers, mobile devices, and environmental control for smart homes and ambient intelligence environments. In the context of AmI environments, a recent research approach combining head tracking and scanning techniques is discussed as a case study.
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The Scanning Technique

Scanning is an interaction method addressing the needs of users with severe hand motor impairments. The main concept behind this technique is to eliminate the need for interacting with a computer application through traditional input devices, such as a mouse or a keyboard. Instead, users are able to interact with computing devices with the use of switches. In order to make the interactive objects composing a graphical user interface accessible through switches, scanning software is required, which goes through the interactive interface elements and activates the element indicated by the user through pressing a switch. In most scanning software, interactive elements are sequentially focused and highlighted (e.g., by a coloured marker). Furthermore, to eliminate the need for using a keyboard to type in text, an onscreen keyboard is usually provided.

There are several types of scanning techniques, mainly varying in their approach for accessing the individual interactive elements. The most popular scanning techniques include:

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