Internet Requirements of People with Communication Needs

Learning from Internet Requirements
of People with Communication Needs

Colette Nicolle1, Zaheer Osman1, Katharine Black2, and Andrew Lysley2

1Ergonomics and Safety Research Institute (ESRI), Loughborough University,
Holywell Building, Holywell Way,
Loughborough, Leics.
LE11 3UZ, United Kingdom,

2ACE Centre Advisory Trust, 92 Windmill Road, Headington,
Oxford   OX3 7DR, United Kingdom,

Abstract. A supportive Web browser, developed by the EU WWAAC project, aims to make the Internet easier to use by people with complex communication needs who use graphic symbol-based augmentative and alternative communication aids. Further user consultations with older users, people with aphasia and dyslexia have demonstrated that the ability to personalise Internet software (for example, through the provision of simple summaries of content and the ability to configure the interface to suit individual needs) can potentially provide more accessible and usable interfaces for other user groups.

1   Introduction

The goal of the EU WWAAC project (World Wide Augmentative and Alternative Communication) is to make the electronic highway more accessible and usable for people who have complex communication difficulties and who use graphic symbol-based augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) aids ( Despite advances in commercially available assistive technologies, people using AAC have commented on continuing difficulty and frustration in physical access to technology and subsequent reliance on non-disabled partners (Murphy, et al., 1996; Clarke et al., 2002). Therefore, one of the key objectives and evaluation criteria of the WWAAC project is to enable a higher degree of independent access for people with communication difficulties.

A number of research and development activities have been taking place since the project began in January 2001, including the development of an adapted Web browser email package, and supportive writing software, all tailored to the needs of people who use graphic-symbol based AAC. These developments have been informed and refined through an iterative design and evaluation process, beginning with a survey of the requirements of end-users and their facilitators, followed by simulator studies, and alpha and beta evaluations with AAC users.

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ICCHP WWAAC paper_zo

CareOnLine – Helping the elderly with computers and the Internet

Introducing computers and the Internet to older users: findings from the Care OnLine project

zaheer osman, david poulson

Ergonomics and Safety Research Institute (ESRI)
Loughborough University
Holywell Building, Holywell Way, Loughborough, Leics. LE11 3UZ

Telephone: +44 (0) 1509 283300

Fax:        +44 (0) 1509 283360

Category: Long paper

Keywords: Elderly, attitudes, computer, Internet, Internet scheme, training and support

Abstract: This paper reports the findings from a two year pilot project called Care OnLine.  The Care OnLine project has introduced computers and the Internet into the homes of 50 elderly and vulnerable volunteers and provided shared Internet access at 5 shared schemes housing older people across the Market Harbrorough district of Leicestershire.  A specific web portal was designed that was geared towards older and vulnerable people and provided links to relevant websites and information about the different services available to them.   All the volunteers were provided with training in using computers and the Internet and interviewed regarding their experience.  Findings regarding their attitudes and experiences towards computers and the Internet are reported.  The impact having access to computers and Internet had on the volunteers and some lessons learnt from providing such a scheme are also discussed in this paper.

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COL Paper for UAIS