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A Shorthand Word Expansion System for cDexterity Impaired Users Essay

A Shorthand Word Expansion System for cDexterity Impaired Users Essay

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A Shorthand Word Expansion System for cDexterity Impaired Users Essay

Many systems have been devised to assist people with disabilities in communicating with others . This area of research is referred to as AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication). This project aimed to create a system which, by the use of SMS shorthand, would reduce the user input required to produce a desired text. The software implemented allows the user to write shorthand and see it expanded in real-time. It adapts to the patterns of use, becoming more accurate over time. Evaluation of the system was conducted by users with dexterity impairments to gauge its success in meeting the ir needs. This evaluation contributed to the final conclusions drawn as to whether such a system could compete with or usefully compliment existing solutions.

The computer is often heralded as a means of helping people with disabilities to meet their needs. For those with speech impairments, by writing the de sired text into a computer, a screen reader can be used to produce verbal output. For those with movement impairments computer technology and the Internet have opened up new possibilities such as the ability to work from home. Unfortunately, for many such users , input to a computer is slow or painful due to conditions such as Motor Neurone Disease1 or Muscular Dystrophy2. There is therefore a need for systems that reduce the necessary input (e.g. keystrokes) for such users whilst staying true to their originally intended output.

Identifying the end user group is key to successful software development. This is especially true in providing an accessibility tool to disabled users. The target user group for this s oftware is primarily cognitively unimpaired people with dexterity impairments who are familiar with typing but find it to b e a slow pro ce ss. This may be due to an adult-onset disability such as Parkinsonís Dise ase3 or Muscular Dystrophy

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1 Introduction 5
2 Background 9
2.1 Types of Input Devices and Existing Solutions . . . . 9
2.2 Shorthand Used . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
2.3 Tokenization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
2.4 Potential Domains of Use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
2.5 Corpora . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
3 Design 19
3.1 Principles of External Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
3.2 Interac tion with the System from a User Perspective 20
3.3 GUI Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
3.4 Additional Features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
4 Implementation 29
4.1 Principles of Internal Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
4.2 Development Technologies and Potential User Platforms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
4.3 System Components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
4.4 Intelligent Adaptation to the User . . . . . . . . . . . 39
5 Results 41
5.1 Ability to perform expansions . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
5.2 Adding Missing Expansions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
5.3 Adapting to the User . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
5.4 Loading/Saving/Clearing the status , and Exporting
to a .txt file . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
5.5 Known Remaining Issues : . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
6 Testing and Evaluation 51
6.1 Testing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
6.2 Evaluation by the Targe t User Group . . . . . . . . . 53
6.3 Accuracy Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
6.4 Possible Future Extensions to the Syst m . . . . . . . 57
7 Conclusions 60
8 App endix A: Comparison of EasyScript
R and the
proposed SMS shorthand 65
9 Appendix B: Prompts, Warnings and Error Messages 67
10 Appendix C: Comparison of Perl and Python Prototypes 68
11 Appendix D: The Abbreviations Database 69
12 Appendix E: The Word Dictionary 70
13 Appendix F: Sample PyUnit Tests 72
14 Appendix G: Evaluation Text and Questionnaires 74
15 Appendix H: Texts Used for Accuracy Analysis 75
16 Appendix I: Original Project Plan 78

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