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Improve the Lifestyle - Dissertation Sample

20 Mar 2017Dissertation Samples

Improve the lifestyle of someone who had a serious visual impairment or mobility problem

There is no doubt that technological development has come a long way. Technology has also helped people with particular disabilities. An example of this is the development of modernized wheel chairs that disabled people use; they only need to touch a device with their chin or even have a remote control in their hand. These devices can be innovated according to each one's need, and this has been the case with wheel chairs and other equipment for some time now.  

Since interfaces are now talked about for facilitating people within their homes, visually impaired individuals have also been taken into consideration. Since many of these individuals are confined to their homes, it is thought that they could use interface facilities to help them get chores and tasks done single-handedly.

A User Interface for a Visually Disabled Person:

Having an interface developed so that a visually impaired person can access it is a great thought; not only would it be an amazing innovation, but would be a great facilitation for the visually disabled . 

Often referred to as revamping, the process of transforming a user interface for the use of a visually disabled person has advantages and disadvantages as well. First of all, revamping may include:

• Scrutiny of user interface, removal of unnecessary forms.
• Redesign of user interface.
• Classification and substitution of user interface components.
• Automated interpretation of character stream interface.

The advantages of re-vamping or modifying an interface for the visually disabled include:

• Gives impression of new application to user/customer
• Often easy/cheap to implement
• Minimal affect on core of application
• Makes interface maintenance easier
• Provides opportunity for incremental replacement of old system

The disadvantages of re-vamping or modifying an interface for the visually disabled include:

• No changes in the major application, which is the older code or software behind the user interface
• Does not allow the system to be further evolvable
• Introduction of new code – overall size of system may increase
• May require further changes to old system - introduction of errors

In creating or modifying a user interface, one would have to consider the basics that an interface functions according to keeping in mind the basics the advantages and disadvantages above.. It is known that the interface is such a device that has the ability to receive instructions from a user (one who can see) and transform those commands into operations immediately or according to a program. It has features that help a person to type in passwords and usernames in order to gain access. The user interface functions according to comprehending or recognizing usernames and passwords; in other words it recognizes a user through these, and would not be able to follow instructions if it did not understand these . Similarly, a user interface would need to understand instructions from a visually impaired person, but how?

Mode of Instruction:

The mode of instruction is different, and there needs to be some kind of change in the software. For this to happen, there would have to be new software created that would be able to read a different form of instruction to the device. This does not mean that the whole device has to be changed with its software; what might be done is the same device may be used, and only a portion of the software could be changed. This new soft ware would have to be linked to the rest of the system for it all to function properly. This is to say that the portion created would have to operate in tandem with the remaining software of the device.

An Alternative:

An alternative to this type of change, the transformation that could be brought about could include an addition of voice receptors that convert sound to electrical impulses. The user’s voice would have to be synchronized in the interface so that it can perceive instructions. The use of passwords by word can then be implemented (TAGSYS' CTO Takes Center Stage at …, 2004). However, for the visually disabled this is not the only alternative, as they could also use their sense of touch to use the interface.

Communication of the Visually Disabled and the User Interface:

The instruction would have to be based on the way that the visually disabled communicate. The visually disabled usually communicate (read and understand) through their sense of touch. Things like brail are used in order to help them read, and so, some features like these would have to be considered. This means that instead of only changing the software of the system, the physical features of the device may be changed.

This is because this is the way that the visually disabled user would be able to understand the keys and operate the interface. An example of the change in physical features would be the change in the sizes of the buttons on the device. Just like one might see the large buttons on phones for those who are visually disabled, a similar feature could be used for the interface. It is believed to be effective as well, because it has been known to help people with poor vision or no vision at all.

Physical Features of a User Interface for Visually Disabled Individual:

A point to also note here is that one might need to make sure that there are large-enough buttons of the user interface because it will prevent one from feeding in incorrect usernames and passwords. In addition to this, other features of the device will also be used correctly with these large buttons, as there are fewer chances of an individual hitting the wrong keys or buttons. 

Large buttons and suitable software created for accepting a mode of instruction would also help people who are visually impaired. In addition to the use of larger buttons on the interface, audio features could be used as well. This would truly help a visually impaired person find his or her way around a device and make them feel more comfortable using it.

Visually Disabled Individuals and controlling the user Interface:

Nearly everything can be handled in this way: setting a security system, handling calls coming in, receiving visitors, having operations in the kitchen carried out, etc. At least, the very basics of the operations in the kitchen could be conducted until someone comes home and deals with the rest. Having more complex systems that are capable of handling more functions would be even more beneficial, but usually a visually impaired person handling everything and living alone is not considered. However, in time to come, there is much more that is considered possible, such as a visually impaired person taking a shower on his or her own. Therefore, a visually impaired individual would not have to handle washroom controls on his or her own.

It may sound impossible, but a small program that could handle the time of the shower being turned on and off, could do the trick. In addition to this, the temperature of the water could also be controlled well through feeding in codes that adjust the temperatures. Similar to this kind of operation, there will be others that can be controlled just as much. Controlling smaller things like alarm clocks can also be handled. However, it is obvious that there would need to be a greater number of controls on the system unless there are adjustments made to the username subcategories. These would automatically log one in to the device to be tuned and set.

Remembering Usernames and Passwords:

A person would need to memorize what the usernames and passwords are or have them stored on the device in case they don’t remember them. However, it is better to memorize passwords and usernames rather than have them stored on the device because these important details could easily fall into the wrong hands. This is something that cannot be allowed to happen because of the fact that it could result in serious repercussions. Since the interface would also be controlling the security system, passwords getting into the wrong hands could be disastrous. 

It is worth considering that security systems handled through the interface is one of the primary reasons why the interface is installed in one’s home. Hence, those who handle it have to be careful with security and know exactly what they are doing. 
Also, programming the interface with incorrect timings and the like would mean that features such as the security system would not function appropriately. This means that there has to be an alternative manner to deal with this problem too.

People such as those that have a memory problem could be shown how to store and retrieve their usernames and passwords within the system. By doing this, they could have one general password to retrieve this information, and this password could be something easy for them to remember. This method is one that would be effective, as it reduces the load on an individual with a weak memory. Also, since a person with a weak memory would not have to worry much about remembering things, this would reduce the stress that some people might experience while using the interface.

Overcoming Nervousness:

It is known that many visually impaired people do feel nervous while using computerized equipment, especially those that are at an advanced age. However, this system is such that once one is acquainted with it, it is not anything that difficult; it is only a matter of getting familiar with it that is important. Once a person begins operating the system, it becomes a matter of practice as well. 

For people who are visually disabled, fear might be even greater, but as long as they are taught how to use it through feel, and if they are given adequate confidence, they would be able to use it appropriately and be more independent.

References:

  • Chignell, M.H. and Hancock. Intelligent Interfaces Theory, Research and Design, Elsevier Science Publishers B.V., New York, NY 1989.
  • Communicating Objects, 3-16-2005. 
  • Feder, B. 2003. "How to Find That Needle Hopelessly Lost In the Haystack." The New York Times, New York, NY.
  • Hall, John., Phillippi, Ryan., & Robbins, Tim. 2000 Will we destroy ourselves with technology that we make? Anti-Trust. MGM 
  • Lange, Larry. (10 June 1996). "Smart house: under construction." Electronic Engineering Times.
  • Shneiderman, Ben. 1998. Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction, Addison Wesley Longman, Inc.
  • Smart House. Title Page. (May 8, 1996). 
  • TAGSYS' CTO Takes Center Stage at Chicago Frontline Conference to Deliver RFID Facts on HF vs. UHF in Item-Level Pharma Solutions, Sep 10, 2004. 
  • TAGSYS Takes Quantum Leap In Tripling Its RFID Tag Production Jul 26, 2004http://www.tagsys.net/rfid-news-111-2-1.html
  • The 'Smart House' is Here." (13 Apr. 1995). Newsbytes. 

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