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General data about the SME and clients

  • Occupational therapist for Vision Technology Services at OCAD U
  • Sees clients on a regular basis (4/week)
  • Client demographic:
    • More adults than children, with most adults being 50+
    • Roughly equal split gender-wise
    • Half are on government ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program)
    • Occupationally:
      • Some have small part-time jobs (e.g., at a store)
      • Those who do not receive ODSP support are working if within working age, mostly in a professional setting (office work, teachers, etc.) that depends on computers
    • Technical ability:
      • Most clients depend on the use of the computer
      • Client computer savvy depends largely on age
      • Older clients less likely to be computer savvy, though some are
      • Most clients are familiar with basic operation of email, internet browsing, basic word processing, etc.
      • Some clients have more involved usage of the computer (finance, etc.), many use it for social networking (Facebook, etc.)
      • Most clients have used a computer in the past, though some have almost no experience

Client challenges

  • Most clients have low-vision or blindness
  • Non-vision issues
    • Mainly brain-related (e.g., CP, stroke, autism, developmental delay, Down syndrome, brain injury)
    • Some with wrist injury, carpel tunnel
  • Vision disabilities include:
    • Low-vision
    • Photo sensitivity to glare or bright lights
      • Users with this issue often prefer black backgrounds
    • Difficulty tracking (identification + tracking)
    • Fatigue (esp. eye fatigue)
    • Field cuts
      • Central vision only
      • Peripheral vision only
    • Blind spots
    • Floaters
    • Double vision (often caused by one eye pointing in a different direction than the other)
      • Considerations: if double vision is vertical, we can crop the line above and below to enable focus on the line; if double vision in horizontal, can increase letter/word spacing
    • Colour blindness

Range of preferences

  • Ability to change colour schemes (SME isn't sure if clients use this on the web, but can imagine that it would be)
    • Contrast (mainly high)
    • Black background, if photo-sensitive
  • Bold letters
  • Clear landmarks on the page to help navigation when zoomed
  • Screen reader accessibility: meaningful links, structure, etc.
  • Most clients prefer sans serif fonts for reading on the computer
  • Larger text size
  • Spacing between lines
    • Also spacing between letters and words, but this is less often

Things that would be nice to have

  • Real-time OCRing of images in websites
  • More portable options for ATs (equipment that looks less like adaptive technologies, and are lighter and easier to carry)
  • Better OCR
  • Identification of cursor, cursor targeting
  • Some solution for information overload
    • For some clients, the amount of information that's presented dramatically slows the processing of what they see
    • They need a solution for helping to identify what they're looking for within the deluge of information (recognize items in a slew)
    • Like a list of things, or a view of the breadth with help directing to the appropriate places
    • Existing solution: Dolphin Guide (menu-driven simplification system)
  • Speech synthesis still sounds mechanical and not human
  • Often partial vision clients are visual learners, and the auditory alternatives aren't good enough
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