KPR is empowering the severely disabled by helping them use a computer up to 150% faster.
The Scanning Wizard web app identifies the best configuration for a disabled person’s text-entry system, dramatically increasing their communication speed.
People with severe physical impairments can find it very difficult to use a standard keyboard or mouse. Some operate a computer using only a single button or switch.
In these single-switch scanning systems, the computer cycles slowly through different choices. When it arrives at an option the user wants, they activate their switch. Text entry speeds at just one word/minute are common.
Koester Performance Research (KPR) develops tools that improve computer access for people with disabilities.
In 2014, Dr. Heidi Koester and a colleague devised a method for improving the text-entry speed of people who use single-switch scanners. With a grant from the NIH, Koester came to Atomic Object looking to develop a tool that would enable users across the globe to benefit from her findings.
Working closely together, Koester and the Atomic team developed Scanning Wizard, an elegant web app that guides single-switch users through a series of tasks designed to measure their response time and scanning effectiveness.
Scanning Wizard uses these tests to generate individually-tailored recommendations for each user’s system, including adjustments to their scan speed, delay, and keyboard layout.
Scanning Wizard has user privacy at its core, using Ember.js to create an app that functions entirely in the user’s browser without any need for a server database. User data is stored locally and deleted upon closing the browser window. Anonymized results can be collected and saved during field tests to help the KPR team improve its algorithm.
Scanning Wizard has really exceeded my expectations. I went into the project with requirements but no real picture of what the end product would be like, and I came out with something that represents the project in a great way. Compared to other projects I’ve worked on, this app is the best designed—both the code and the visual design. It’s extremely polished. Heidi Koester, Ph.D., President
- Using the Scanning Wizard methods, users of single-switch scanning have increased their text-entry speed by an average 120% — with some users improving as much as 300%.
- Dr. Koester and her team are running a field study of the Scanning Wizard in 2016 to further test and improve their algorithm and method.
- Scanning Wizard was designed so that Dr. Koester can edit the app’s code and adjust the algorithm, incorporating knowledge gathered during the field study.
Initial studies have shown that, by adjusting the settings to the user’s ability, you can boost their speed significantly. It’s a small population but a large potential impact. Heidi Koester, Ph.D., President
Atomic provided visual design and web app development for Scanning Wizard using Ember.js.
- Software Product Design
- User Research
- Information Architecture
- Interaction Design
- Visual Design
- Software Development
- User Testing
- Exploratory Testing