Computers are used by a selection of different people, and a majority of those people can use a computer or device without any problems. However, there are people which have various needs which make using everyday computers difficult. There are a vast amount of ways HCI could change for people with specialist needs. Designers take lots of things into account when designing an interface because they need to keep in mind about how a person with a certain need will use the interface. You need HCI to develop specialist interface because you have to take the pressure off people with lisps, hearing impairment, visions impairment and so on and create a way they can interact.
For example, a designer of an interface will have to think about if the interface will be speech-activated for visually impaired people. Visual ImpairmentIf someone is visually impaired, it means that they have difficulty in looking at or reading large amounts of text on a screen or are unable to see object at all or just a far distance away from them. Visual disabilities can be caused in a few ways such as a disease or infection which causes the person to lose their vision or some people are just born with it (born blind). Being visually impaired can make using a computer very difficult as the user will struggle to see the icons on the screen and the keys on a keyboard.
However, designers have created software and devices that are designed to help these people with visual impairment.Braille keyboards are unique keyboards that allows the user to type and enter text or instructions for the computer in braille. Braille is a system of raised dot that can be read with the fingers by people who are visually impaired. Braille isn’t a language but is rather a type of code, this type of code helps people who can’t see do the same tasks someone with perfect eyesight can do. onscreen narrator or screen reader are systems designed to allow a narrator to read text on your computer screen aloud and describe events such as notifications or calendar appointments. This allows you to use your computer without a screen or in the case of visually impaired people use their computer even if they can’t see the screen as everything they do is read out to them.
Another feature that can help visually impaired people is the option to zoom in the screen. By zooming in the screen, you enhance the size of any pictures and change the size of the text allowing people who can’t read small writing to be able to read it easily.Voice control/ recognition is a very useful software for phones and computers that can be used by people with visual impairment because it allows them to operate the phone or computer by talking to it.
Voice control is specialist HCI software that allow user to operate through their device without using hands and requires no sight to operate. Voice control works by recording what person is saying and then its coverts what is been said into text. I think it is very useful for people with disabilities because people can use the voice control to record what they want the computer to do and then the computer will do the action they have specified. Voice control can also help people with different disabilities. In my opinion I think voice control will become more popular not just for specialist situations in the near future because of the strain injury that is caused by using keyboards and I believe voice control will replace typing since voice recognition will do the typing for people.
Hearing Impairment If a person suffers with hearing impairment or as it is also known hearing loss, it means they only have partial hearing or total inability to hear. A deaf person has little to no hearing at all and can be diagnosed when a hearing test is performed to see the person can hear at least 25 decibels in at least one ear. Hearing loss can be caused by damage to the inner ear, through aging and exposure to a very loud noise such as an explosion. Suffering from hearing impairment only effects your ability to listen to videos and sound coming from computers or laptops. Designers have implemented ways to allow hearing impaired people to understand what is being said in a video with the use of captions which go into detail on what is being spoken and also describes any background noise there may be.
When a person’s physical capacity to move, perform physical activities and coordinate actions is limited this is known as physical impairment. When a person is physically impaired it makes it harder to perform daily challenges which most people would find relatively easy to complete, when it comes to using a computer they tend to have issues using a mouse or keyboard. Designers have made special devices that help with people who are physically impaired such as keyboards that can be operated with your eyes and mouse’s which are twice the size and have a scroll ball instead of physically moving the mouse.
Microsoft is launching a new Xbox controller, which was developed to meet the needs of people with disabilities. The controller features two large buttons on the face, which can be operated with hands, elbows or feet. It is designed to be placed on the player’s lap, on the floor, or on the table, allowing for a number of control options. The main feature is the row of 3.5mm ports along the rear of the pad, representing each of the inputs and buttons on the standard controller. Using these 19 ports the user can plug in a range of add-on devices such as bite switches, foot pedals, touch-sensitive pads and other accessibility products allowing you to make a controller that is specified for your physical impairment. This controller allows the user to play games as if they were using a normal controller, it gives the opportunity to people who once couldn’t play video games the chance to play games. How the Effectiveness of HCI’s can be Measured?
The Effectiveness of HCI can be measure in two ways quantitative measure and qualitative measure. Quantitate measure focuses on the factual figures and statistic surrounding the use of the system while qualitative measure focuses on the user’s satisfaction with the system for example how easy it is to you and are people able to use the system that are relatively new to the experience.The effectiveness of HCI can be measured with quantitative measure through the usability of a computer system by a human. Human computer interaction can be measured by testing speed of interaction, number of errors from actions, ease of understand by the user, cost of the system and cost to train users to be able to use it.
There are other ways to measure the effectiveness of HCI for example measuring how long it takes a user to perform a specific task. If you were to measure speed for instance this can be done by getting a few people to test the system and then get feedback off them about the system. You can time how long it takes the person to do a particular task and work out the mean of the total time of all the people and compare it to the mean total time of another system. The effectiveness of a system can be measured by doing the following: How quickly the user can input a command into the system, the speed in which the user can type in any data, time taken for the response given by the interface and then the length of time necessary for the user to comprehend the result. This has to be done very carefully because you want the most reliable result and time of how long it takes the user to perform a specific task. The speed at which an interface interacts with the user is necessary to its effectiveness. If it reacts very slowly to the user, then it is likely to be ineffective.
Therefore, it is important that that the interface is responsive, quick and useful in order for the interface to be effective.The effectiveness of HCI can be measured with qualitative measure through collecting written reviews on the system. Collecting reviews on the system is important cause instead of getting just figures to tell you how your system has done (if it is cheap etc.) you can get first hand reviews from people who have used it. These reviews will be honest and allow you to gather feedback which you can use to alter and improve the product. You can collect reviews through methods such as surveys and questionnaires.