Bringing design to software


This paper gives the introduction of the few concepts in human computer interaction with practical implementation of the HCI concepts. This paper addresses the many factors involved in the design of user interfaces for elderly persons and persons with severe disabilities.

This document provides an introduction to use of the Web by people with disabilities. It illustrates some of their requirements when using Web sites and Web-based applications

The paper discusses different disabilities that can affect web accessibility and the general requirements for Web access by people with physical, visual, hearing, and cognitive or neurological disabilities.

The paper also discusses some types of assistive technologies and adaptive strategies used by some people with disabilities when accessing the Web and also develop a set of guidelines that can help Web designers ensure accessibility and usability of Web pages for older people.


Our main goal is to identify the best solution for the impaired people so that they can use internet. To understand the basic problems we have conducted interviews and the questionnaire covers all the aspects from technical skills to the personal experiences. Based on the literature reviews we took the best tools and discussed the advantages and disadvantages. In this research we will use following methods historic-logic method used to determine the previous research about the human computer interfaces for impaired people and synthetic-analytic method to process the obtained information. We have suggested the solution where we combine "sixth sense technology" and neuroprosthetics to help impaired people.

Scenarios of People with Disabilities Using the Web

Visual disabilities, Blindnessor low vision, Color blindness, Motor disabilities, Speech disabilities: Speech disabilities can include difficulty producing speech that is recognizable by some voice recognition software. Cognitive and neurological disabilities, Dyslexia, Attention deficit disorder (difficulty focusing on information.).Intellectual disabilities (learn more slowly, or have difficulty understanding complex concepts)


Human-Computer Interaction, abbreviated as HCI, is explained as the "study of how people interact with computing technology" (Olson & Olson 2003).

W3C'sWeb Accessibility Initiative(WAI) works with organizations around the world to make the Web more accessible for people with disabilities and older users. The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) has developed Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

Another useful resource for web designers is "Bobby", a software tool that checks Web pages for accessibility, reports on problem areas, and suggests possible improvements. Bobbywas a free online tool, written by Josh Krieger and provided by the Centre for Applied Special Technology (CAST) used to validate websites forWAIandSection 508 compliance (Section 508was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, to make available new opportunities for people with disabilities, and to encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals). The software became well known for the usage of theBobby Approvedicon that website authors could use to indicate they have successfully passed the Bobby online test.

The free tool was officially closed by the owners,IBM, on February 1, 2008. The software is now available as part of IBM's Rational Policy Tester Accessibility Edition.

Currently, the Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool (WAVE) provides this free service

WAVE is a free web accessibility evaluation tool provided byWebAIM. It is used to aid humans in the web accessibility evaluation process. Rather than providing a complex technical report, WAVE shows the original web page with embedded icons and indicators that reveal the accessibility of that page. Like Bobby and Wave there are a number of evaluation tools and techniques that web designers can employ to test the accessibility of their sites. However, there is no real substitute for user testing, and designers should, wherever possible, involve users of assistive technology in the testing and evaluation of the accessibility of their websites. Elderly persons with disabilities have limited access to the benefits of the Information Society because their special requirements are seldom taken into account in user interface design. In fact, designing for such users requires the consideration of many factors reflecting the diversity of disability types, disability degree, and their interplay. Moreover, aging is a dynamic process where disabilities progress at varying rates and new disabilities may emerge at any time. Like elderly persons, severely handicapped persons have limited access to the benefits of the Information Society. The difference between elderly persons and severely handicapped persons is that the later exhibit a large number of disabilities that, in general, emerged much faster than with elderly persons. Such disabilities are usually much more severe than the disabilities found with elderly persons. Once disabilities settle in, the user profile of severely handicapped persons is very stable. Changes are very slow if they happen at all. As with elderly persons, disability profile diversity is extremely high. Most elderly persons and disabled persons have never been involved in computer usage throughout their life. Therefore, such persons apply problem-solving strategies that are foreign to computer literate persons. Such strategies are usually based on analogies that derive from their experience with commonly used appliances such as radios and TV sets. There have been some reports of persons attempting to use WWW browsers the way VCRs are used. Interface designers must identify these "unusual" analogies and use them in the interfaces they design, to make the most of the metaphors involved. Moreover, user models must be updated to take into account these analogies. Documents that are presented in an image-based format such as GIF or TIF will not be accessible to people who are blind or vision-impaired and who rely on braille or synthetic-speech output to read computer screens.

The Portable Document Format (PDF) file system developed by Adobe has become widely used for making documents available on web pages. Despite considerable work done by Adobe, PDF remains a relatively inaccessible format to people who are blind or vision-impaired.

New versions of screen-reading software are generally quite expensive, and training opportunities are limited. Web designers should assume that most users with a disability will not have access to the most current version of software, or know how to use its advanced features.

With the growing concern on universal access and usability, more frameworks for analyzing problems have appeared. Clement and Shade (1999) suggest seven layers of analysis: carriage facilities, devices, software tools, content services, service/access provision, literacy/social facilitation, and governance. They see usability as a problem, especially for users with handicaps, and encourage consideration of the wide range of users and needs. Universal usability is sometimes referred to meeting the needs of users who are disabled or work in disabling conditions. The adaptability needed for users with diverse physical, visual, auditory, or cognitive handicaps is likely to benefit users with differing preferences, tasks, hardware, etc. (Glinert and York, 1992).

In case of information systems, we feel that better systems are developed by better methods. But we have to find the actual difference between the method and technique. A method is always based on specific purpose on specific values where as technique is smaller in scope and defines how to achieve a given method. The different methods where a thoughtful designer will use for designing any project are inquiry, contextual inquiry, why-why-why [1]

Inquiry is more about knowing about the design specifications,

Contextual inquiry which consists of interviews and observations where the goal is to construct rich picture of actual work, it is guided by three principles, context which starts with real work, partnership and focus where everybody focuses on something different in same situation.

Why-why-why inquiry where everyone starts building a chain of reasoning backward from original situation. Consider a scenario where

Doctor:- I am not happy with x-ray images currently handled

Designer:- why?

Doctor: Because i get wrong images sometimes

Designer: why

Doctor: Staff makes mistakes to operate the machine

Designer: why

Doctor: Hard to use machine

So this continues until u find where the problem is but this method doesn't always get the solution it depends on the way we approach. The aim of future workshop is for future users to clarify the common problems in current situation, create visions about the future. It has three phases critique phase is brainstorming session on the problems in the current work, fantasy phase is oriented towards unrestricted ideas on what future situation would look like, implementation phase where each group starts representing it vision. The aim of brainstorming is to help group of people to generate ideas and body storming is different from body storming where designers actually do things rather than sitting around and discussing. Method 635 is simple structure version of brain storming where six people generated 3 ideas in 5 rounds.

Personas scenarios and story board are the techniques used for detailed shaping [4]

Importance of prototyping in Human computer interface design [6][5]: Consider a situation where team has designed a interface and implemented in graphical interface or any other graphical tool and the result is shown to the users for approval. We will get a wide variety of comments from changing the background , font color, size of the font instead you would expect to get the feedback on the interface, and the control flow of the design. Now consider a different scenario where team designers have designed a paper prototype and test this paper prototype with certain users of the targeted community. One of the team member acts like a computer, other takes notes and the feedback from the user, and other explains the situation what appears when he clicks on this link. In this scenario designer team can change the design of the interface as suggested by the users in a very short time and retest the new design [6][7]. "The technique of building prototypes on paper and testing with real users is called as low-fidelity prototyping or low fi" [2]. It is very easy way to design your interfaces and test with real users unlike High-fi prototyping where it takes to design and redesigning is a very painful task. Low fi makes Fudd's law happen [2] "To get a good idea, get lots of ideas."

Hi-fi prototyping: All the designers have used many software tools, high level languages to mimic the final design of the project; we call this as Hi-fi prototypes. There are [2]

Hi-fi prototypes take very long time to build and more time to change the design [2]. Even in the present world designers take weeks to develop the hi-fi prototypes where as low fi prototypes are build in few hours and makes possible to have iterations on the design, more number of iterations, the best design would be. Moreover designer can spend more than 90% of time in the design and less time to decide on the tools to make prototypes [3]. Testers give feedback on the finish issues. They will completely neglect the workflow and interface design. Developers who have spend time to design the hi-fi prototypes; will definitely show some resistance to re design it .A single bug in the hi-fi prototype will halt all the testing process. You cannot proceed anymore. It gives false indications of the project completion as it gives the indications that project has been implemented, but the fact it is still in designing phase. Building a low fi prototype doesn't need any extra resources, just few thinking brains, bunch of papers and sketches, users to test the design. In the next section we will implement the above discussed concepts of human computer interaction.


Design an object, interface, system, or service intended to support the idea of utilizing or consuming local resources rather than global resources, in a sustainable and environmentally efficient manner.

To start with we have just gone through some brain storming sessions with my friends (James Anderson, Arsi) to come with an environment sustainable product. Presently global warming is the biggest threat we are facing which is mainly due to the pollution. To need environmental suitable goods, the products are designed which are reusable, recycled and takes less energy consumption. We have decided to design a web interface which educates people to produce electricity individually based on the environmental conditions they live and suggests various available methods like using solar panels, using the wind and tidal energy, using the pressure pads which generate the electricity when someone walks on them and many more. Here is the summary of the design and methods which we have used for implementation (goal directed design, ethnographic study, personas, scenarios, user based evaluation)

Goals for Primary Persona:

  • Learn different methods to produce the electricity.
  • Make friends online who are also interested to adopt these methods, get feedback from them.
  • Submits personal feedback.

Goals Secondary 1:

  • Wants the successful methods which are previously implemented by others.
  • Gives information about the free agencies which implements these services for free of cost.

Secondary Persona 2:

We usually design the websites considering the impaired people, but here are tips which have to be considered to make our site accessible to impaired users.

  1. Contrast is the most important factor, take special care in designing the websites background.
  2. Take measures so that site would be configurable by simply changing the settings will change the contrast ratio.
  3. Every image would have alternative text which describes the image so the speech recognizers can read the text.
  4. Providing the site map and provide alternative text for flash and java script files.

Strength of personas as design tool:- Personas are designed for specific individuals and specific needs. They are the fictional description of a group of users with similar behavior and goals. We usually create one persona per user group. Personas help to decide relevant functionality and give the basic steps for how to design. Goal oriented design is the primary goal of persona. They are based on research and are represented as individual people. Personas usually represent group of users and they have motivations. The personas are powerful, multipurpose tool that helps to solve most of the problems. Personas help designers to determine what product should do, its behavior. It is the common language for discussing design decisions with the stake holder. In Human computer interaction our main goal is to design products which satisfy users. We consider user as an elastic user. It means there are not real users with fixed requirements. Personas are developed by observing the users, and conducting interviews, information about users supplied by the stake holders, market research data, models, data from previous studies and literature studies. For constructing personas we have to follow these steps.

  • Revisit the persona hypothesis.
  • Map interview subjects to behavioral variables.
  • Identify significant behavior patterns.
  • Synthesize characteristics and relevant goals.
  • Check for completeness and distinctiveness.

The base components or persona are persona should have name, picture Description and goals. We create one interface per persona. Constructing personas is not as simple as it sounds. Evaluation of the design is done in various ways. Among them are observing users, asking experts, testing user's performance, modeling user's task performance.

Sketch is an image art and architecture. Sketch is used as a term for a preparatory, either of the main characteristics of an art object.

Scenarios: - Scenarios are story about the intended system, they can be characters based, it can be process, activity and it may include external constraints. We use scenarios when we intended to design the system based on the requirements or when we perform usability evaluation techniques. In the next section we will explain how to create scenarios. We create scenarios based on the filtering the user input data, identifying intended users, their tasks and general context, decomposing the user goals in to operations needed. Scenarios outline the user's activities, goals and motivation for using the system being designed and highlight the tasks they will perform. They maintain the design flexibility and do not specify the product features are used. Downside of personas is lack of precision, cumbersome to read and hard to translate into system specification, they are even hard to perform administrative tasks and are hard when scenarios overlap. The main differences between scenarios and personas are

  • Scenarios give the description of the problem, where as personas describes the familiarity with the user.
  • Scenarios are Narrative, personas are descriptive.
  • Scenarios describes the functionality of the system, Personas describes the activities or process flow in the system.
  • Scenarios are designed based on one view, where are personas are developed based on several views as we consider persona which represents group of users.

Web Accessibility for the impaired people [10]:-

Most WebPages are graphically oriented, with different fonts, flash images, frames which causes hard time for visually impaired people to access it. As stated in the above section w3c's web content provide guidelines about how to make web information accessible for disabled people.Past researches has shown that if if we follow the guidelines in designing interfaces, they are very much inefficient in solving the needs of impaired people Impaired people cannot access the information. In a recent study conducted by "Helen petrie" shows that out of 1000 websites not even 0.5% websites have followed the guidelines given by W3C consortium. Internet is the primary source for the information. As the technology advances, we have developed many ways to access the internet. It is hard to imagine our life without internet. Everyone wants to stay connected. All the user interfaces are developed for the people who don't have any physical disabilities. Think of blind and elderly people who want to access the internet. In addition to the problems due to inaccessibility of web content, the technologies used by the visually impaired people are causing problems, they mainly use screen readers which cannot handle graphical information, screen magnifiers, and keyboards with Braille display. More over screen readers read the matter sequentially it may take long time to reach the required information. so we need more enhanced interfaces. "Web speak ,"Brokes Talk summarizes the content of the web pages in order to improve the accessibility. Browsers were developed based on the 3D sound specialization. Multimodal interfaces can be one solution which can reduce the barriers faced by the impaired people. In order to design the multimodal interfaces we have to identify problems faced by the impaired people in accessing the internet. Group of interviews are conducted to find out the current problems. We queried 57 people about their experience in using internet. We have taken technical Experience, how often they uses internet, problems in regarding navigation, accessibility and usability issues, how do they think of graphics and images while accessing internet and lastly what are the reasons they haven't tried to use computer or to use internet.

Next section will explore the present technologies used by the impaired people and try to bring the best possible solution. Based on the interviews we realized that people face problems in pages containing java script, flash images, embedded web forms and files.

WebbIE is the web browser designed for the blind people to access internet. WebbIE has been in use since the year 2001 all over the world. It is free tool which as number of accessible programs that provides both news and audio, allows people to use podcasts, listen songs, listen to RSS feeds and helps to access websites. It is mainly designed for the Microsoft system which uses internet explorer. It actually doesn't read the web pages but it converts the document to which is accessible to screen reader. The object is capable of retrieving a web page and parsing it into a standard Word Wide Web Consortium (W3C) document format which can be queried by WebbIE [9] for information regarding the web page itself. The main disadvantage is it works only on windows systems. It supports all types of HTML links, it gets only the text content of the webpage, removes any flash content or images, tables. It follows the principle of, 'maximum output in minimum speech,' means users can choose what not content text is displayed. The person can either have image descriptions provided to them, or discard them entirely. Output from WebbIE is in plain text format that can be moved around or searched, similar to a text document, yet retaining vital HTML functionality with forms and links. It provides many other features like magnification of the content where they can see up to little extent. It finally eases the way for the blind people to access the internet. These tools fail when users are dumb. We do have many tools for interpreting sign languages. Presently we have interpreters which can interpret the sign languages partially and convey the messages but cannot convert the actions [16][17].

Sixth sense technology

From the past thousand years since man has evolved, we have been using our five senses see, touch, smell, hear, taste to make the decisions or to know about the present environment conditions. All we need is information which is understandable and this quest made man to invent and discover various technologies (computers, phones .automobiles, etc).Due to advent of these technologies the life style of man is completely changed now he has been wondering in the physical and digital world creating barriers between these two worlds.

Most of the technologies emerged to make life better; most of them were developed without considering the impaired people who cannot use these technologies like phones, internet.etc. Now with the advent of the "Sixth sense technology" will solve our problems. This paper explains the concepts of "Sixth sense technology-where your world" and how this can be made useful to the partially impaired people to communicate with others and serve their daily needs.

sixthsense02Introduction [11][12][13]:- sixth sense technology is small device which consists of camera, projector and mirror which recognizes your hand gestures to communicate with device, moreover you can use any surface to project the information. Camera tracks your gestures, u have the freedom to use all four figures to make gestures. Camera is not only used to track the gestures but it can also recognize the objects which you hold, this technology gives seamlessly new ideas, once you open a book, WUV finds the million of articles related to that book and gives you the rating and more information. This device is integrated with your phone and you can use your palm to make calls. A simple gesture to take photo will take a snapshot. You can use any wall to browse these photos and mail to friends. Just your boarding pass will let you know about the flight timings [14][15].

You can even play videos, play games. It has power not even to combine physical and digital worlds but you can even process documents change data and drag to you personal computer to save the information similar to Microsoft surface. This whole setup costs 350 dollars.

This technology can be used in many ways. My intention is to make this technology used for impaired people to communicate with others, the hand gestures would let other people understand which would be the simplest solution rather than using nerve cell chip implantations in the body which can process the information and send the data to the external devices.

Various technologies have emerged to understand the sign language but with little success, this paper explains how to change the "sixth sense technology" which can be used by the partially impaired people for communication. We can make this device integrate with body cells as in "Neuroprosthetics" to understand the brain signals directly. Neuroprosthetics is a different branch of science where series of devices that can substitute a motor, sensory or cognitive modality that might have been damaged as a result of an injury or a disease. These implantations can communicate with brain directly. Neuroprosthetics (also called neural prosthetics) is a discipline related to neuroscience and biomedical engineering concerned with developing neural prostheses. Neural prostheses are a series of devices that can be used as substitutes as motor, sensory or cognitive modality that might have been damaged due to injury or a disease. Cochlear implants are example for such devices. This device replaces the ear drums.

Microphone will transfer the sound signal which is processed by the implanted unit that stimulates the nerves through a microelectrode. The development of this kind of devices has a significant impact on the quality of human life. Scientists are conducting experiments on animals by using this kind of devices to understand how brain works. Wireless neuro recording from the brain of awake, freely behaving animals can open many important doors into understanding how the brain handles different functions. These details will help the scientists to understand the neuron structure and how would they react in different situations.

There are many challenges to develop these implantations which can replace the sensor organs of human body. They should be very small. These devices should communicate to the outside world wirelessly. So sticking out of wires from the brain is not an option, and we have to take precautions so this implantation do not hinder the growth of tissues surrounding it and doesn't create any infection. As you can imagine there are lot of technical problems and many consideration to b taken before developing such kind of devices and make sure that these implantations would not hinder the social life. Technology has both bad and good effects. so we should take care and let's hope that in the near future devices become safer and the our understanding of how the brain works enhances the use of these devices will become more and more common and help people with severe disabilities live a normal life. The future holds an exciting prospect for the everyday use of a variety of neural prostheses.

As neuroposthetics takes some time to become true which can help the disabled people by substituting the sensory organs? Now our Idea is to combine the sixth sense technology and neuroprosthetics to help impaired people to do browsing or day to day life. Till now we haven't developed the devices which can replace the sensory organs but we have developed the devices which can capture the brain signals. So we can use this devices which can communicate with the "where your world" and make things which would be considered as dream before.


This paper has given you the introduction to human computer interaction design and basic concepts. Moreover paper implemented those concepts in design a website for users which educates them in generating electricity. We have presented the current problems faced by the impaired people. Briefly presented the techniques and tools used by the impaired people. We have put forth the advantages and disadvantages in the present technology. Most of the tools ore interfaces till now haven't solved the problems in making web accessible for impaired users. We We indicated the potential of "sixth sense technology" and how it would be useful for the impaired people for browsing the internet as it is very small device, they can carry along with them and it is called as "wear your world". Not only browsing it will be helpful in shopping reading books, guiding them based on the GPRS system build in it. There are many ways and many fields where it can be used. We have suggested a solution which will combine the advent of sixth sense technology and neuroprosthetics which will be a boon if it would be developed. Let's wait for near future where this dream project becomes true which will change the world.


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