Eye-Tracking Measures Reveal How Changes in the Design of Aided AAC Displays Influence the Efficiency of Locating Symbols by School-Age Children Without Disabilities PurposeMany individuals with communication impairments use aided augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems involving letters, words, or line drawings that rely on the visual modality. It seems reasonable to suggest that display design should incorporate information about how users attend to and process visual information. The organization of AAC symbols ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2014
Eye-Tracking Measures Reveal How Changes in the Design of Aided AAC Displays Influence the Efficiency of Locating Symbols by School-Age Children Without Disabilities
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Krista M. Wilkinson
    The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
    Shriver Center, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Tara O’Neill
    The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
  • William J. McIlvane
    Shriver Center, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Disclosure:The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure:The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Krista M. Wilkinson: kmw22@psu.edu
  • Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor: Janna Oetting×
  • Associate Editor: Katherine Hustad
    Associate Editor: Katherine Hustad×
Article Information
Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Language
Research Article   |   April 01, 2014
Eye-Tracking Measures Reveal How Changes in the Design of Aided AAC Displays Influence the Efficiency of Locating Symbols by School-Age Children Without Disabilities
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2014, Vol. 57, 455-466. doi:10.1044/2013_JSLHR-L-12-0159
History: Received May 16, 2012 , Revised January 25, 2013 , Accepted June 19, 2013
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2014, Vol. 57, 455-466. doi:10.1044/2013_JSLHR-L-12-0159
History: Received May 16, 2012; Revised January 25, 2013; Accepted June 19, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 9

PurposeMany individuals with communication impairments use aided augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems involving letters, words, or line drawings that rely on the visual modality. It seems reasonable to suggest that display design should incorporate information about how users attend to and process visual information. The organization of AAC symbols can influence the speed and accuracy with which children select a target symbol on a display. This research examined why some displays facilitate responding.

MethodEye-tracking technology recorded point-of-gaze while children without disabilities engaged in a visual search task with 2 AAC displays. In 1 display, symbols sharing an internal color were clustered together. In the other display, like-colored symbols were distributed. Dependent measures were (a) latency to fixate on the target compared with distracters and (b) the number of fixations to target and distracters.

ResultsParticipants were significantly slower to fixate on the target when like-colored symbols were distributed; there was a significant increase in the number of fixations to distracters that did not share color with the target.

ConclusionsEfficient search was related to minimizing fixations to nonrelevant distracters. Vulnerability to distraction can be a significant problem in individuals with disabilities who use AAC. Minimizing the intrusion of such distraction may, therefore, be of importance in AAC display design.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by Project 2 of National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grant HD P01 25995 (awarded to the first author), UMMS–Shriver Center Grant P30 HD 004147 (awarded to the third author), and an award from the Hintz Family Endowed Chair in Children's Communicative Competence (awarded to the first author). Thanks to all the individuals who contributed their time and effort, including Kelly McStravock, Chihui Yong, Kara Weasen, Maggie Kennedy, and Megan Warrenfeltz (ISCAN analysis) and Hilary Lee, Amanda Lippert, and Jenn Nauss (TOBii analysis). We thank the participants and their families and the Families Interested in Research Studies (FIRSt) Families database at The Pennsylvania State University.
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