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Article: Every User Deserves a Personalized Interface

From the Chronicle of Higher Education...

Every User Deserves a Personalized Interface
July 16, 2008

One size does not fit all, at least when it comes to user interface design. Researchers at the University of Washington have come up with a system to automatically generate interfaces that fit the users’ vision and motor abilities, making clicking easier.

In a paper presented yesterday at the meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, the researchers described a system, dubbed Supple, that puts each user through a test of mouse pointing, dragging and clicking skills. The system then assesses the person’s performance and automatically generates a personalized interface that improves the user’s performance when using a specific program. This is particularly useful for people who have trouble controlling a mouse or a pointer, such as disabled and elderly people.

Thus, Supple will build an interface with larger buttons and expanded lists for users with cerebral palsy, who move cursors spastically. If the user suffered muscular dystrophy and had trouble in moving the cursor, the system would generate an interface with smaller buttons and a condensed layout.

Supple can reduce the performance gap between people with disabilities and those users who don’t have any by 62 percent. Disabled users also say they prefer the custom-made interfaces, a University of Washington’s press release says.
—Maria José Viñas

Posted by kkowatch at July 17, 2008 08:12 AM

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