Menu controller: making existing software more accessible for people with motor impairments
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Citation (published version)Paquette, Isaac; Kwan, Christopher; Betke, Margrit. "Menu Controller: Making Existing Software More Accessible for People with Motor Impairments", Technical Report BUCS-TR-2011-009, Computer Science Department, Boston University, March 2, 2011. [Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/2144/11366]
Menu Controller was developed to make existing software more accessible for people with severe motor impairments, especially individuals who use mouse-replacement input systems. Windows applications have menus that are difficult to access by users with limited muscle control, due to the size and placement of the menu entries. The goal of Menu Controller is to take these entries and generate customizable user interfaces that can be catered to the individual user. Menu Controller accomplishes this by harvesting existing menu items without needing to change any existing code in these applications and then by displaying them to the user in an external toolbar that is more easily accessible to people with impairments. The initial challenge in developing Menu Controller was to find a method for harvesting and re-displaying menu items by using the Windows API. The rest of the work involved exploring an appropriate way for displaying the harvested menu entries. We ultimately chose an approach based on a two-level sliding toolbar. Experiments with a user with severe motor impairments, who used the Camera Mouse as a mouse-replacement input system, showed that this approach was indeed promising. The experiments also exposed areas that need further research and development. We suggest that Menu Controller provides a valuable contribution towards making everyday software more accessible to people with disabilities.