Conveying Affect and Emphasis Over Electronic Media

Electronic communication has become an integral component of everyday life in the 21st century. Social media, e-mail, and text-messaging have become the dominant modes of communication, and people are now using these channels for everything from simple business relations to the organization of nationwide protests. As these predominantly text-based communication channels continue to gain use, there exists an opportunity to address the communication breakdowns (‘misconstruals’) that occur due to differences in culture, lack of context, misinterpretation, technical incompatibilities, and more. This program of research aims to identify these miscontruals, to mitigate them through the design of usable and useful interfaces, and to deploy and evaluate the resulting systems with target users.

Spindex and Spearcons in Mandarin

Auditory displays have been used extensively to enhance visual menus across diverse settings for various reasons. While standard auditory displays can be effective and help users across these settings, standard auditory displays often consist of text to speech cues, which can be time intensive to use. Advanced auditory cues including spindex and spearcon cues have been developed to help address this slow feedback issue. While these cues are most often used in English, they have also been applied to other languages, but research on using them in tonal languages, which may affect the ability to use them, is lacking. The current research investigated the use of spindex and spearcon cues in Mandarin, to determine their effectiveness in a tonal language. The results suggest that the cues can be effectively applied and used in a tonal language by untrained novices. This opens the door to future use of the cues in languages that reach a large portion of the world’s population.Gable, Thomas M., et al. “Spindex and Spearcons in Mandarin: Auditory Menu Enhancements Successful in a Tonal Language.” Georgia Institute of Technology, 2017.

ConnectedCane: The Accessible White Cane

As visually-impaired individuals continue the adoption of connected mobile devices, there exists a gap in how to make these devices easier to access while the user is on the move. When a white cane user wants to access their mobile device, they must stop moving, reposition their cane, and retrieve the device from storage in order to interact with it. This causes an additional hassle of having to holster their cane while stopping. This project investigates the technologies behind creating a connected accessible cane handle that would allow visually-impaired users to easily navigate their mobile devices while on-the-go.Batterman, Jared M., et al. “Connected cane: Tactile button input for controlling gestures of iOS voiceover embedded in a white cane.” Assistive Technology (2017): 1-9.