AT-node revisited: explore the data on typing with assistive technology

Our free AT-node for access website is back up and running. How fast can people with physical disabilities type when using different assistive technologies? Use AT-node to get evidence to enhance your understanding.

AT-node: Explore the data on typing with assistive technologies

AT-node is a website that organizes the available research evidence on text entry rates (typing speeds) for people with physical disabilities. We built it a few years ago, and recently it had not been working due to necessary platform changes. I finally got around to fixing it, and now you can run AT-node for Access again.

What is AT-node for Access anyway?

AT-node is a website that organizes the available research evidence on text entry rates (typing speeds) for people with physical disabilities. Sajay Arthanat and I did a systematic review of the literature and wrote about it in several papers. (see for more). We wanted to put the data in a form where anyone could use it. The result is AT-node. It includes data from all published studies where participants had physical disabilities and whose typing speed was measured as part of the study. It covers a wide range of assistive technologies used to provide an alternative interface, such as speech recognition, modified keyboards, on-screen keyboards, switch scanning, brain-computer interface, etc.

Using AT-node, you can explore the data set by diagnosis, interface, and body site. For example, you can see all reported typing speeds for people who have cervical spinal cord injuries when using speech recognition vs. using the regular keyboard. The idea is to help inform decision-making (e.g., what interface might work best for me?) and provide rough expectations for future performance (e.g., how fast am I likely to type with this interface?).

You can read more about AT-node in our earlier post, which includes a nice little video showing how it works.

Has anything changed with this update?

Nope. AT-node looks the same as it always did, only now it is running on an updated platform. (And is no longer broken!)

If you’re curious, this update was required by PythonAnywhere, who hosts the AT-node website for us. The platform supplies the basic infrastructure needed for the site, such as the Python language and a variety of software libraries. Eventually these libraries grow and change, and PythonAnywhere can’t keep supporting the old stuff forever. So they required us to update. (They are great folks, by the way. If you ever have a Python app you want to deploy, I highly recommend them!)

It took a while, but we managed to get it done.

Give AT-node for Access a try and let us know what you think!

[Update, May 28, 2024: It looks like getting AT-node back up and running has been fairly successful. Traffic is up, averaging 8700 hits per month over the last two months, per PythonAnywhere’s counts. While hits is a fairly crude measure of traffic, it is encouraging that current levels are higher than they were when the site was last running a couple of years ago.]

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