13 considerations for choosing a hands-free mouse

A hands-free mouse can be a great option for computer users with physical disabilities. Here are some key issues to consider when choosing a hands-free mouse.

Hands-free mice: 13 key considerations

What is a hands-free mouse?

A hands-free mouse is a system that allows full control of computer mouse functions without use of the hands. This post was inspired by a question to the QIAT listserv, asking about mouse emulators that could be used by a high school student with quadriplegia. You might benefit from a hands-free mouse if you, like this student, have little to no functional movement of your hands or fingers. You might also benefit from a hands-free mouse if you need to avoid using a regular mouse due to repetitive stress injury or pain, or if you are in a hands-busy environment where your hands just aren’t that available to use a regular mouse.

By choosing the hands-free mouse that best meets your needs, you can have an efficient and comfortable way to control the mouse without using your hands. Read on for some key considerations that will help you make a good choice.

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Better mouse control with Pointing Wizard

Here’s a quick example of how Pointing Wizard helped Linda use her mouse with greater ease and speed. View her mouse control before and after using Pointing Wizard to customize her mouse settings to her specific needs.

Pointing Wizard: for better mouse control

Meet Linda

Linda’s story demonstrates that a simple change to a user’s computer setup can make a big difference. Linda is a woman who had a brain injury a number of years ago. The injury left her with significant physical difficulties in walking, speaking, and using her hands. She uses a Windows computer for all kinds of tasks, with the typical keyboard and mouse.

Although Linda uses a standard mouse, it’s not easy for her, as she often overshoots the target, and bounces back and forth a few times before settling on the button or field that she’s trying to click. Read on to see how KPR’s Pointing Wizard software made it much easier and faster for Linda to control her mouse.

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Web accessibility: challenges with third-party code

Using third-party code, such as Bootstrap, Google Charts, shopping carts, and the like, to boost your website’s functionality is powerful and often necessary. But it can also introduce some accessibility problems, and those aren’t always easy to fix. Here are some tips on dealing with these issues.

This is the third in our series on testing and improving the accessibility of KPR’s websites. Previous posts focused on how we conducted systematic do-it-yourself accessibility testing and how we fixed the accessibility problems we found. Some of the toughest challenges involved dealing with third-party code. This post presents the main problems related to third-party code and gives some details about how we fixed them.

Web accessibility icon with third-party code text underneath
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Web accessibility testing: what we found and how we fixed it

We recently tested the accessibility of KPR’s websites. Here’s an overview of what we found and how we fixed it. Spoiler alert: tests revealed some major web accessibility issues.

We’ve been working on testing and improving the accessibility of KPR’s websites. The first step in this process was conducting systematic do-it-yourself accessibility testing, which we described in an earlier post. This post presents the main problems revealed by the tests and gives some details about how we fixed them.

Web accessibility symbol with text below it. Text is web accessibility fixes.

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A recipe for DIY web accessibility testing

We recently got serious (finally) about testing and improving the accessibility of KPR’s websites. Here’s the recipe we used for our DIY accessibility testing, somewhat informal but quite effective.

An icon for universal access, with the words web accessibility testing below itThis post is the first of a series focused on our web accessibility initiative. As a company that develops software, including websites, KPR has a responsibility to make sure that those sites and applications are accessible and usable to all users, regardless of disability. And, given the focus of our work on enhancing accessibility for computer users with disabilities, we have an extra imperative to get our web accessibility house in order. We’ve learned a lot through this process and hope that sharing some of those lessons here might help others who want to do something similar.

The first step in the process was to define a procedure, a recipe, that we could use to test the current state of accessibility for all of our websites. This needed to be something we could do ourselves (DIY) in a reasonable amount of time while still yielding good information about accessibility problems. I’ll share our DIY accessibility testing recipe in this post, and we’ll look at the accessibility problems we found and how we fixed them in future posts.

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Scanning Wizard: using auditory scanning

Auditory scanning can be useful to support users who have difficulty seeing or reading. Learn about the auditory scanning feature that we’ve recently added to Scanning Wizard.

The Scan Test practice screen, with an alphabetic layout
We’ve added our first version of auditory scanning to Scanning Wizard, in order to better support users who have difficulty seeing or reading. The Scan Test now includes an Auditory Scan setting, that includes two distinct modes.

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Highlights from the RESNA 2018 Conference

The RESNA 2018 Conference featured three intense days of sharing and networking among leaders in assistive technology. It’s impossible to get to everything, but here we highlight a few things of particular interest.

A photograph promoting the RESNA 2018 conference in Washington DC. Photo shows the National Mall and Washington Monument in the twilight.
I attended RESNA’s 2018 Annual Conference recently, as I do pretty much every year. This year’s was held in Arlington, VA in mid-July. A friend asked me why I invest the time and money to go to the conference. I’ll try to address that in this post, with a focus on the learning and new ideas that the conference inspires.
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Text entry rate data: what can we learn from a histogram?

Continuing our series on examining text entry rate data for people with physical disabilities, we look today in more depth at the statistical distribution of those data. A histogram is a great tool for visualizing a distribution and providing insights into a dataset.

As promised in our previous post, today we’re going to delve more deeply into our dataset of text entry rate across 177 individuals with physical disabilities. (If you haven’t seen the infographic and read about the creation of this dataset already, you might want to read that earlier post first.)
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Text entry rate for people with physical disabilities [Infographic]

We gathered the available data on computer text entry by people with physical disabilities and created this infographic. Results suggest that there is a long way to go to better support computer users with disabilities.

Sajay Arthanat and I continue organizing the available research evidence on text entry rates (typing speeds) for people with disabilities. I shared an overview of the findings in an earlier post. Here, I’ve added two new studies to the dataset and created an infographic describing the distribution of text entry rate across 177 individuals. Continue reading “Text entry rate for people with physical disabilities [Infographic]”

New Compass version 2.5 released

We’ve released Compass version 2.5, which adds Arabic language support.

I’m happy to announce that we’ve released a new Compass version that adds Arabic language support. To choose Arabic language for a Compass test, simply go into the configuration screen for that test, and select Arabic as the Test Language. Screenshot of Compass configuration screen for Sentence test, showing Test Language set to Arabic Continue reading “New Compass version 2.5 released”