How to measure performance when typing with Morse code

Morse code is an intriguing access option for people who use switches. Here’s how to measure performance when typing with Morse, to see how well it’s working for you and how it compares to other access methods.

How to measure performance when typing with Morse code. Screenshot shows inset of iPad Morse keyboard and the Word test from Compass software.

Morse code can be an effective way to type using only one or two switches. For some people who need switch-based access due to physical impairments, Morse might work as well or better than methods such as switch scanning. Reports of typing speed with Morse in the literature are encouraging but sparse. And in the end, what matters most is how well it works for a given individual. To address that, we need to measure typing performance with Morse.

How do we do that, in a way that’s accurate, straightforward, and time-efficient? We’re going to use KPR’s Compass software for access assessment to measure our Morse typing speed and accuracy. This post describes how to do this and shows you how it went the first time I used Morse code.

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Learn Morse code with the Morse Typing Trainer

The Morse Typing Trainer is a website that helps you learn Morse code. It helped me learn the letter codes in about 30 minutes. This post shows you how to use the Morse Typing Trainer and gives you an idea of what it does and does not do.

Learn Morse code with the Morse Typing Trainer. Screenshot showing the code for E: a dash used as a pupil in an Eyeball.

The introduction of Morse code text entry for iOS and Android has lowered the barrier for trying Morse code as an access method for people who use switches. In earlier posts, I’ve described how to set up Morse code on the iPad and reviewed the typing speeds that have been reported for experienced Morse users. But what’s a good way to learn Morse code in the first place? And how long does it take? The Morse Typing Trainer is a new resource to make this fairly easy and fun.

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

How fast can people with physical disabilities type when using different assistive technologies? Find out with our free AT-node for access website. Use the evidence to enhance your understanding.

I’ve mentioned our free AT-node website in other posts (like this one with a neat infographic), without really demonstrating what it is, so in this post, I want to give you a quick introduction to using the AT-node website.
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Better typing with keyboard assistive technology

Here’s another great example of how a simple change to a user’s computer setup can make a big difference, in this case using keyboard assistive technology. Read on for a summary of this 2018 case study from the University of Bordeaux.

Better typing with keyboard assistive technology. Photo on the left shows original keyboard, with user typing with left hand. Hand is partially curled up, with index and middle fingers extended. Photo on the right shows keyboard with assistive technology to enhance typing: keyguard, angled stand, and forearm rest.
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Morse code typing for the iPad

Morse code can be a very effective way to type using only two switches. And now you can use it on an iPad, creating some new possibilities for people who are switch users. This post shows you how to set up and use Morse code on the iPad.

A photo of an iPad, showing the Morse code keyboard on the display. Two switches are connected to the iPad using the Tapio switch interface.
Morse code dates back to the early 1830’s, and has been used in assistive technology since at least the 1970’s to support typing using one or two switches. As switch access methods go, it has the potential to be quite fast– one study measured a Morse code typing speed of 12.4 words/minute for a person with a C2 spinal cord injury, using a sip/puff switch for the dots and dashes. Fast forward to 2019, and Morse code is having a bit of a moment. One question that comes up frequently is whether you can use Morse code to type with switches on an iPad — Yes, you can! Read on to learn how.

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Highlights from the ATIA 2019 Conference – Part 2

The ATIA Conference provides great opportunities for learning, sharing, and networking in assistive technology, and the 2019 conference was no exception. Here’s the second of two posts featuring a few of the highlights.

Highlights from ATIA 2019 - Part 2
I was fortunate to attend ATIA’s 2019 Conference recently, held in Orlando, FL, and enjoyed the chance to learn from others and connect with the great folks who work in the assistive technology (AT) field. My first post on ATIA 2019 focused on highlights directly related to mouse access, while this post will highlight some educational sessions that addressed other topics. Keep in mind that with about 400 presentations, 120 exhibitors, and 3000 attendees, this is just one tiny sample representing one person’s ATIA experience. Please share comments about your ATIA experience!

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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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