KPR highlights for 2018

2018 was an unusual, fun, and interesting year for Koester Performance Research. Here are some highlights of KPR’s work in the past year.

KPR wishes you a Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a Happy New Year! In the spirit of a new year’s energy, I took a look at KPR’s activities in the past year. 2018 was unusual, in that we’ve intentionally not been engaged in a large funded project, in order to leave some space and see what might take shape. One overarching goal this year was to share more of what we’ve learned and developed with the wider world. To that end, we revamped the KPR website, incorporated a blog, and set up new systems for communicating with people who are interested in what we’re doing. It’s still a work in progress, but has been enjoyable and seems useful so far. We also continued research, development, and service work within assistive technology. Read on for a few specific highlights.

Continue reading “KPR highlights for 2018”

Which hands-free mouse is right for you?

Once you’ve identified a few hands-free mice that seem to meet your needs, how do you find the one that is the best fit?

Hands-free mice: Which is right for you?
Here’s the third in our series on hands-free mice. We’ve looked at 13 considerations for choosing a hands-free mouse, then examined detailed features of 25 available hands-free mice. All that information is useful for narrowing down the choices and identifying a few candidates that might meet your needs. In this post, we look at how to find the “right” solution from among those candidate devices. To support an evidence-based decision, we’ll show you some tools that help collect and organize data while trialling different hands-free mice.

Continue reading “Which hands-free mouse is right for you?”

Your Guide to 25 24 Hands-free Mice

There are dozens of hands-free mice that are designed for computer users with physical disabilities. This guide presents 6 families and 24 different hands-free mice to help you find those that meet your needs.

Why Hands-free Mice?

A hands-free mouse allows you to perform computer mouse functions without using your hands. If you have a physical limitation that makes it difficult or impossible to use a traditional mouse with your hands, a hands-free mouse can be critical to accessing a computer comfortably and efficiently. The key is to make an informed choice to make sure your hands-free mouse truly meets your needs. In our last post, we described 13 considerations to think about when choosing a hands-free mouse. Here, we examine 24 specific hands-free mice that are available and see how they stack up on those considerations.

Continue reading “Your Guide to 25 24 Hands-free Mice”

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.

Continue reading “13 considerations for choosing a hands-free mouse”

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.

Continue reading “Better mouse control with Pointing Wizard”

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
Continue reading “Web accessibility: challenges with third-party code”

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.

Continue reading “Web accessibility testing: what we found and how we fixed it”

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.

Continue reading “A recipe for DIY web accessibility testing”

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.

Continue reading “Scanning Wizard: using auditory scanning”

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.
Continue reading “Highlights from the RESNA 2018 Conference”