Effect of two layouts on high technology AAC navigation and content location by people with aphasia

Sarah E. Wallace, Karen Hux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Purpose: Navigating high-technology augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices with dynamic displays can be challenging for people with aphasia. The purpose of this study was to determine which of two AAC interfaces two people with aphasia could use most efficiently and accurately. Method: The researchers used a BCB′C′ alternating treatment design to provide device-use instruction to two people with severe aphasia regarding two personalised AAC interfaces that had different navigation layouts but identical content. One interface had static buttons for homepage and go-back features, and the other interface had static buttons in a navigation ring layout. Throughout treatment, the researchers monitored participants' mastery patterns regarding navigation efficiency and accuracy when locating target messages. Results: Participants' accuracy and efficiency improved with both interfaces given intervention; however, the navigation ring layout appeared more transparent and better facilitated navigation than the homepage layout. Conclusions: People with aphasia can learn to navigate computerised devices; however, interface layout can substantially affect the efficiency and accuracy with which they locate messages.Implications for RehabilitationGiven intervention incorporating errorless learning principles, people with chronic aphasia can learn to navigate across multiple device levels to locate target sentences.Both navigation ring and homepage interfaces may be used by people with aphasia.Some people with aphasia may be more consistent and efficient in finding target sentences using the navigation ring interface than the homepage interface. Additionally, the navigation ring interface may be more transparent and easier for people with aphasia to master-that is, they may require fewer intervention sessions to learn to navigate the navigation ring interface.Generalisation of learning may result from use of the navigation ring interface. Specifically, people with aphasia may improve navigation with the homepage interface as a result of instruction on the navigation interface, but not vice versa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-182
Number of pages10
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • AAC
  • Aphasia
  • Augmentative communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation
  • Speech and Hearing


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