Following a severe brain injury (BI), some literate individuals who require augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) strategies to support communication may benefit from the use of onscreen keyboards to generate text. A range of layouts are available to these individuals within specialized communication software. However, a paucity of information is available to describe user preferences, user perceptions, as well as the visual-cognitive processing demands of such layouts. Such information is critical to guide clinical decision-making for keyboard selection and to provide patient-centered services. This study: (a) described the preferences and perceptions of two onscreen keyboard layouts (QWERTY and alphabetic) and (b) used eye-tracking analysis to investigate the visual-cognitive processing demands between these onscreen keyboards for individuals with and without BI. Results indicated participants in both groups held a strong preference for QWERTY keyboard interfaces and had extensive prior experience using the QWERTY keyboard layout on mobile devices. Eye-tracking analysis revealed less visual-cognitive processing demands using a QWERTY keyboard layout for both groups but were only statistically significant for those without BI. Results suggest that use of a keyboard layout that aligns with client preferences and prior experiences (i.e., the QWERTY keyboard for these participants) may lead to increased satisfaction with the communication experience and increased communication efficiency.
- augmentative and alternative communication
- computer access
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation