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Old 09-06-2012, 11:46 AM   #1
toka
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kindle touch hacks for handicapped people

Hello.

I am investigating, if it is allready possible to
adapt a kindle touch to the needs of handicapped people.

This would be the needs:

A: disable all features except page turning while reading
Currently, while reading, the touch interface interprets long touches with shifts as selection of words. There must be an option to turn this off, waiting for very robust commands to turn forward or back.


B: change overall font sizes to be much bigger,
especially in menues, book title selection

C: switch to landscape mode for booke title selection
and book reading

It seeems to be possible to implement B and C at the moment
but I did not find any efforts to simplify the touch gestures (A).
Does anyone have some insight, whether this could be possible ?

Is there a thread, blog post or wiki page collecting needs
of handicapped people and possible solutions ?

Thank you,

Thomas Kalka
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:01 PM   #2
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It's funny you should say this. I was thinking about hot-wiring the TTS engine into our apps, maybe add that to your shopping list.

I'm not 100% but I *think* that data is reference-able and possibly could be interceded, my apologies I don't have that device, nor can I recall the exact threads...
so I can help no further

but I get a general sense that the answer could be yes. For what that is worth.

: )
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:42 PM   #3
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The DMCA has an exclusion that allows hacking ebooks or ebook readers to activate TTS even if that feature was disabled by the publisher. The judge commented that this was added for the benefit of blind readers.
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Old 09-06-2012, 01:10 PM   #4
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What about interceding with the gestures. Is the gesture output I was talking about AFTER they are processed or could one intercede?

I have clearly no idea but I think that is the OP's thrust. Cheers for the tts info.
Will look harder then.
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Old 09-06-2012, 04:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toka View Post
Hello.

I am investigating, if it is allready possible to
adapt a kindle touch to the needs of handicapped people.

This would be the needs:

A: disable all features except page turning while reading
Currently, while reading, the touch interface interprets long touches with shifts as selection of words. There must be an option to turn this off, waiting for very robust commands to turn forward or back.


B: change overall font sizes to be much bigger,
especially in menues, book title selection

C: switch to landscape mode for booke title selection
and book reading

It seeems to be possible to implement B and C at the moment
but I did not find any efforts to simplify the touch gestures (A).
Does anyone have some insight, whether this could be possible ?
C is already possible by installing JBPatch and the GUI Launcher.

B should not be very difficult either - but it would remain to be seen how usable it is. Suppose that you want a font which is twice as large as the normal one: then there will effectively only be ~1/4th of the "logical" screen real estate available. The menus, book titles etc. might not fit on the screen anymore or be horrible squashed, button text might be truncated etc. So there is an upper "usable" limit for the font size, which remains to be found. Note that this concerns mostly the "OS" user interface; the reader should work ok even with extremely large fonts. See the attached screenshots (the first one shows the home screen in landscape mode; even with the normal font, the last entry is barely seen, and menus, detail screens etc. may also be "cut off" at the bottom).

A should be doable as well, somehow, but will involve more effort.

As TTS has been mentioned: it is already possible to enable TTS on all books usig JBPatch, and there are TTS packages for quite a few languages besides english. Of course, this also (only) goes for the reader application itself; something like a "voice guide" would be extremely hard to implement.

Which kinds of handicap are we talking about? B and C sound like they're meant for people with impaired vision, while A sounds more like a feature for folks with impaired motor skills.

Quote:
Originally Posted by toka View Post
Is there a thread, blog post or wiki page collecting needs
of handicapped people and possible solutions ?
Not yet... at least AFAIK. But I guess we now have a thread post
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Old 09-06-2012, 04:54 PM   #6
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I've played with B a while back, for the K3, and, yes, you hit UI restrictions pretty fast. The Touch has a slightly different UI, granted, but the same kind of restriction applies (it might in fact be worse) .

I think I went with +25% / +50%, and @+50%, it does show issues in some part of the UI (and that was on the K3, which was a bit more 'text' based than the Touch...).

FWIW, and if you want to try it with ixtab's Font Hack, see this post and this one for said K3 stuff .

Last edited by NiLuJe; 09-06-2012 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 09-06-2012, 05:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Which kinds of handicap are we talking about? B and C sound like they're meant for people with impaired vision, while A sounds more like a feature for folks with impaired motor skills.

It's a mixture of both, a kind of muscular dystrophy.
Fixating letters is difficult, coordinating hand movement also.
Since gesture detection depends heavily on timing, it would be necessary to be able to switch to a "touch only" mode.

For choosing a book title a pictogram like interface would be a good solution.
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Old 09-06-2012, 06:42 PM   #8
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Just thinking aloud:

In that case, it may actually make sense to entirely replace the UI (i.e., the home screen) with a custom one. This isn't all too difficult. In the simplest (and maybe even best) case it would just display something like (imagine that this is a graphical screen):

< Book Title 1 >

Tap on ">" and you get

< Book Title 2 >

etc.

As long as you don't have hundreds of books on the device, this should be usable. And if all books are in the "good old" mobi format (not PDF or KF8), it would only leave your request A) to be figured out. And I'm sure that this is doable as well, somehow.

I'm hereby volunteering to support such a project, if you want me to.

Just out of curiosity: is this a personal request, or are you working for some kind of charity/hospital/other organization?
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:27 PM   #9
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PS: If TTS is of interest, you may want to equip yourself with a few more of the "old" Kindle Touches. The new generation doesn't seem to have sound output anymore.
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:48 PM   #10
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^This.

You read my mind.

Possible value: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.htm...cId=1000827761 is audible is an option.

Bit of a step back though - or sideways at least

Last edited by twobob; 09-06-2012 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twobob View Post
^This.

You read my mind.

Possible value: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.htm...cId=1000827761 is audible is an option.

Bit of a step back though - or sideways at least
That looks like the real reason for dropping audio on anything that they don't consider their front shelf product.
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:15 PM   #12
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Yep and now You read my mind... freaky.
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Old 09-06-2012, 10:01 PM   #13
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@toka:

Hmm... you sort of caught me with this, so I thought a bit more about it. Would something like the following make sense?

- the Kindle device could work in two modes: "administrator" mode and "user" mode.
- In administrator mode, it would essentially provide the default UI, allowing to change all settings.
- In user mode, only a very limited set of functionalities would be available (1. select books, 2. read book = 1. home screen, 2. reader app), where both would be adapted to special needs.
- To switch between modes, and to support multiple users, the Kindle would have to be connected to a PC, where some kind of (to-be-developed) management software is running. This software could set the mode (admin/user), and set individual user settings (which books are available, reader font size(if needed and differing between users(?)), possibly other settings if needed(?)).

I'm attaching a few "sample" images (the images are totally amateurish because of my absolute lack of talent for anything related to graphics... but the idea should still be clear).

Note: there are quite a few question marks in the above text, simply because I don't know what the actual requirements really are. The sample screens are probably pretty close to what is actually sensible (in the sense of: if even larger fonts are required, then it will become unusable. Smaller fonts should be no problem).

Another question: the Home button is something that is treated very specially in the Kindle firmware (as it's pretty much the only physical button on the device). Since you are saying that a landscape view is preferrable, which means that the button will be close to either the left or the right hand: is it safe to assume that users will not hit the home button inadvertently (i.e., trying to touch the screen, but hitting the button instead)?
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Last edited by ixtab; 09-06-2012 at 10:38 PM.
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Old 09-07-2012, 02:03 AM   #14
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@ixtab

Motivation: i work as a teacher in a private alternative school and one of our pupils could use this device. I imagine, that that kind of hacks would be usefull for a lot more people.
We are located in brandenburg, germany.


Custom interface / two modes: yes, that would be the best implementation.

If we switch to "wish you something" or brainstorming mode:
a clear simple logic of the user interface with visual feedback would be best.

The interface block would be a touch zone, which is activated by touching a configurable time. Some visual feedback (a growing bar or pie chart animation) gives imediate response how long to press and prevents inadvertent inputs.
The touch zones could be configurable in a text file.
As you suggest, there could be a "read mode", providing only "back" and "forward".
The best use for the home button in our case would be "go up", which could be me more gradient, say switching from "read book" -> "select chapter" -> "select book" -> "select genre" (cascading set of few options as design principle).
Visual feedback of needed pressing time for the home button would prevent false inputs.

navigation would basically be similar to a simple mp3 player, a cursor with
"left / back"
"right / forward"
"top/ zoom navigation out"
"down/ select / zoom in"

Exactly as you proposed in your images:
three touch zones for selecting content "left","select","right"
and the home button to "zoom out" in the navigation tree.

The navigation tree could be configured by a text file globaly to choose books.
Additional "inner book" navigation could be provided by other text files or inside the ebook.

Switching to /from "easy mode" could be done with some multiple press / morse code interface.


Is it possible to use the usb port as host ?
This would allow to connect a custom interaface by cable or bluetooth, which could be optimized for the persons special needs.

Last edited by toka; 09-07-2012 at 02:11 AM.
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Old 09-07-2012, 01:00 PM   #15
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Whilst I am of limited use on this project that does not prevent me cheerleading.

Honestly I am GOBSMACKED that something like this doesn't already exist for the device.

It is clear that the removal of the other ability aids such as TTS and guided menus is going to reduce the accessibility of the new devices.

If the effort now needs to be shifted to the alternative development community to support a properly accessible device then (aside from having the obvious pops at Amazon about such a diabolical level of support) I for one will be happy to put up some of my time to help.

Even if it is just cheerleading. (That's the last time I will have a pop at Amazon about the shoddy support)


I do have a tiny piece of input - which is to perhaps consider have a pre-process stage for extra-tricky material to convert to large fonts.

This may prevent some of the more unusual "use cases" of text conversion having to be handled by ixtab's code; and make the overall offering more robust as a complete solution.

I was thinking the pdf convertor that does huge font support would be a decent tool to leverage for those cases.

Anyways. Great job. I would be happy to help push this to an Australian buddy I have who works in the care industry when it looks something like. The level of TTS and assisted use of electronic devices is a field that could use some champions from what I have seen of it.

Good to see this one caught you Ixtab
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