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PARAMETERS OF EFFECTIVENESS FOR SPECIAL SOFTWARE TO

ENABLE FULL ACCESS FOR PEOPLE WITH

VISUAL IMPAIRMENT

Focus: Transition

Topic: Access and Information Technologies

Márcia Maria Vitoriano de Azevedo

Master in Special Education

“Pedagogical Center for Helping People with Visual Impairment ”-CAP-CE

Av. Santos Dumont 6400, ap 805, Bl. “C”-Papicu-Fortaleza-CE-

Brasil-CEP:60190-800

0XX85-99443821

e-mail: angelotv@secrel.com.br

The choice for a great new and very important theme in our present moment, such as: computing for people with visual impairment, functions as a stimulus to any researcher. Although, the researcher has also to face the bibliography limitations concerning this theme, the lack of national experience involving this subject and the lack of sufficient time for going deeper into some aspects which would encourage future researches. Nowadays, it is known that the search for new tools to facilitate the learning process is so necessary to overcome some obstacles, proving this way someone’s capacity and potency, besides his limitations or his condition of being someone special or not.

The choice for this subject, specifically on the computing field, has the main purpose of creating the parameters that will contain the computing programs for people with visual impairment, based on accessibility, function standard, applicability, availability and costs. And, through these parameters, it will be tried the facilitation of full inclusion of visual impairment people in the society. It’s worthy mentioning the non-existence of confirmed data concerning the variety and quantity of equipments, resources, software and programs for visual impairment people, available in the market; neither there are parameters for improving the effectiveness concerning the full inclusion of these kind of people in the society. These mentioned aspects are the basis of the great harmfulness purport of this research. We point out, as a scientific problem, the following:


Which parameters do we have to take into consideration to improve the effectiveness of a computing program for visual impairment people?;


                                                                                                                                                                                           

As studying purpose, the usage of computing programs for visual impairment people; as general purpose of this research, to create parameters which must contain a computing program for visual impairment people.

The methodological goal of this paper is the elaboration of parameters that must contain computing programs for visual impairment people that fits the standards of accessibility, function standard, applicability, availability and costs; and, the practical goal is the improvement of these programs to elevate the usage standards by visual impairment users.

                        As a consequence, reaching the final result with the definition of parameters that must contain a computing program for visual impairment people to improve their effectiveness in order to include them in the society with the usual equal rights that are established to all citizens.

Towards a practical answer to the problem

In this paper, it is used the paradigm of the social-historical-cultural school of Vygotsky, who defines that the influence of the context has a great importance on the development of the opportunities of a complete human being. Such experience is acquired by experimenting all the chances that the real world gives us. This acquired experience will enable the human beings to show their real abilities.

The samples characterization

Within such a great population of users of programs for visual impairment people, which require much more improvement from the companies and institutions that develop and offer them, we may consider as a real population – 250 participants that were present at the I Brazilian Symposium about the Braille System – 2001, where there were specialists and users of computing programs for visual impairment people that are interested in discussing this subject or any other related to it. From this population amount, it was chosen a sample of 48 specialists and users of programs for visual impairment people that took part in the symposium.

The variables

This research relies on the variables of the parameters that must contain a program for people with visual impairment, using as categories analysis: the accessibility, function standard, applicability, costs and availability.


Methods, techniques and procedures


Through the scientific investigation, we go on searching on the early months of the development of the theme, using the theoretical methods that perform an important function, and that make possible the systematization, analysis and bibliographical interpretation; analysis and synthesis, as well as, induction and deduction that is being used to allow the comprehension of the existent reality, compounding and decompounding pieces of information, checking the existent ones and certifying what it is necessary to be created in this area of computing programs. Acting this way, we reinforce the ideas of creating the parameters that must contain computing programs for visual impairment people. These programs have also to present a historical and logical content, because based on them a historical study of this problem in a social-cultural context, and a research on the logic of its evolution are to be developed. On this stage, we conclude that the users’ manuals or the supporting manuals are not, sufficiently, practical and are not even auto-explicative in order to offer the user enough autonomy to go on by himself, using the whole capacity of the programs.

On a second stage, the empirical methods of observation and interrogation (an enquiry) are used in the “I Brazilian Symposium about the Braille System – Braille System: A New Horizon of Conquests” that took place in Salvador- Bahia from Sept. 12th to Sept. 14th, 2001; in which there were specialists and users of computing programs for visual impairment people with the purpose of discussing about this and other themes that have to do with the Braille System. About 250 people were registered in this event; and from this number, a sample of 48 people performed successfully on the application of the instrument.

In the instrument, there were contents matters directly related with the purposes of this research and of the enquiry, offering meaningful data for evaluating the variables and indicators.

For getting the quantification of the statistical data, the statistical methods of frequency percentage and double entrance charts were used.

Searching for new parameters to improve he effectiveness of the    computing programs for visual impairment people

Data analysis of the applied instruments

As to the educational background, from the 48 participants that answered the enquiry there were 36 specialists, what meant a total percentage of 75%. And, this indicator was of great importance and value to the acquired answers that were used in order to get the definition of the parameters.

 AS TO THE EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND

 

Sample

 

%

 

HIGH SCHOOL

 

8

 

16,67

 
COLLEGE
 

1

 

2,08

 

SPECIALISTS

 

36

 

75,00

 

POS-GRADUATION PROGRAM

 

2

 

4,17

 

PhD

 

1

 

2,08

 

TOTAL

 

48

 

 

As to the vision, answered the enquiry 27 blind people (56,25%) and two others with a low rate of impairment vision or subnormal vision (4,17%), summing up a percentage of 60,42% of visual impairment people which established a significant majority. This amount also refers to the users and/or the specialists of computing programs for visual impairment people. There were also a number of 19 seer participants (39,58%), and they were also users and/or specialists, what gave to this research a high quality and legitimacy degree.

AS TO THE VISION

 

Sample

 

%

 

BLIND PEOPLE

 

 

27

 

56,25

 

VISUAL IMPAIRMENT PEOPLE

 

2

 

4,17

 

SEERS

 

19

 

39,58

 

TOTAL

 

 

48

 

 
         

                       

Parameters for improving the effectiveness on computing programs for visual impairment  people.

The parameters found after the application of the enquiry are the following:

A computer program aiming effectiveness shall:

- Speak/have sound: this would permit accessibility of visual impairment people to information through the remaining senses, as hearing, therefore permitting the use of their rights.

-  Work in all the machine surroundings: allowing that visual impairment students make use of the possibilities of function and applicability of the machine or program, as well as those who can see well using them widely, without the necessity of any special complicated procedures.

-  Fair costs: as most of computer programs are sold in high prices of the American money, that is another obstacle for visual impairment people go over, causing no socialization of information and culture which all citizen have right within the technological world where we live in.

-  Be available everywhere: this would give the opportunity to visual impairment people use these programs and acquire freedom and privacy as a right of everyone.

-  Read all pieces of information on the computer screen: that is, to have the function standard which programs aim.

-  Have compatible voice with national phonemes: in order to give the user the possibility of listening and learning efficiently through computer the right spelling compatible with the Brazilian accent of the language.

- Describe, read or improve in the graphics field: allowing the access to pictures information, or graphics in a descriptive way.

-  Have governmental support: working as a facilitator towards the access of hardware and software in large public places.

-  Be updated with compatible technology: allowing the balance in the development and access to information.

- Be available in regular teaching schools aiming inclusion: supplying the same opportunities that usual students have in school computer laboratories.

-  Read pages HTML:  as a priority, since information via Internet are generally in html and sites creators still don’t follow the law of accessibility which suggests the existence of the potion to access pages in .txt.

-  Have clear voice/sound: facilitating to understand information.

-  Be available in institutions for visual impairment people: it is in these places where the majority of visual impairment people go to have social activities and professional capacity.

-  Have the voice as close to a human being as possible: turning the access to information through voice a pleasurable activity.

-  Improve in the mathematical code item: that is a point that present programs are lacking updating.

PARAMETERS

DESCRIPTION

 

%

 

SAMPLE

 

TALKING PROGRAM

 

72,92

 

35

 

PROGRAMS TO RUN IN THE MACHINE SURROUNDINGS

 

58,33

 

28

 

ACCESSIBLE PRICES

 

58,33

 

28

 

BE AVAILABLE IN ALL ACESS PLACES

 

56,25

 

27

 

READ ALL DATA SHOWED ON THE COMPUTER SCREEN

 

52,08

 

25

 

VOICE COMPATIBLE WITH THE NATIONAL PHONEMES

 

52,08

 

25

 

DESCRIBE, READ OR EVOLVE IN THE GRAPHIC SECTION

 

50,00

 

24

 

HAVE GOVERNMENTAL SUPPORT

 

43,75

 

21

 

BE UP-DATED WITH COMPATIBLE TECHNOLOGY

 

39,58

 

19

 

BE AVAILABLE IN REGULAR TEACHING SCHOOLS AIMING INCLUSION

 

27,08

 

13

 

READ HTML PAGES

 

25,00

 

12

 

VOICE CLEARNESS

 

18,75

 

9

 

HAVE THE VOICE AS CLOSE TO A HUMAN BEING AS POSSIBLE

 

14,58

 

7

 

BE AVAILABLE IN INSTITUTIONS FOR BLIND PEOPLE

 

10,42

 

5

 

EVOLVE IN THE MATHEMATICAL CODE ITEM

 

8,33

 

4

 

THE TOTAL OF THE SAMPLE

 

 

48

 

Conclusions

We can conclude through the results found in the survey that the category of visual impairment people needs computer programs which fulfill their specific necessities, since present ones are limited within the categories analyzed in the survey and that required typhlo-technological compatibility was not reached though.

Considering the present sample, the answers found show a systematic vision of the studied problem and reflect and match what theoretically the survey defends.

The users of computer programs to visual impairment people feel the necessity of an improvement in the fields of function, accessibility, costs, applicability and availability law, being conscious of their necessities in the field of computer programs.

The success of total inclusion is extremely linked with accessibility in computer field and to mention total inclusion it must be considered the high level of the importance of the accessibility in computer sources.

Having access to the computer programs to visual impairment people, new horizons are open in the educational area and professional capacity.

Aiming the whole use of citizenship, visual impairment people has thee right to complete access to information and culture through modern computer technology, sharing in real time information and exchanges within an inclusive society.

Some recommendation

It is recommended after the present survey that:

1-     The creators of computer programs to visual impairment people:

- Rethink and analyze when crating and developing computer programs to visual impairment people.

- Create a direct channel between the creator and the user through the program.

- Consider real necessities of visual impairment users and specialists, to reach a higher effectiveness level in their programs.

- The present concept of inclusion must be considered aiming visual impairment users needs, when creating and developing programs.

- Take into consideration the present concept of inclusion, since it aims the preparation of society in all fields to receive PNEE (National Teaching Plans), allowing whole citizenship use.

- Creators try to develop programs for visual impairment people considering accessibility law with total right to information, including electronics.

2-     Through their specific offices, government realizes and display resources for investments on those programs giving value to the accessibility law.

3-     Scientific methodological results and goals from this survey shall be spread within academic community, and also within those institutions connected with the creation of programs to visual impairment people.

4-     Scientific articles shall be prepared to the means of communication within the state and even the country.

5-     New researchers could become interested in deepen the present theme, aiming science dynamic evolution.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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