Testers Needed for Audio Graph Research
Our research group is preparing some test materials on audio
representation of x-y graphs. One goal of our research is to develop
audio display methods good enough for general use by blind users of
graphing calculators or other graph-display devices in situations where
tactile access is difficult or impossible.
One step of this research program has already been completed. We have
incorporated a tone graph viewer as part of the graphing calculator in our
TRIANGLE program. The user can hear the value of the y axis represented
by a tone whose frequency is proportional to the value of y as x is swept
from left to right or vice versa. The TRIANGLE program is described and
may be downloaded from: http://dots.physics.orst.edu/triangle.html
We will be testing several methods of audio display during the next year
that can give users more flexibility and provide more information without
(we hope) losing the straightforward, intuitive usefulness of the simple
tone graph method.
We intend to prepare a WWW-based test that can be given to a wide variety
of people in order to compare the information content and, possibly, the
speed of comprehension of audio graphs as compared to visual or tactile
graphs. It is crucial that we include a statistically significant number
of blind testers in this study. The entire time for any test should not
be much more than a half hour. We anticipate one, possibly two follow-up
tests that build on what we learn from the first test.
Testers must have access to a web browser capable of playing Quick-Time
files or audio wave files. They must also be familiar enough with basic
concepts of x-y graphs to understand the meaning of linearity and
curvature and to understand questions such as
"Does y increase or decrease as x increases?"
"Where does y have its maximum value?"
"Where is y zero?"
It is our intent to analyze test results and publish statistical
information from the study. Individual test results will not be made
public. We expect to administer these tests in October or November but
need to know soon whether we can expect a sizable group of volunteers who
are blind. We are particularly eager to have volunteers who are blind and
who are either professionals in technical math-intensive fields or who are
college students who have taken advanced math.
Please e mail me at email@example.com if you are willing to volunteer.
We will send a short questionnaire and some tactile materials that are to
be used with the test.
John A. Gardner
Professor and Director, Science Access Project
Department of Physics
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR 97331
tel: (541) 737 3278
FAX: (541) 737 1683
Science Access Project WWW site: http://dots.physics.orst.edu
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