Contributions of principles of visual cognitive science to AAC system display design

Krista M. Wilkinson, Vinoth Jagaroo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Beukelman (1991) introduced the concept of the magic versus the cost of communicative competence in AAC. Fundamentally, this refers to the relative effort that must be exerted (the cost) in order for AAC to be a viable communication mode (the magic). Many clinicians have seen the magic for clients who are truly successful in using AAC; such successes have also been documented in the literature. Yet until AAC is successful with each and every client for whom it is implemented, it is necessary to continue to identify barriers to its effective use. In the same year, Light and Lindsay (1991) argued for consideration of principles of cognitive science in constructing maximally useful AAC symbol arrays. In the current paper, we consider how knowledge from one area of cognitive science, that of visual cognition, might be integrated into AAC symbol array construction. We review four areas of visual cognition that might relate to the construction of AAC displays:(a) organization of stimulus arrays within either grids (row-column configuration) or integrated within natural scenes, (b) symbol location, (c) color and contrast, and (d) symmetry and axial orientation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-136
Number of pages14
JournalAAC: Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Rehabilitation
  • Speech and Hearing


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