Purpose: Many individuals with communication impairments use aided augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems involving letters, words, or line drawings that rely on the visualmodality. It seems reasonable to suggest that display design should incorporate information about how users attend to and process visual information. The organization of AAC symbols can influence the speed and accuracy with which children select a target symbol on a display. This research examined why some displays facilitate responding. Method: Eye-tracking technology recorded point-of-gaze while children without disabilities engaged in a visual search task with 2 AAC displays. In 1 display, symbols sharing an internal color were clustered together. In the other display, like-colored symbols were distributed. Dependent measures were (a) latency to fixate on the target compared with distracters and (b) the number of fixations to target and distracters. Results: Participants were significantly slower to fixate on the target when like-colored symbols were distributed; there was a significant increase in the number of fixations to distracters that did not share color with the target. Conclusions: Efficient search was related to minimizing fixations to nonrelevant distracters. Vulnerability to distraction can be a significant problem in individuals with disabilities who use AAC. Minimizing the intrusion of such distraction may, therefore, be of importance in AAC display design.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language
- Speech and Hearing