Toward automatic adjustment of keyboard settings for people with physical impairments

Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol. 2007 Sep;2(5):261-74. doi: 10.1080/17483100701284265.


Purpose: We are developing a software system called IDA (Input Device Agent), whose goal is to optimally configure input devices for people with physical impairments. This study assessed IDA's ability to recommend three keyboard parameters in response to measurements of typing performance: repeat rate, repeat delay, and use of StickyKeys.

Method: Twelve typists with physical impairments participated. The study employed a repeated measures design. Each participant typed six sentences in each of four keyboard conditions: default settings, IDA-recommended repeat settings, StickyKeys On, and a repeat of default settings.

Results: Two participants had significant problems with inadvertent key repeats, when using the default repeat settings. For those two participants, use of the IDA-recommended repeat settings reduced the number of repeated characters by 96% and significantly improved text entry rate and typing accuracy. IDA recommended StickyKeys for six participants, each of whom had at least one problem related to modifying keys without StickyKeys. Use of StickyKeys for these individuals eliminated their modifier-related errors and significantly improved typing speed. IDA did not recommend StickyKeys for the six participants who demonstrated no need for it.

Conclusions: The results indicate that IDA can provide useful assistance with repeat settings and StickyKeys.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Algorithms
  • Computer Peripherals*
  • Decision Making
  • Disabled Persons / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Man-Machine Systems*
  • Middle Aged
  • Self-Help Devices*