Academic Work

For my Major Research Project (MRP) in partial fulfillment of my Master of Design in Inclusive Design at OCAD University, I developed a set of design guidelines that can be used to reduce the user fatigue sometimes associated with operating an eye controlled augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) computer with only the use of your eyes.

Eye controlled AAC computers are an established technology used by many people, including individuals with Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), Cerebral Palsy (CP), and other disabilities. Eye control is currently more advanced and precise than brain controlled computers, and eye tracking technology is becoming more visible on the consumer market as it enters the mainstream consumer market through products like the Samsung Galaxy 4S. However, interface designers looking to work with this technology have little information available to them.

The focus of previous research in interface design for eye gaze technology was on skill acquisition. This is important, but mainly ignored aesthetics and user experience. Designers who wanted an interface that was more than just usable on eye gaze technology either had to spend time and money researching information on eye gaze technology, or base it on existing principles for mouse and keyboard interfaces, which have very different design needs.

The problem when working on applications for eye controlled systems was that there were no established guidelines for user interface design outside of privately held information within a corporation. Therefore, I developed my own set of design guidelines.

For example, one of the guidelines I established is that targets need to be arranged with the most likely target at the centre, working outward to the most unlikely. This success can be furthered by using existing gaze data to create attentive user interfaces that are context aware. Knowing how to structure an interface helps a designer save time and propel the design forward.

Publication of the Guidelines:

The guidelines I have established and the research that I have conducted is currently offered as an accessible PDF and will be available in print for the public at the Office of Graduate Studies at OCAD University.

If you wish to be kept informed on my work, please feel welcome to contact me through email or follow me on Twitter. Thank you.


Download a copy of User Fatigue and Eye Controlled Technology by Nell Chitty: Download PDF


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