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The Usability of a Large Multi-Touch Enabled Interface For Children With Cerebral Palsy: A Pilot Study

Keywords: Multi-touch, cerebral palsy (CP), assistive technology.

Overview of Research


Cerebral Palsy (CP) is described as a neurodevelopmental disorder, which limits the ability of children to successfully perform many daily activities. Conditions such as CP can give rise to symptoms such as tremors, spasms, restricted range of motion, and reduced strength. As a result of these clinical symptoms, the use and accurate control of standard input devices used with traditional computers interfaces can be difficult. However, the recent introduction of interactive surfaces that use gestural interactions, such as interactive smart phones, could turn these previous barriers into powerful tools, that increase employment opportunities, provide enhanced communication capabilities, and enable increased autonomy. These new technologies are novel, however, and lack empirical testing by users with CP. As the demand for interactive technologies emerges there is a need to objectively evaluate the usability of available solutions.


The goals of this research is to investigate the usability of a multi-touch surface for children with CP. Testing will include establishing a baseline of user performance, establishing and validating user performance measures, and identifying potential design concerns to be addressed in order to improve the efficiency, productivity, and end-user satisfaction.


The usability tasks were derived from test scenarios developed from user cases and/or with the assistance of a subject-matter expert. A mixed methods design, incorporating quantitative and qualitative approaches will be used. Data will be derived from quantitative assessments and questionnaires.

Research Team

Tammy Craig , University of Toronto

Alex Mihailidis, Ph.D. P.Eng. (University of Toronto)