Monday, October 16, 2006

Adaptive iPod for visually impaired person with limited manipulative ability

I developed this adaptive iPod solution for my mother, an adventurous soul with limited vision and limited manipulative abilities. The Shuffle works well for the visually impaired since it lacks a display. The biggest problem is that it's too small, so the velcro and large case were added to make it easier to find and manage. The new Shuffle is even smaller and would require a different approach.

Click on the picture below to see a visual map of how I did this.
I wrote up an user's manual which I'll add to this post later. The main usability issue was the 'button lock' feature. It's very hard to explain (I'm not sure I quite understand it!); I taught my mother to use the on/off switch instead. I told her if the iPod ever stopped responding (either crashed or inadvertent button lock activation) she should simply turn it on and off. That has worked well.

In theory when she tires of the music selection she mails me the Shuffle and I reload it from her music collection. So far she hasn't done that, I think she prefers I just revise it when our family visits.

This has been a successful project. Surprisingly, the adapted shuffle is simpler to operate than any stereo, radio, CD player or tape player.

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