[Athen] Seeking info on Touch Tablets

Karlen Communications info at karlencommunications.com
Wed Feb 4 03:36:18 PST 2009


I've been using a tablet computer for about five years now and find that
using the digital pen instead of a conventional mouse works better for me as
someone who has a visual disability. I can just point to a spot on the
screen and activate buttons, links and so forth. I use my tablet with JAWS
primarily but with Windows Magnifier to do handwriting and sometimes
ZoomText although you can't use the digital pen with ZoomText.

I also use it with Microsoft OneNote to get screen clippings for training
and tutorial material.

I've worked with students who have either learning or visual disabilities or
both for whom a tablet was the best note taking device. I did the
assessments and training.

I don't have any experience with the new touch screens so can't comment on

With the conventional tablets you can rest your arm on the screen but you
can't have any jewelry, cuff buttons or rings to scratch the surface.

I find that I am more accurate in focusing in on items on the screen with
the digital pen than I am with a conventional mouse. I've always had slate
tablets from Motion Computing and have used an external keyboard with them
when necessary. I've used the larger Motion tablet with a 12" screen and am
now using the LS800 which has a screen half the size. I wouldn't recommend
that one for any type of photo editing due to the screen size.

Using a tablet as a tablet [if you don't use the digital pen it functions
just like a laptop] is not for everyone and there have been students for
whom a tablet wouldn't work. The student really needs to have one in their
hands so you can see how they would work with it in order to determine if it
would be useful. Physical disabilities, work habits, organizational habits,
and visual disability all contribute to the usability of this tool.

Specific disabilities aside, I do find the digital pen more accurate when
selecting parts of the screen or parts of images to edit and it is because
it is like using a pen to do this or a utility knife....I worked on a
publication in the days of linotype and cut and paste content into pages.


I do have a web page on tablet computers and disability although again it
does not deal with the new touch screens.

Cheers, Karen

-----Original Message-----
From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org [mailto:athen-bounces at athenpro.org] On
Behalf Of Mike Gibson
Sent: Tuesday, February 03, 2009 6:00 PM
To: athen at athenpro.org
Subject: [Athen] Seeking info on Touch Tablets

Hi Everyone,

I am working with a student this semester who has issues using a
conventional mouse do to Carpal Tunnel and Fibromyalgia. She is
enrolled in a photography class this term which requires students to
use photo editing software. She is having problems with the fine mouse
movements to properly edit the photos and other related activities.

I have been reading about touch tablets and their use for drawing,
painting, and handwriting on a PC. Has anyone had experience using
these devices as a mouse alternative? If so what challenges were their?
Also any information on brands would be helpful as well.

Thank you in advance.

Mike Gibson
Assistive Technology Coordinator
Boise State University
1910 University Dr.
Boise, ID 83725-1375
Phone: (208) 426-1583
Fax: (208) 426-3785
Email: mikegibson at boisestate.edu

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