Tar Heel Shared Reader

Attention Switch Users: changes coming to keyboard controls

Dr. Gretchen Hanser of the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies and I are planning to make changes to the keyboard controls for reading books at Tar Heel Reader. These changes will enable 3-switch scanning and direct access while still supporting the 2-switch scanning compromise we have in place now.

Currently the site uses right arrow (and down arrow, page down, space, N) as the mover and left arrow (and up arrow, page up, back space, enter, P) as a chooser on choice pages (Favorites, and menus like What would you like to do now?) and as go back when reading a book.

The new scheme leaves left arrow as it was but it changes up arrow to always mean previous selection. The other change is that down arrow is always a chooser. With this change a 3-switch user can use right arrow to always mean next selection, up arrow to always mean previous selection and down arrow to always mean choose.

We hope these changes will have minimum impact on our switch users. If you happen to be using down arrow instead of right arrow as your mover, you may need to change your setup. Gretchen will be glad to help anyone who has problems adapting their switch setup.

To summarize, here are the keyboard controls for each kind of page on the site:

Key Page Function
left arrow
Book 1st page Choose another book
Other book pages Previous page
Choice pages Chooser
up arrow Book 1st page Choose another book
Other book pages Previous page
Choice pages Previous choice
right arrow
Book 1st page Next page
Other book pages
Choice pages Next choice
down arrow Book 1st page Nothing
Other book pages
Choice pages Chooser

We have also implemented keys for direct access to the choices on the various Choice pages. The direct access keys are:

Key Function
a Read this book again.
r Rate this book.
d Read another book.
1 1 star.
2 2 stars.
3 3 stars.

Gretchen has made overlays for the Intellikeys keyboard to implement 2-switch, 3-switch, and direct access.

Let us know if you see problems with these changes. We plan to implement them on the site next weekend.

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