We have created a number of examples to illustrate ways that Cloud4all/GPII could be used by different personas. These are daily life scenarios for people with disabilities.
- Maria teaches computers in a school with 60% children with disabilities or special needs and 40% children without. Each period a different group of children comes into the computer lab. In the past Maria had almost no chance of getting all the special needs children set up before the class was half over – even with an aide. With the Cloud4all/GPII, and its “auto-personalization from preferences” (APfP) capability, the computers automatically configure to the children as soon as the children sit down and use their GPII Key-Tokens. It is amazing, and for the first time she and her aide can focus on the special learning needs of children instead of spending most of their time individually configuring the computers. It allows them to provide the individual setup they each need — and still leaves time for her to actually teach Intro to computers – the purpose of the class.
- Rafi is in Mechanical Engineering at the University. He has low vision and some reading difficulties. He has a special computer set up for him that uses Windows – but when he got to the university he discovered that different classes use different computers in their labs. The design course uses Macs, the mechanical engineering class uses Windows, one of his Computer Science classes uses Linux, and his sociology class uses Android tablets with some special class-participation software on it. In fact, all of the labs use special software (licensed to and installed on those computers) that require him to use those computers. He almost dropped out after the first year because it was so hard to figure out get access in all the labs, and when he was able to, the computer that had his software on it was often occupied when he got there. And trying to do his work through an aide (kind of voice-control-of-a human approach) was not working (too slow, frustrating, and disconnected). Then, in the second year, the University installed the Cloud4all/GPII software in all the labs on campus as part of a research program – and provided students who needed or wanted it with an install package they could load on their home computers. On his Windows machine at home, he used the Cloud4all/GPII preference management tool to set up an NP set describing his needs and preferences. This loaded up to the cloud where he could then use it on any of the computers at the university. This completely changed his experience at the university. Now he can just sit down to any computer, in any of the labs, use his Key-Token, and the Cloud4all/GPII on the computer will automatically launch and configure the relevant ATs and features available on that machine to cover his needs. And this is despite Rafi not knowing any of the available ATs for (and on) the devices, and without him knowing how to set up the OS features and applications to fit his needs manually. On Linux, he wasn’t quite happy with the choices the Cloud4all/GPII software had made in configuring the system, but then he just used the “try different” option presented after login. This made the system try a different configuration, still covering his needs and preferences, and he liked this configuration better so he saved it to be used going forward. A further feature that he finds convenient with the Cloud4all/GPII system is its ability to change based on the environment. Finally, his sociology classes are often quite noisy, which is bothersome and interferes with his text-to-speech, even with his headphones on. Luckily there are sensor motes installed in the room, so when the noise level increases too much, his tablet is automatically notified via a Context Aware Server (CAS) and subsequently increases and decreases the volume to match the classroom noise level.
- Linqui is “print blind”. She can see print but not read it very well, or at all. However she is quite bright and was making a good living as an analyst using software on her laptop that allowed her to have things read to her en mass – or just the selections she would point to. She was doing well until they began wanting her to travel. She used to be able to travel independently by just asking agents etc. for any information she needed. Today however, agents are scarce – replaced by ticket terminals, electronic displays and information kiosks. This would have created real limitations for her – except that in recent years this Cloud4all/GPII has appeared on all of the public terminals. Now she can just use her Key-Token to get any of the ticket terminals, information kiosks, etc. to provide her with spoken output on request (full or just as she needs it). It even worked on the terminal mounted on the back of the seat in the taxicab. She is waiting for it to show up on the seat-back displays on the airplane.
- Jim has a problem. He is finding that there are lots of different access features that can meet his needs but that they don’t work together and sometimes work against each other. When he turns on the high contrast mode on his laptop, it will work for some things but not for others. For example, it will provide contrast for native apps but not for the webpages inside a browser window. This has to be done separately, either using some browser plugin or, in the few cases where this is supported, using features of the websites. He finds he often has to use different browsers during the day for different sites, and each browser has to be configured separately. Recently however he has heard about the Cloud4all/GPII from his friend Li, who has a similar combination of disabilities. She says that the Cloud4all/GPII can detect when certain applications (e.g. browsers) are being used and, with a plug-in, determines which sites are being viewed. Using this information it can apply her needs and preferences to the browser content and also adjust any accessibility features on the websites themselves. It can even modify the accessibility of non-Cloud4all/GPII compatible websites, using something called the Service Synthesis Tool (SST) that invokes AT-like services in the cloud. She is told that with future improvements to something called the Cloud4all/GPII Matchmaker, the matchmaker will someday be able to suggest to her which options (built-in features of the OS, AT on her computer, browser access features, cloud based AT, or target site access features) would best work for her so she can try them, and if she likes them, set her preferences to those (rather than having to discover and configure things herself). This news from Li is great for Jim because he isn’t nearly as computer adept as Li. Once set up he just needs to use an RFID tag as his Key-Token to log into the systems he needs to user. He asks if Li can help him set up his system like hers for a couple sites that are giving him trouble. Li says that she can do better than that. She helps Jim to create his own NP set so that he can have any software and website adapted to his needs. He tries and it works! (Architecture Scenario Walkthroughs for Jim, Linqui, and Rafi can be found in section 5.4 Architecture Scenario Walkthroughs).
The above scenarios represent functionalities available for users thanks to Cloud4all/GPII, but there are other projects, such as Prosperity4all, with synergies that will be exploited in future enabling new scenarios:
- Ackbar has a high spinal cord injury and only has control of his head. He uses a sip-and-puff wheelchair and has become very independent. He can even travel about independently using the metro and lift buses (buses where the back stairs turn into a wheelchair lift). He is able to travel about with only his cell phone for backup in case of unexpected events. The one thing he couldn’t do was to operate any electronic devices he encountered. Now, with the “Universal Remote Control (URC)” capabilities being built into Cloud4all/GPII by the Prosperity4all project he will soon be able to use his sip-and-puff “alternate keyboard” to control the different devices he encounters.
- Juan, his blind friend is also looking forward to this because it will allow him to use his smartphone and its talking interface to control the devices he encounters, and he is much faster on his phone with its familiar interface than he is with the different (and not always very good) “blind interfaces” on other the devices.
- And Maria, (remember the computer classroom teacher from above) has heard that due to the Universal Interface and Information Technology Access RERC project, she will soon be able to set it up so that, when the student Key-In in while in her classroom, they will each automatically land on a personal home-screen (for her class) that she prepares for them individually. Thus she can give them individual assignments and resources tailored to their current progress and their specific needs – all just one click away.