Scanning Wizard Web App
Koester Performance Research
KPR is empowering the severely disabled by helping them use a computer up to 170% faster.
People with severe physical impairments can find it very difficult to use a standard keyboard or mouse. Some operate a computer using only a single button or switch.
In these single-switch scanning systems, the computer cycles slowly through different choices. When it arrives at an option the user wants, they activate their switch. Text entry speeds at just one word/minute are common.
Koester Performance Research (KPR) develops tools that improve computer access for people with disabilities.
In 2014, Dr. Heidi Koester and a colleague devised a method for improving the text-entry speed of people who use single-switch scanners. With a grant from the NIH, Koester came to Atomic Object looking to develop a tool that would enable users across the globe to benefit from her findings.
Working closely together, Koester and the Atomic team developed Scanning Wizard, an elegant web app that guides single-switch users through a series of tasks designed to measure their response time and scanning effectiveness.
Scanning Wizard uses these tests to generate individually-tailored recommendations for each user’s system, including adjustments to their scan speed, delay, and keyboard layout. The system also supports double-switch users and people who use symbols other than letters in their scanning array.
Scanning Wizard allows users to create an online account and store their results, but also has an offline mode with robust local data storage. Health practitioners can use a special administrative version to manage data from multiple users.
Heidi Koester, Ph.D., President
Atomic designed the system architecture and wrote software and firmware for:
- An ongoing field study found that the Scanning Wizard helps single-switch users increase their text-entry speed by an average of 70% — with some users improving as much as 170%.
- Scanning Wizard was designed so that Dr. Koester can edit the app’s code and adjust the algorithm, incorporating knowledge gathered during the field study.
Initial studies have shown that, by adjusting the settings to the user’s ability, you can boost their speed significantly. It’s a small population but a large potential impact.
A Partnership with a Storybook Ending
The team’s careful project management, client communication, cutting-edge architecture, and cohesive design strategy helped the team ship the product on time and on budget.
Reflecting back on the multi-year, high-profile project, Robinson said Atomic helped his company arrive at a special moment in time.
“We'd never done anything this big. Ever,” he said. “We’re live across all the major pillars Atomic said they would deliver on. It was delivered on time, on budget, to expectation, live. Not three or four milestones late with people leaving and the platform half-baked and full of bugs.”
StoryLoom began open-beta in December 2022. A global launch is scheduled for the spring of 2023.
“Our future is pretty bright,” said Robinson. “We’ve been given a rare opportunity to find success by chasing opportunities Starship Enterprise-style: going where people aren’t—pushing boundaries.”
Atomic provided visual design and web app development for Scanning Wizard using Ember.js.
The Atomic Team
Here are some of our current Atoms who worked on this project. Click their photo to read their bios!