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"I Don't Want People to Look At Me Differently": Designing User-Defined Above-the-Neck Gestures for People with Upper Body Motor Impairments

by   Xuan Zhao, et al.
Institute of Software, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Rochester Institute of Technology
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Recent research proposed eyelid gestures for people with upper-body motor impairments (UMI) to interact with smartphones without finger touch. However, such eyelid gestures were designed by researchers. It remains unknown what eyelid gestures people with UMI would want and be able to perform. Moreover, other above-the-neck body parts (e.g., mouth, head) could be used to form more gestures. We conducted a user study in which 17 people with UMI designed above-the-neck gestures for 26 common commands on smartphones. We collected a total of 442 user-defined gestures involving the eyes, the mouth, and the head. Participants were more likely to make gestures with their eyes and preferred gestures that were simple, easy-to-remember, and less likely to draw attention from others. We further conducted a survey (N=24) to validate the usability and acceptance of these user-defined gestures. Results show that user-defined gestures were acceptable to both people with and without motor impairments.


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