Exemplar Grids: Writing and Computer Control

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Writing and Computer Control

These exemplar grids aim to:

  1. Encourage and support eye-writing
  2. Enable text messaging for those who cannot use a cell phone or read and write.
  3. Match the number of cells/choices and size of target to the end-user's cognitive ability and eye gaze performance.
  4. Present ideas of ways to communicate by text. For more ideas see pages 7 - 11 of sample page- sets.

Bliss Grid

Picture of Bliss 1

How does the grid work?

This more complex grid-set for an AAC user is designed for a school child who is a skilled bliss user, but who has problems targeting small objects. Therefore the grid-set is designed to have several menus and levels. It contains six different areas: Above is an example of a menu that has six different areas presented in a layout of 3 cells across and 2 cells down. There is a page for quick conversation with teachers or classmates which can be performed in parallel with writing. There is also a complete grid-set for writing with bliss symbols, including the possibility to write e-mails. It is important for grid sets to correspond with the users low tech AAC system and to use the same symbols and categories so that the user is able to use both systems with ease. There is a page that gives an introduction to mathematics and one for literacy, etc.

For a more detailed description of this grid, see File:COGAIN08-BlissGrid-Rolltalk.pdf.


To download a Rolltalk version of this grid, see File:COGAIN08-BlissGrid-Rolltalk.zip.

Helen's Word and Phrases Grid

Picture of Helen's grid with words and phrases

How does the grid work?

The above grid-set has 2 cells across and 2 cells down. Although this end-user could read, she had never written before so, to encourage her to write with her eyes, we enabled her to build up sentences by selecting whole words and phrases from large cells.

Helen's 2-Hit Writing Grid

Picture of Helen 2-hit writing

As a result of her involuntary movement, the computer could not pick up this end-user's eye movement well enough to enable her to select from a whole alphabet of letters on the screen at the same time. Therefore the following examples of grid-sets enabled her to benefit from having larger targets with which she could use write a letter by using 'two hits'. For example, to choose the letter 'a', she first chose the cell with 'abcdef' in it first, as illustrated on the top screen. Then, when the screen changed and all of the letters from 'a to f' were in their own cell, she then selected the individual letter 'a'.


To download a Grid 2 version of this grid, click here.

Michael's Writing Grid

Picture of Michael's Grid

How does the grid work?

This is an example of a grid that has 3 cells across and 2 cells down. It offers many of the features of a standard keyboard: upper and lower case letters, punctuation and numbers, etc. Selecting a letter takes 5 hits. Larger targets are slow but the only way for the end-user to effectively use eye-control (Donegan, M. et al, 2005). This grid set has word prediction to enhance speed.

Music Grid

Picture of Music.jpg

How does the page-set work?

Music players can be confusing and difficult for children to use. This page set displays and plays one song at a time that it finds on your hard drive and has simple controls that let you advance through or back up to find a song. It takes a few minutes for the first song to display – so please be patient.

More information to follow ...

Russ's Grid for Vertical Eye Movement

Picture of Russ's Gried

How does the grid work?

This grid has one cell across and five cells down. The person it was designed for has vertical eye movement only and limited head control. In each brightly coloured cell the text is repeated three times. The sentence bar is at the bottom. Each target links to other pages. Selecting a letter takes 3 hits. The Edit cell links to more pages, with more functions including environmental control.

Click on this link to see it being used on You Tube.


Russ's grid is available at http://grids.sensorysoftware.com/Members/zrobertson.

Note that you need a license or a demo version of The Grid software to use the grid.

Text Messaging

Picture of Text Messaging 1 Grid

How does the grid work?

This grid set is designed for users of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) who cannot use a regular cell phone and who cannot read/write sufficiently to use regular text messaging. This grid set fits as introduction to an unfamiliar user who considers it helpful with pre made phrases. Other users may prefer a complete vocabulary to be able to compose messages more freely.

The software used is Rolltalk Workshop and to be able to send text messages the computer must be connected with a mobile phone (or have that possibility built in). The user composes a message using his/her regular symbol system but the communication partner receives a regular text messages. When the user receives a message it appears as text and it is read by the speech synthesis. This grid set can be a part of a more complex communication grid set.

On the menu page the user can chose to compose and send text messages (SMS), to read messages, to delete messages, to phone and to change the volume. There is also information about time and date which can be read with the speech synthesis. When writing a message pre made phrases are used, these are categorized in different "pages" which helps the unfamiliar user to compose message. Some of the "pages" are illustrated here. When sending the message the user chooses the receiver from a personalised address book where people can be represented with pictures or symbols.

For more information on this grid, see File:COGAIN08-SMSTextMessaging-Rolltalk.pdf

The grid set was made in Rolltalk Workshop, but other communication software offer similar possibilities.


To download a Rolltalk version of this grid, see File:COGAIN08-SMSGrid-Rolltalk.zip

More Grids for Writing and Computer Control ...

More grids made with the SAW framework software are available for free at the OATS (open source assistive software) web site:


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