Analyzing Experiences with Speech Controlled Accessibility Software and Developing a Solution for the Linux Desktop, Colton Loftus, UG '23, (3943096)
For individuals with disabilities affecting the use of their hands, typing and using a mouse can be not only inconvenient, but also painful. This problem is especially prevalent within the software ecosystem of the open source operating system, Linux. While Windows and MacOS both have proprietary disability software for controlling the computer through voice, Linux users do not have access to these same proprietary solutions. In my independent work, I developed a voice controlled accessibility program that can help solve this issue. My program can be used for a wide array of actions across the Linux desktop. It can control windows, press keys, dictate text, and much more. It can also be customized or run scripts from the user to perform new behavior. While developing my program, I also wanted to better understand how to design and implement policies pertaining to accessibility software. To do this I held a series of software demos for my program. Through these user studies I was able to better understand how individuals interact with accessibility software and improve my own program. By the end of my own research, I developed a series of key takeaways regarding fair machine learning practices, ideas for workspace design, and human-interfacing software design principles. In addition to my open source code, these conclusions from my policy research will help future designers create more accessible offices, communities, and software applications.