Judicious arrangement of symbols on a simulated AAC display optimizes visual attention by individuals with and without Down syndrome


Aided augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) displays are often designed as symmetrical row–column grids, with each square in the grid containing a symbol. To maximize vocabulary on displays, symbols are often placed close to one another, and background color cuing is used to signal/differentiate symbols across different grammatical categories. However, from a visual and developmental standpoint, these display features (close-set symbols and use of background color cues) may not be optimal. In particular, placing symbols quite close together may result in visual crowding, in which individual symbols cannot be distinguished due to the presence of many neighbors, or flankers. This research sought to examine the role of display arrangement and background color cuing on the efficiency of visual attention during search.

Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 65(2)