Noun representation in AAC grid displays: Visual attention patterns of people with traumatic brain injury

Jessica Brown, Amber Thiessen, David Beukelman, Karen Hux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Clinicians supporting the communication of people with traumatic brain injury (TBI) must determine an efficient message representation method for augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems. Due to the frequency with which visual deficits occur following brain injury, some adults with TBI may have difficulty locating items on AAC displays. The purpose of this study was to identify aspects of graphic supports that increase efficiency of target-specific visual searches. Nine adults with severe TBI and nine individuals without neurological conditions located targets on static grids displaying one of three message representation methods. Data collected through eye tracking technology revealed significantly more efficient target location for icon-only grids than for text-only or icon-plus-text grids for both participant groups; no significant differences emerged between participant groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-26
Number of pages12
JournalAAC: Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported in part by the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Communication Enhancement (AAC-RERC) under grant H133E080011 from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) in the U.S. Department of Education ’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) and in part by Tobii Technologies.


  • Augmentative and alternative communication
  • Eye tracking
  • Grid-based displays
  • Message representation
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Visual search

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