DREU 2014 Summer Experience

My name is Nicholas Taylor. I attend the University of Richmond in the school of Arts and Science. Currently I am a rising Junior planning to graduate 2016. My major is Computer Science with an minor in Mathematics.

Dr. Juan E. Gilbert holds the Andrew Banks Family Preeminence Endowed Chair and he is the Associate Chair of Research in the Computer & Information Science & Engineering Department at the University of Florida where he leads the Human Centered Computing Lab.

Special Connections


Special Connections is a unique social networking site in that it also offers educational opportunities. To our knowledge, Special Connections is one of the first social networking sites designed for people with special needs. Instead of using a simple website, Special Connections uses typical social media forms of communication (e.g. messaging, video chatting) to accomplish our learning goal of teaching a person with special needs social skills.

Prime III One Ballot project


Prime III is the world's single most accessible electronic voting system. It offers a secure, multimodal electronic voting system that delivers the necessary system security, integrity and user satisfaction safeguards in a user friendly interface that accommodates all people regardless of ability. Prime III implements a Universal Design. By Universal Design, we mean " an approach to the design of all products and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation. In this project we sought to redesign Prime III and also make it become more portable by reducing its code base into a single html file.

Week One


During Week One me and my fellow DREU members began deciding on which projects that we will be of interest of working on during the summer. I had chosen the Special Connections social networking site and Prime III One Ballot site projects. Later towards the end of that week I met up with my project mentor Amber Solemon who assigned me a part of their research paper they were submitting for publishing titled "Gendered Voices: Provocateur in an On-Line Virtual Conference Course for In-Service Teachers"

Week Two


Second week I completed my related works section for the research paper for my group in the Special Connections project. Following that I discovered that I will be working on the avatar, chat room, and video chat room for the project. I later met with Nicholas Mcelveeen over the design mockups for the Single HTML ballot for prime III. My task will be to develop his design ideas and also make the user interactivity and experience.

Week Three


This week I worked on various design choose ideas specifically about web accessibiity that will benefit users of the Special Connections social network for inviduals with cognitive disabilities. We read various research papers and sites that emcompass features we felt were appropriate for the site and its target audience. As for Prime III we also began our design chooses in which will present the universal design motto and being apppropriate accross all platforms and devices.

Week Four


For this week my task was to work on developing the design ideas and make the user interactivity for the Single HTML Ballot for prime III. We later followed up with a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the work I had done. We discussed how the selection should look when selected to inverse the black and white colors with background and font color. Then we spoked about how we would collaborate as a team with the code and what has been decided was to use git as our control system along with Bitbucket to host our private repository. As for the Special Connections project I was assigned to work on the avatar from SitePal.com and make sure to write a script that based on any particular textbox selection the avatar will speak a customized message based on that textbox. Another criteria was to design the implemntation of the script in the most easily managemable and dynamic way possible. Which I took to use a configuration javascript file that uses an key-value pair object to set textbox's class names to correlate with a string of scripted text for the avatar to say.

Week Five


First we finished generating a spoken message for the avatar on the basis of which text box the user has selected. The script for that is finished and a test is available by this link http://hcc.cs.clemson.edu/~najamack/nick-folder/index.html We are looking into video chatting software that would work best for user to user communication and for the parent's chat room but for now, we have focused our efforts on designing the rest of the pages before meeting the system goals. Lastly we have finished designing the "Members Accepted" pages.

Week Six


For this week on the Single HTML Ballot, Prime One, my task was to implement a script that would show or hide the current list of candiates to the User. The reason behind this is that it offers Users to be able to focus on a few list of the candidates that are currently shown instead of a list of all of them at once. As for my second project,the social network site Special Connections I designed the page for email notification and messages that are sent to the User to the site. For this design I used the Gimp Image Editor program.

Week Seven


During this week I got to meet and connect with other Graduate students including my Prime III mentor Nicholas Mcelveen. My task this week was to work on the media query from css3 which would be used to make our Prime III redesign responsive to window size i.e(height and width). As for special connections my task was to come up with ideas for design strategy and implementation of the sign up page. To do this I created a wireframe documenting my ideas of what also the login in page should look like for each custom user.

Week Eight


On this week for Special Connections I worked on implementing the first sign up page along with the auto scroll. So, that the user won't feel bombarded with the many questions asked at once and to focus their attention on the question at hand, the auto scroll will display the question(s) that the user is currently on while the other questions on that page are greyed-out. As for the Prime III voting ballot I worked on the following tasks such as updating the review page for each contests selectec candidate, having arrows indicating whether user wants to move to previous or next candidates, and also updating the toggle menu which contests have the User chosesn candidates for.

Week Nine


This was a very busy week for the DREU summer experience. This week I participated in a distracted driver case study in this study my task was to drive and text. During the study I also had to make sure I focused on the blinking green or red lights which indicated various situations like braking, or turning left/right. I also this week had my presentation discussing my summer 2014 DREU experience with working the two projects: Prime III and Special Connections. Finally at the end of the week I witnessed my first dissertation which was a very exciting experience.

Week Ten


For the final week of my DREU summer 2014 experience my task for Special Connections was to finish a script for auto scrolling which is demonstrated in this link here http://hcc.cs.clemson.edu/~najamack/nick-folder/special_connectDesgins/index.html. We chose this approach to limit stack overflowing of information to the user. So instead the user will only have to focus on one registration information at a time relieving a grandiose of mental energy. As for prime III I worked on implementing the submit ballot functionality as well as making some stylistic changes to the ballot system such as candidate selection coloring changes. Being able to work as a DREU participant was a great opportunity and lesson for me in understanding the importance of collaboration and team work that goes into working on big projects. I also acquired a much greater in depth appreciation of the profession and craft of research. I would like to also thank everyone who is a part of the HCC faculty and staff, and also to Dr. Gilbert for choosing me and giving me the opportunity to witness the program. Here is my final report which is a technical paper for my research on the two projects I worked on final report