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Human-Computer Interaction Design


"Evaluating the Effects of a Virtual Communication Environment for People with Aphasia"

Staff and funding

SunsetLakeSide Principal investigator: Jane Marshall (LCS)
Co-Investigators: Stephanie Wilson (HCID), Celia Woolf (LCS), Naomi Cocks (LCS)
Research Staff: Julia Galliers (HCID), Tracey Booth (HCID), Niamh Devane (LCS), Richard Talbot (LCS), Helen Greenwood (LCS)
Total funding: £204,898
Funding source: The Stroke Association
Duration: Sept 2012 - Sept 2015
Collaborating Organisations: Division of Language & Communication Science (LCS), Centre for HCI Design (HCID)

Project Description

The EVA project extended our research into accessible interaction design for people with aphasia with an investigation of a multi-user virtual environment to support communication therapy.

The language impairment of aphasia is one of the most devastating consequences of a stroke. While symptoms may be alleviated by speech and language therapy, many individuals are left with long term communication problems that profoundly affect their family, social and working lives. Experiences of isolation and social exclusion are common. Online virtual environments offer innovative opportunities for practising communication skills and reducing social isolation.

Five people with aphasia worked with us in a series of codesign workshops to create EVA Park, a serene and quirky multi-user virtual environment. EVA Park was then trialled in a field study involving 20 people who have aphasia. They accessed EVA Park from home and practiced talking in the virtual world.  Pre- and post-measures of communication showed that their functional communication improved.

Wide view of EVA Park



Marshall J, Booth T, Devane N, Galliers J, Greenwood H, Hilari K, Talbot R, Wilson S and Woolf C (2016) Evaluating the benefits of aphasia intervention delivered in virtual reality: Results of a quasi-randomised study, Plos One, 18(8).

Wilson, S., Roper, A., Marshall, J., Galliers, J., Devane, N., Booth, T. and Woolf, C. Codesign for People with Aphasia Through Tangible Design Languages, CoDesign, Taylor and Francis, Published online 9th January 2015, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15710882.2014.997744.