Tag Archives: likert scale

Symbol Manager changes to suit the needs of the voters

Feedback from participants involved  in the voting has resulted in some changes to the interface for the Symbol Manager.  There has been the introduction of a quick voting screen that removes the clutter causing problems and allows the user to see a large image of the symbol alongside the presentation of the criteria.

quick vote screen

There was also a discussion about the criteria as some felt it would be better to have the image showing without the symbol label but later several therapists asked for the label to be available in English, MSA and Qatari not just MSA. However, there may be slight differences in the translation and this will need to be discussed.

It was decided to stay with the closed-ended questions used to measure iconicity of each symbol and to keep the five point scale rather than the seven point scale mentioned by Evans et al (2006). The optimal length of the Likert scale is a complex subject and can affect the end result (Friedman and Amoo, 1999a).

In trying to keep the criteria scales as simple as possible it appears that one can re-scale results when comparing a seven point scale to a five point scale (Dawes, 2008) and it is even possible to have more clear cut decisions if a shorter scale is used (Foddy, 1993).  There was also the debate about having a mid-point where there is thought to be a tendency to choose 3 in the case of a 5 point Likert scale.  However Lietz (2008) points out that the research shows

“response without the middle. point had lower validity and higher random error
variance, indicating that people randomly chose other available response
options when the middle option was not available. This desirability of having
a neutral middle point to increase the reliability and validity of response
scales has also been confirmed by a meta-analysis of 87 experiments of
question design reported by Saris and Gallhofer (2007).”

The next set of voting results will come via the Quick Vote system which was piloted by Tullah with 20 therapists and teachers initially using paper based  versions of the system to discuss the best way forward as well as issues around the style of the symbols.  This will be discussed in the next report as Nawar has now made it possible for Symbol Manager to export voting data directly to Excel using Power Pivot. 


Dawes, J.(2008)  “Do data characteristics change according to the number of scale points used ? An experiment using 5 point, 7 point and 10 point scales”. International Journal of Market Research, Vol. 50, 1, 2008

Evans D, Bowick L, Johnson M, Blenkhorn P (2006) Using iconicity to evaluate symbol use. In: Proceedings of the 10th international conference on computers helping people. Linz, Austria, pp 874–881

Foddy, W. (1993). Constructing questions for interviews and questionnaires: Theory and practice. Melbourne: Cambridge University

Friedman, Hershey H. and Taiwo Amoo (1999a). “Rating the Rating Scales.” Journal of Marketing Management, 9 (Winter), 114-123.

Lietz, P. (2010). Research into questionnaire design – a summary of the literature. International Journal of Market Research, 52(2), 249-272.

Updates to Symbol Manager, core and fringe vocabularies in Arabic and symbol voting.

Symbol ManagerHaving discussed changes to the Symbol Manager over the last month the work has been completed with categories being divided into small lists and alphabetic versions of the sub-categories used by ARASAAC.  Those not needed for the Arabic Symbol Dictionary have been hidden and others have been added – mainly related to food complement some of the categories the therapists have been using with Boardmaker.


There is now a Localisation section of the Symbol Manager that allows all the elements of the site to be translated from English to Arabic with changes that can be made at any time should the need arise.

Localisation Arabic

There have been discussions about adding definitions for each lexical entry as it was clear that the WordNet entries in English needed some changes to suit the audience of AAC symbol users and that an Arabic dictionary was also needed. A request was made to the Almaany Dictionary  and they have kindly offered collaboration which will be incredibly helpful.

Recent visits to Awsaj Academy have resulted in more vocabulary lists being provided by the Arabic department, for which we are incredibly grateful as this has allowed us to compare the use of various parts of speech in the lists provided by English teachers and those teaching in Arabic when using symbol communication.  But we need to be wary of the results as they come from a wide range of ages and this last list comes from a group of more able children compared to those in the earlier samples.   However, all the centres and schools need core and fringe Arabic vocabularies to provide a base for the most commonly used symbols. So frequency of use will be of paramount importance when making the choices of which symbols to adapt to suit the culture, environment, language and personal requirements.


Number of words

Parts of Speech

12% 54 adjectives
2% 7 adverbs
3% 15 interjections
48% 209 nouns
1% 5 prepositions
1% 6 pronouns
1% 5 question words
32% 138 verbs
Total 439

A VOIP meeting with the ARASAAC team discussed the collaboration on the adaptation of symbols. They have kindly agreed to give us some guidance as to how they develop their symbols and we will send them our list of symbol files that need to be added to the database to suit the needs of users in Doha and the Arabic culture, language and environment.  Sharing .svg files will help with the development and ARASAAC are changing their website and database in the coming months.

google plus symbolsOne of the ways we have been working on symbols that has greatly speeded up interaction between team members has been the use of Google+ with images being uploaded and our votes and comments being monitored by Dana before she finally uploads the images to the Symbol Manager for voting by the AAC Forum.


On going research into issues around voting as to the iconicity of symbols will  confirm our decisions around how the AAC Forum can vote on the final draft versions of the symbols.  At present we have several options as illustrated in the slides below that are available on SlideShare.


Bloomberg, K., Karlan, G. R., Llloyd, L. L.: The comparative translucency of initial lexical items represented in five graphic symbol systems and sets. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, Vol. 33 (1990), 717-725

Evans D, Bowick L, Johnson M, Blenkhorn P (2006) Using iconicity to evaluate symbol use. In: Proceedings of the 10th international conference on computers helping people. Linz, Austria, pp 874–881
Fuller, D. R.: Initial study into the effects of translucency and complexity on the learning of Blissymbols by children and adults with normal cognitive abilities. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Vol. 7, (1997), 30-39

Haupt, L., Alant, E.: The iconicity of picture communication symbols for rural Zulu children. South African Journal of Communication Disorders, Vol. 49 (2003), 40-49

Huer, M. B.: Examining perceptions of graphic symbols across cultures: preliminary study of the impact of culture/ethnicity. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Vol. 16 (2000), 180-185

Mizuko, M.: Transparency and ease of learning of symbols represented by Blissymbols, PCS and Picsysms. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Vol. 3 (1987), 129-136

Musselwhite, C. R., Ruscello, D. M.: Transparency of three communication symbol systems. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, Vol. 27, (1984), 436-443