Accessible smartphones for blind users: A case study for a wayfinding system

Abstract

While progress on assistive technologies have been made, some blind users still face several problems opening and using basic functionalities when interacting with touch interfaces. Sometimes, people with visual impairments may also have problems navigating autonomously, without personal assistance, especially in unknown environments. This paper presents a complete solution to manage the basic functions of a smartphone and to guide users using a wayfinding application. This way, a blind user could go to work from his home in an autonomous way using an adaptable wayfinding application on his smartphone. The wayfinding application combines text, map, auditory and tactile feedback for providing the information. Eighteen visually impaired users tested the application. Preliminary results from this study show that blind people and limited vision users can effectively use the wayfinding application without help. The evaluation also confirms the usefulness of extending the vibration feedback to convey distance information as well as directional information. The validation was successful for iOS and Android devices.

Publication
Expert Systems with Applications
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