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Making Spatial Information Accessible on Touchscreens for Users who are Blind and Visually Impaired
Computer Science and Engineering
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Touchscreens have become a de facto standard of input for mobile devices as they most optimally use the limited input and output space that is imposed by their form factor. In recent years, people who are blind and visually impaired have been increasing their usage of smartphones and touchscreens. Although basic access is available, there are still many accessibility issues left to deal with in order to bring full inclusion to this population. One of the important challenges lies in accessing and creating of spatial information on touchscreens. The work presented here provides three new techniques, using three different modalities, for accessing spatial information on touchscreens. The first system makes geometry and diagram creation accessible on a touchscreen through the use of text-to-speech and gestural input. This first study is informed by a qualitative study of how people who are blind and visually impaired currently access and create graphs and diagrams. The second system makes directions through maps accessible using multiple vibration sensors without any sound or visual output. The third system investigates the use of binaural sound on a touchscreen to make various types of applications accessible such as physics simulations, astronomy, and video games.