A novel multimodal interface for improving visually impaired people's web accessibility

Yu, Wai, Kuber, Ravi, Murphy, Emma, Strain, Philip and McAllister, Graham (2006) A novel multimodal interface for improving visually impaired people's web accessibility. Virtual Reality, 9 (2-3). pp. 133-148. ISSN 1359-4338

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This paper introduces a novel interface designed to help blind and visually impaired people to explore and navigate on the Web. In contrast to traditionally used assistive tools, such as screen readers and magnifiers, the new interface employs a combination of both audio and haptic features to provide spatial and navigational information to users. The haptic features are presented via a low-cost force feedback mouse allowing blind people to interact with the Web, in a similar fashion to their sighted counterparts. The audio provides navigational and textual information through the use of non-speech sounds and synthesised speech. Interacting with the multimodal interface offers a novel experience to target users, especially to those with total blindness. A series of experiments have been conducted to ascertain the usability of the interface and compare its performance to that of a traditional screen reader. Results have shown the advantages that the new multimodal interface offers blind and visually impaired people. This includes the enhanced perception of the spatial layout of Web pages, and navigation towards elements on a page. Certain issues regarding the design of the haptic and audio features raised in the evaluation are discussed and presented in terms of recommendations for future work.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Originality: Presents a novel multimodal interface allowing blind and visually impaired people to construct a mental model of spatial layout of webpages. Rigour: Results are reinforced using a triangulation approach consisting of; think aloud protocol, questionnaires and visual feedback. Significance/Impact: This is the first technique which allows people who are blind to use a mouse to browse webpages. This offers the possibility of blind and sighted users to collaborate when browsing a webpage, as they can share the same mental model.
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
Depositing User: Graham McAllister
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 19:57
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2012 15:24
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/23221
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