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Using a Mobile Application to Help Visually Impaired Individuals Explore the Outdoors

2016-07-31
Long, Shelby K.
Karpinsky, Nicole D.
Döner, Hilal
Still, Jeremiah D.
Visually impaired individuals face a variety of challenges when navigating outdoors, including uneven terrain, unexpected obstacles, safety concerns, and reliance on others for information. The goal of this study was to understand further the navigational needs of visually impaired individuals and to develop a mid-fidelity prototype to address these needs. Through interviews with visually impaired users and accessibility professionals, researchers found that present technology leads to an incomplete understanding of the trail and harmful situations. Currently, there is no known technology available that integrates real-time updates with static trail information for individuals navigating outdoors. In response, a mobile prototype was proposed, integrating user-provided updates with static trail information in a format that caters to all users. Our usability testing showed visually impaired users made few errors using the prototype and were satisfied with their experience.