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Comparing Interaction Techniques to Help Blind People Explore Maps on Small Tactile Devices

IMT Atlantique, LEGO, 29238 Brest, France
ENAC, Université Toulouse, 31055 Toulouse, France
Inria Bordeaux, 33405 Talence, France
CNRS, IRIT, 31062 Toulouse CEDEX 9, France
Université de Toulouse 3, 31062 Toulouse CEDEX 9, France
CNRS, IPAL, UMI5925, 138632 Singapore, Singapore
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Multimodal Technologies Interact. 2019, 3(2), 27;
Received: 28 February 2019 / Revised: 27 March 2019 / Accepted: 17 April 2019 / Published: 20 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactive Assistive Technology)
PDF [3012 KB, uploaded 20 April 2019]


Exploring geographic maps on touchscreens is a difficult task in the absence of vision as those devices miss tactile cues. Prior research has therefore introduced non-visual interaction techniques designed to allow visually impaired people to explore spatial configurations on tactile devices. In this paper, we present a study in which six blind and six blindfolded sighted participants evaluated three of those interaction techniques compared to a screen reader condition. We observed that techniques providing guidance result in a higher user satisfaction and more efficient exploration. Adding a grid-like structure improved the estimation of distances. None of the interaction techniques improved the reconstruction of the spatial configurations. The results of this study allow improving the design of non-visual interaction techniques that support a better exploration and memorization of maps in the absence of vision. View Full-Text
Keywords: interaction; spatial cognition; visual impairment; touchscreen; accessibility interaction; spatial cognition; visual impairment; touchscreen; accessibility

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Simonnet, M.; Brock, A.M.; Serpa, A.; Oriola, B.; Jouffrais, C. Comparing Interaction Techniques to Help Blind People Explore Maps on Small Tactile Devices. Multimodal Technologies Interact. 2019, 3, 27.

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Multimodal Technologies Interact. EISSN 2414-4088 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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