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An Interactive Virtual User Interface for Integrating Blind Persons in Home Environments

By Maura Mengoni, Lorenzo Cavalieri, Margherita Peruzzini and Damiano Raponi


Accessibility to graphical user interfaces by visually impaired persons is generally enabled through systems, which reproduce the lexical structure of the user interface to a non-visual form, mainly employing 3D audio output techniques. Two main critical issues have been identified: (i) most interfaces address the needs and abilities of sighted users and consequently the reproduction is only a translation from one language to another; (ii) blind users are generally not involved in the development stage due to the cost of prototyping. The present work proposes an interactive user interface to control a multi-sensory shower accessible by both sighted and blind users and able to adapt its control knob to reproduce Braille texts. Such function is realized by the integration of an electrotactile feedback device and adopts soft touch finishing to better stimulate touch sensations. Haptic technologies have been exploited to create a virtual high-fidelity prototype to assess individual end-users\u2019 response during the user interface design process. The paper illustrates the designed interface to assist blind users in home environments and the adopted virtual prototyping technique to address the above-mentioned issues

Topics: User interfaces, user experience
Publisher: 'ASME International'
Year: 2015
DOI identifier: 10.1115/DETC2015-47132
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