Non-Visual Access to an Interactive 3D Map

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Publication: Joint International Conference on Digital Inclusion, Assistive Technology & Accessibility (ICCHP-AAATE '22) (2022)

Maps are indispensable for helping people learn about unfamiliar environments and plan trips. While tactile (2D) and 3D maps offer non-visual map access to people who are blind or visually impaired (BVI), this access is greatly enhanced by adding interactivity to the maps: when the user points at a feature of interest on the map, the name and other information about the feature is read aloud in audio. We explore how the use of an interactive 3D map of a playground, containing over seventy play structures and other features, affects spatial learning and cognition. Specifically, we perform experiments in which four blind participants answer questions about the map to evaluate their grasp of three types of spatial knowledge: landmark, route and survey. The results of these experiments demonstrate that participants are able to acquire this knowledge, most of which would be inaccessible without the interactivity of the map.

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