TitleTowards Digital Image Accessibility for Blind Users Via Vibrating Touch Screen: A Feasibility Test Protocol
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsAwada A., Bou Issa Y, Ghannam C., Tekli J., Chbeir R.
Conference NameSignal Image Technology and Internet Based Systems (SITIS), 2012 Eighth International Conference on
Date PublishedNov
Keywordsblind users, contour based presentation, data and image accessibility, digital image accessibility, experimental evaluation protocol, feasibility test protocol, Feature extraction, handicapped aids, Image edge detection, interactive devices, mathematical charts, Object recognition, paper embossing, Protocols, Shape, tactile image, touch screen technology, touch sensitive screens, user interfaces, vibrating touch screen, visual deficiency, Visual impairment, visual incapacity, visual information, visual media applications, visual media tools, Visualization, visually impaired users, Web pages, World Health Organization

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates at 285 million the number of people affected by visual deficiencies, among which 39 millions are totally blind. In our modern society saturated with visual media tools and applications (images, videos, web pages, etc.), accessing visual information becomes a central need for all kinds of tasks and users, including the visually impaired. In this context, various adapted tools of assistance (screen readers, Braille terminals, screen magnification, etc.), have been increasingly helping persons suffering from a visual incapacity to access and manipulate information. While effective with textual contents, nonetheless, existing solutions remain very limited when it comes to accessing and understanding visual contents. The goal of our work is to provide a computerized solution, investigating the use of the vibrating touch screen technology in providing a contour-based presentation of simple images for visually impaired users. This could prove very useful in allowing blind people to access geographic maps, to navigate autonomously inside and outside buildings, as well as to access graphs and mathematical charts (for visually impaired students). To achieve this, we develop a detailed experimental protocol, EVIAC, testing a blind userâs capacity in learning, understanding, distinguishing and identifying basic geometric objects using a vibrating touch screen. Preliminary tests on blindfolded candidates show promising results with respect to traditional paper embossing.