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Voice and Touch Diagrams (VATagrams) Diagrams for the Visually Impaired



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If a picture is worth a thousand words would you rather read the two pages of text or simply view the image? Most would choose to view the image; however, for the visually impaired this isn’t always an option. Diagrams assist people in visualizing relationships between objects. Most often these diagrams act as a source for quickly referencing information about relationships. Diagrams are highly visual and as such, there are few tools to support diagram creation for visually impaired individuals. To allow the visually impaired the ability to share the same advantages in school and work as sighted colleagues, an accessible diagram tool is needed. A suitable tool for the visually impaired to create diagrams should allow these individuals to: 1. easily define the type of relationship based diagram to be created, 2. easily create the components of a relationship based diagram, 3. easily modify the components of a relationship based diagram, 4. quickly understand the structure of a relationship based diagram, 5. create a visual representation which can be used by the sighted, and 6. easily accesses reference points for tracking diagram components. To do this a series of prototypes of a tool were developed that allow visually impaired users the ability to read, create, modify and share relationship based diagrams using sound and gestural touches. This was accomplished by creating a series of applications that could be run on an iPad using an overlay that restricts the areas in which a user can perform gestures. These prototypes were tested for usability using measures of efficiency, effectiveness and satisfaction. The prototypes were tested with visually impaired, blindfolded and sighted participants. The results of the evaluation indicate that the prototypes contain the main building blocks that can be used to complete a fully functioning application to be used on an iPad.



HCI, Accessibility, Usability, Visually Impaired, blind



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Computer Science


Computer Science


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