Designing TADA: Touch-and-Audio-based Diagram Access for People with Visual Impairments




Zhao, Yichun

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Diagrams are graphical representations of data and relations that rely on visual access, which poses challenges for people with visual impairments. In this thesis, we explored how people with visual impairments access diagrams by interviewing 15 participants about their experiences and challenges with diagrams. We found the factors affecting diagram accessibility and conceptualized a ladder of diagram accessibility. We also designed and implemented a novel software system, Touch-and-Audio-based Diagram Access (TADA), based on design goals and principles derived from study findings and existing literature. TADA runs on a multi-touch tablet and enables people to interact with diagrams and have spatial awareness of diagram elements. It supports various interaction techniques using touch gestures and speech as input, and musical tones and speech as output, al- lowing people to explore, search, navigate, and filter in node-link diagrams. We then conducted a system evaluation study with 25 participants to assess the effectiveness and perceived workload of using the system. The results showed that TADA provides spatial awareness, achieves higher levels of diagram accessibility, and reduces barriers to system access. The thesis contributes to the field of accessibility by providing insights into dia- gram accessibility factors and needs, introducing TADA with new interaction techniques and audio feedback designs for diagram access, and presenting empirical evidence of the effectiveness and perceived workload of TADA.



accessibility, visual impairments, diagram, graph, touch, audio