An audio platform game was created and evaluated in order to answer the question of whether or not an audio game could be designed that effectively conveys the spatial information necessary for persons with visual impairments to successfully navigate the game levels and respond to audio cues in time to avoid obstacles. The game used several types of audio cues (sounds and speech) to convey the spatial setup (map) of the game world. Most audio-only players seemed to be able to create a workable mental map from the game’s sound cues alone, pointing to potential for the further development of similar audio games for persons with visual impairments. The research also investigated the navigational strategies used by persons with visual impairments and the accuracy of the participants’ mental maps as a consequence of their navigational strategy. A comparisons of the maps created by visually impaired participants with those created by sighted participants playing the game with and without graphics, showed no statistically significant difference in map accuracy between groups. However, there was a marked difference between the number of “invented” objects when we compared this value between the sighted audio-only group and the other groups, which could serve as an area for future research.

Full Thesis:
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Thesis Advisor:
Chris Harding

Award Date:
May 1, 2008

Iowa State University
Ames, Iowa, USA

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