Knowing the geography of an urban environment is crucial for visually impaired people. Tactile relief maps are generally used, but they retain significant limitations (limited amount of information, use of braille legend, etc.). Recent technological progress allows the development of innovative solutions which overcome these limitations. In this thesis, we present the design of an accessible interactive map through a participatory design process. This map is composed by a multi-touch screen with tactile map overlay and speech output. It provides auditory information when tapping on map elements. We have demonstrated in an experiment that our prototype was more effective and satisfactory for visually impaired users than a simple raised-line map. We also explored and tested different types of advanced non-visual interaction for exploring the map. This thesis demonstrates the importance of interactive tactile maps for visually impaired people and their spatial cognition.

Full Thesis:
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Thesis Advisor:
Delphine Picard & Christophe Jouffrais

Award Date:
November 27, 2013

IRIT – University Toulouse
Toulouse, France

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