Feeling What You Hear: Tactile Feedback for Navigation of Audio Graphs

Steven Wall

(Glasgow University)

Access to digitally stored numerical data is currently very limited for
sight impaired people. Graphs and visualizations are often used to
analyze relationships between numerical data, but the current methods of
accessing them are highly visually mediated. Representing data using
synthesised speech is a common method of making data more accessible,
but methods of navigating and accessing the data are often serial in
nature and laborious. Tactile or haptic displays could be used to
provide additional feedback to support a point-and-click type
interaction for the visually impaired. In this talk I will discuss a
requirements capture conducted with sight impaired computer users at the
Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford, and discuss key
findings for using tactile feedback to aid navigation. These findings
led to the design of a prototype accessible interface which has been
iteratively developed with input from the college over the last 12
months. Providing an absolute position input device and tactile feedback
allowed the users to explore graphs using tactile and proprioceptive
cues in a manner analogous to point-and-click techniques.

Dr Steven Wall is a postdoctoral research fellow in the multimodal
interaction group at Glasgow University. He obtained a PhD from the
Department of Cybernetics, University of Reading, for research on
virtual haptic display of material properties. He currently works on the
"Tactons" project, investigating multimodal applications of tactile
display for accessibility.
Thursday 1st June 2006, 14:00
Robert Recorde Room
Department of Computer Science