Tactile maps can help people who are blind or have low-vision navigate and familiarize themselves with unfamiliar locations. Ideally, tactile maps can be customized to an individual's unique needs and abilities because of their limited space for representation. We present Maptimizer, a tool that generates tactile maps based on users' preferences and requirements. Maptimizer uses a two stage optimization process to pair representations with geographic information and tune those representations to present that information more clearly. In a small user study, Maptimizer helped participants more successfully and efficiently identify locations of interest in unknown areas. These results demonstrate the utility of optimization techniques and generative design in complex accessibility domains.
YouTube is a space where people with disabilities can reach a wider online audience to present what it is like to have disabilities. Thus, it is imperative to understand how content creators with disabilities strategically interact with algorithms to draw viewers around the world. However, considering that the algorithm carries the risk of making less inclusive decisions for users with disabilities, whether the current algorithmic experiences (AXs) on video platforms is inclusive for creators with disabilities is an open question. To address that, we conducted semi-structured interviews with eight YouTubers with disabilities. We found that they aimed to inform the public of diverse representations of disabilities, which led them to work with algorithms by strategically portraying disability identities. However, they were disappointed that the way the algorithms work did not sufficiently support their goals. Based on findings, we suggest implications for designing inclusive AXs that could embrace creators’ subtle needs.
Engagement with electronic toolkits enhances people's creative abilities, self-esteem, problem-solving skills and enables the creation of personally meaningful artifacts. A variety of simplified electronics toolkits are increasingly available to help different user groups engage with technology. However, they are often inaccessible for people with intellectual disabilities (IDs), who experience a range of cognitive and physical impairments. We designed and developed TronicBoards, a curated set of accessible electronic modules, to address this gap. We evaluated it one-on-one with 10 participants using a guided exploration approach. Our analysis revealed that participants were able to create simple sensor-based interactive circuits with varying levels of assistance. We report the strengths and weaknesses of TronicBoards, considering participants' successes and challenges in manipulating and comprehending toolkit components, circuit building activities, and troubleshooting processes. We discuss implications for designing inclusive electronics toolkits for people with IDs, particularly in considering design elements that improve functionality, comprehensibility and agency.
The data table is a basic but versatile representation to communicate data. From government reports to bank statements, tables effectively carry essential data-driven information by visually organizing data using rows, columns, and other arrangements (e.g., merged cells). However, many tables online neglect the accessibility requirements for people who rely on screen readers, such as people who are blind or have low vision (BLV). First, we consolidated guidelines to understand what makes a table inaccessible for BLV people. We conducted an interview study to understand the importance of tables and identify further design requirements for an accessible table. We built a tool that automatically detects HTML formatted tables online and transforms them into accessible tables. Our evaluative study demonstrates how our tool can help participants understand the table's structure and layout and support smooth navigation when the table is large and complex.
Collaborative document editing tools are widely used in professional and academic workplaces. While these tools provide basic accessibility support, it is challenging for blind users to gain collaboration awareness that sighted people can easily obtain using visual cues (e.g., who is editing where and what). Through a series of co-design sessions with a blind coauthor, we identified the current practices and challenges in collaborative editing, and iteratively designed CollabAlly, a system that makes collaboration awareness in document editing accessible to blind users. CollabAlly extracts collaborator, comment, and text-change information and their context from a document and presents them in a dialog box to provide easy access and navigation. CollabAlly uses earcons to communicate background events unobtrusively, voice fonts to differentiate collaborators, and spatial audio to convey the location of document activity. In a study with 11 blind participants, we demonstrate that CollabAlly provides improved access to collaboration awareness by centralizing scattered information, sonifying visual information, and simplifying complex operations.