Timbremap: Enabling the Visually-Impaired to Use Maps on Touch-Enabled Devices

Jing Su, Alyssa Rosenzweig, Ashvin Goel, Eyal de Lara, Khai Truong

12th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (MobileHCI), Lisbon, Portugal, September 2010



<p>Mapping applications on mobile devices have gained widespread popularity as a means for enhancing user mobility and ability to explore new locations and venues. Visually impaired users currently rely on computer text-tospeech or human-spoken descriptions of maps and indoor spaces. Unfortunately, speech-based descriptions are limited in their ability to succinctly convey complex layouts or spacial positioning.</p> <p>This paper presents Timbremap, a sonification interface enabling visually impaired users to explore complex indoor layouts using off-the-shelf touch-screen mobile devices. This is achieved using audio feedback to guide the user’s finger on the device’s touch interface to convey geometry. Our userstudy evaluation shows Timbremap is effective in conveying non-trivial geometry and enabling visually impaired users to explore indoor layouts.</p>