Landmark-enhanced route itineraries for navigation of blind pedestrians in urban environment

Visual impairment limits a person mainly in the ability to move freely and independently. Even with many navigation aids and tools currently on the market, almost one-third of the visually impaired do not travel alone without a guide. One of the most useful aids are the landmark-enhanced itineraries of the route created by orientation and mobility specialists.We describe the design of a system, which is based on a specific, efficiently collected geographical data, and which automatically generates human-like landmark-enhanced itineraries for navigation of visually impaired users. The studies we conducted (quantitative n = 16, qualitative n = 6) showed usability and efficiency of the system. We also provide a set of design recommendations to increase the usability of the system along with specific examples of usage of particular landmarks. Moreover, we report on 14-day long diary study (n = 3) where visually impaired participants used the system freely throughout the city center with a success rate of 84% without using GPS. Finally, based on an over-the-phone survey (n = 18), we provide a methodology to identify the essential area, where geographical data needs to be collected to enable visually impaired pedestrians to travel around the city center efficiently.

Journal on Multimodal User Interfaces 12(3):181-198, 2018.

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