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Vol.23, No.1, 29 ~ 41, 2020
A Conversational Interactive Tactile Map for the Visually Impaired
Visually impaired people use tactile maps to get spatial information about their surrounding environment, find their way, and improve their independent mobility. However, classical tactile maps that make use of braille to describe the location within the map have several limitations, such as the lack of information due to constraints on space and limited feedback possibilities. This study describes the development of a new multi-modal interactive tactile map interface that addresses the challenges of tactile maps to improve the usability and independence of visually impaired people when using tactile maps. This interface adds touch gesture recognition to the surface of tactile maps and enables the users to verbally interact with a voice agent to receive feedback and information about navigation routes and points of interest. A low-cost prototype was developed to conduct usability tests that evaluated the interface through a survey and interview given to blind participants after using the prototype. The test results show that this interactive tactile map prototype provides improved usability for people over traditional tactile maps that use braille only. Participants reported that it was easier to find the starting point and points of interest they wished to navigate to with the prototype. Also, it improved self-reported independence and confidence compared with traditional tactile maps. Future work includes further development of the mobility solution based on the feedback received and an extensive quantitative study.
Key Words
Accessibility, Navigation, Tactile Map, Vision Impairment, Voice Interaction, 길 탐색, 시각 장애, 음성 상호작용, 접근성, 촉각 지도

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