The VI Nav cards: a holistic approach to supporting the design of navigation aids for the blind and visually impaired

Yehia, Ziyad Khamis Mohammad (2020) The VI Nav cards: a holistic approach to supporting the design of navigation aids for the blind and visually impaired. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB) estimates that there are around two million Blind and Visually Impaired (B/VI) people in the UK. Due primarily to the general ageing of the population, this number is expected to increase to four million by 2050. Previous research has highlighted that B/VI people frequently experience problems with their mobility and thus desire improved means for travel and navigation. As a consequence, researchers and industry put much effort into producing a range of navigation aids. Nevertheless, there is considerable evidence that such supporting mechanisms typically fail to satisfy the wide range of needs that B/VI people have for their aids, and thus tend to have low adoption rates.

The aim of this thesis is to curate the various needs that B/VI people have for their navigation aids, and package this design knowledge into a novel set of ideation cards that can be used to better support B/VI navigation aid design. The principal benefit of using ideation cards over other methods of democratising academic design knowledge, such as design guidelines, is the utility of ideation cards in creative design sessions. The intention is that, by using ideation cards, designers will be better positioned to consider at the point of design the wide range of needs that B/VI people have for their navigation aids and thus be better equipped to produce navigation aids that satisfy the full scope of needs.

Although ideation cards may be developed by following a participatory design methodology, this research does not take such an approach.

To collect the needs, I conducted in-depth interviews with nine B/VI people and two employees of Wayfindr, a leading navigation aid design consultancy based in London. The cards were created following Golembewski and Selby's (2010) five-step method for creating ideation decks. The cards were then evaluated in a set of trial studies with seven human factors researchers, three executives of the Guide Dogs charity in the UK , and a VI person. All data was analysed using Braun and Clarke's (2012) Thematic Analysis method.

My thesis makes fives main contributions. Firstly, my research contributes a set of ideation cards , known as the VI Nav cards, that can be used to design and evaluate navigation aids to support the needs of B/VI people. The intention is that these cards can be used to embed a holistic consideration of the needs of B/VI people into future navigation aid design efforts.

Secondly, while the literature typically only discusses the challenges that B/VI people face `outdoors' and `indoors', there is little discussion of the types of challenges that occur in specific environments, e.g. Train Stations, Shopping Centres, Airports. An understanding of this is important, as different types of locations under these general headings are far from homogeneous. I outline the navigation challenges that can occur in specific environments mentioned by my participants.

Thirdly, although there is much discussion in the literature about the needs that B/VI people may have for their navigation aids, there is little, if any, discussion of the barriers that can prevent an aid from becoming successful commercially. Understanding these requirements is important if navigation aids are to go on to have a significant impact on the B/VI community and I present and discuss the important commercial factors from the perspectives of B/VI users and of industry.

Fourthly, ideation cards are typically only presented as methods of generating ideas. Because of the incorporation of an evaluation element in my cards, I demonstrate how ideation cards can be used more widely to evaluate pre-existing ideas, even those of third-parties. This is very useful for organisations such as Guide Dogs or the RNIB who may wish to check for common issues before making recommendations of tools to their service users.

Finally, this thesis defines how ideation cards, and their usage, can be made accessible to B/VI people. This is important not only for the cards in this thesis, but also for the wider HCI design community, as they continue to strive to make their practises and methods participatory and accessible to all.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Burnett, Gary
Tennent, Paul
Keywords: blind, visually impaired, people with visual disabilities; navigation, ideation cards, navigation aids, mobility aids
Subjects: H Social sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
T Technology > TS Manufactures
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering
Item ID: 60787
Depositing User: Yehia, Ziyad
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2020 04:40
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2020 04:40

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