"Just let the cane hit it": How the blind and sighted see navigation differently

Michele A. Williams, Caroline Galbraith, Shaun K. Kane, Amy Hurst

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Sighted people often have the best of intentions when they want to help a blind person navigate, but their well meaning is also often coupled with a lack of knowledge and understanding about how a person navigates without vision. As a result what sighted people think is the right feedback is too often the wrong feedback to give to a person with a visual impairment. Understanding how to provide feedback to blind navigators is crucial to the design of assistive technologies for navigation. In our research investigating the design of a personal pedestrian navigation device, we observed firsthand the ways that sighted people seemingly misunderstand how many blind people navigate when using a white cane mobility aid. Throughout our qualitative end user studies that included focus groups and observations (including couple-based observations with a close companion) we gathered data that explicitly shows how the language and understanding of sighted vs. blind pedestrians differs greatly and even how it can be dangerous when people interfere in the wrong way. From our findings we discuss why it is difficult for a blind person to navigate like a sighted person to ensure designers are aware of the difficulties and designing with new training in mind, not simply designing from their own point of view. We also want to encourage advocacy and empathy amongst the sighted community towards this activity of walking around independently.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationASSETS14 - Proceedings of the 16th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages217-224
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781450327206
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 20 2014
Event16th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility, ASSETS 2014 - Rochester, United States
Duration: Oct 20 2014Oct 22 2014

Publication series

NameASSETS14 - Proceedings of the 16th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility

Conference

Conference16th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility, ASSETS 2014
CountryUnited States
CityRochester
Period10/20/1410/22/14

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Keywords

  • Blind navigation
  • Empathy
  • White cane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture

Cite this

Williams, M. A., Galbraith, C., Kane, S. K., & Hurst, A. (2014). "Just let the cane hit it": How the blind and sighted see navigation differently. In ASSETS14 - Proceedings of the 16th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (pp. 217-224). (ASSETS14 - Proceedings of the 16th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility). Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. https://doi.org/10.1145/2661334.2661380

"Just let the cane hit it" : How the blind and sighted see navigation differently. / Williams, Michele A.; Galbraith, Caroline; Kane, Shaun K.; Hurst, Amy.

ASSETS14 - Proceedings of the 16th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility. Association for Computing Machinery, Inc, 2014. p. 217-224 (ASSETS14 - Proceedings of the 16th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Williams, MA, Galbraith, C, Kane, SK & Hurst, A 2014, "Just let the cane hit it": How the blind and sighted see navigation differently. in ASSETS14 - Proceedings of the 16th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility. ASSETS14 - Proceedings of the 16th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility, Association for Computing Machinery, Inc, pp. 217-224, 16th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility, ASSETS 2014, Rochester, United States, 10/20/14. https://doi.org/10.1145/2661334.2661380
Williams MA, Galbraith C, Kane SK, Hurst A. "Just let the cane hit it": How the blind and sighted see navigation differently. In ASSETS14 - Proceedings of the 16th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility. Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. 2014. p. 217-224. (ASSETS14 - Proceedings of the 16th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility). https://doi.org/10.1145/2661334.2661380
Williams, Michele A. ; Galbraith, Caroline ; Kane, Shaun K. ; Hurst, Amy. / "Just let the cane hit it" : How the blind and sighted see navigation differently. ASSETS14 - Proceedings of the 16th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility. Association for Computing Machinery, Inc, 2014. pp. 217-224 (ASSETS14 - Proceedings of the 16th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility).
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