Subway Mobility Assistance Tools for Blind Users

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Abstract

In this study, we introduce software for blind users that represents a subway system in a desktop computer. A user can organize and prepare a travel with the assistance of the software before riding the subway. After a usability study and cognitive evaluation, we detected the need for creating a mobile solution with similar goals as the desktop application. This software for mobile devices has also the capacity to help the user to solve mobility and orientation problems in real subway stations. In order to design a handheld version it was necessary to consider new features such as travel duration, tickets fare, and the estimated time duration of the travel. Conclusions from the usability study revealed the importance of using interface elements such as the audio-based hierarchy menu, the travel simulation, and the information about the subway network, stations and their surroundings. The cognitive study results revealed important gains in the development of orientation and mobility skills to use the subway system in blind users, which help them to be more integrated to the society.