Beyond a Visuocentric Way of a Visual Web Search Clustering Engine: The Sonification of WhatsOnWeb

  • Maria Laura Mele
  • Stefano Federici
  • Simone Borsci
  • Giuseppe Liotta
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6179)


It is widely accepted that spatial representation is processed by an amodal system. Recent studies show that blind subjects have a better motion ability than sighted people in performing spatial exploration guided only by auditory cues. The sonification method offers an effective tool able to transmit graphic information, overcoming the digital divide risen by a visuocentric modality in which contents are conveyed. We present a usability evaluation aiming at investigate the interaction differences between both blind and sighted users while surfing WhatsOnWeb, a search engine that displays the information by using graph-drawing methods on semantically clustered data. We compare the visual presentation of three different layouts with the sonificated ones, demonstrating both qualitatively and quantitatively that blind and sighted users perform with no significant differences the interaction. These results remark that the digital divide could be decreased by going beyond the visuocentric way of the commonly adopted visual content representation.


Sonification Information visualization Accessibility Usability 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Laura Mele
    • 1
  • Stefano Federici
    • 1
    • 2
  • Simone Borsci
    • 1
  • Giuseppe Liotta
    • 3
  1. 1.ECoNA - Interuniversity Centre for Research on Cognitive Processing in Natural, and Artificial Systems’Sapienza’ University of RomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Human and Education SciencesUniversity of PerugiaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Electronic and Information EngineeringUniversity of PerugiaItaly

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