Eliciting Usability from Blind User Mental Model for Touch Screen Devices

  • Mohammed Fakrudeen
  • Maaruf Ali
  • Sufian Yousef
  • Abdelrahman H. Hussein
Conference paper


A novel mental model of born blind users for touch screen devices to aid software developers in designing and building better usability applications for blind users is presented. The work of Kurniawan was the basis to examine the mental model of blind users. A user case study was carried out to assess the subjective mental model of users in regards to application of usability. This revealed that two stages: listening and interaction are used to facilitate the development of the Kurniawan mental model. This paper also suggests twelve usability features that can be added to facilitate the design phase of the system.


Blind user Heuristics Mental model Smartphone Touch screen Usability 


  1. 1.
    P.N. Johnson-Laird, Mental models and thought, in The Cambridge Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning (Cambridge Handbooks in Psychology), ed. by K.J. Holyoak, R.G. Morrison (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2005), pp. 185–208. ISBN: 13: 978-0521531016Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    M.J. Davidson, L. Dove, J. Weltz, Mental models and usability. Cogn. Psychol. 404, (1999). Available:
  3. 3.
    S. Weinschenk, The secret to designing an intuitive UX: match the mental model to the conceptual model, Article No. 513, 8 Oct 2011. Available:
  4. 4.
    ISO 9241-11: Ergonomic Requirements for Office Work with Visual Display Terminals (VDTs), Part 11: Guidance on usability, 15 March, 1998. Available:
  5. 5.
    N. Juristo, A.M. Moreno, M.-I. Sanchez-Sugura, Analysing the impact on usability on software design. J. Syst. Soft. 80(9), 1506–1516 (2007). doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2007.01.006. ISSN: 0164-1212. Available:
  6. 6.
    L. Bass, B.E. John, J. Kates, Achieving Usability Through Software Architecture, Tech. R. CMU/SEI-2001-TR-005, ESC-TR-2001-005, Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, pp. 29-30,
  7. 7.
    L. Bass, B.E. John, Linking usability to software architecture patterns through general scenarios. J. Syst. Soft. 66(3), 87–197 (2003). doi: 10.1016/S0164-1212(02)00076-6
  8. 8.
    D.A. Norman, The Design of Everyday Things, Revised and Expanded Edition (Basic Books, New York, 2013). ISBN-13: 978-0465050659Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    A. Kurtz, Mental Models—A Theory Critique, (2003). Available:
  10. 10.
    S. Makri, A. Blandford, J. Gow, J. Rimmer, C. Warwick, G. Buchanan, A library or just another information resource? A case study of users’ mental models of traditional and digital libraries. J. Am. Soc. Info. Sci. Tech. 58(3), 433–445 (2007). doi: 10.1002/asi.20510
  11. 11.
    K. Potesnak, Mental models: helping users understand software. Software IEEE 6(5), 85–86 (1989). doi: 10.1109/52.35592 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    M.C. Puerta-Melguizo, C. Chisalita, G.C. Van der Veer, Assessing users mental models in designing complex systems. Syst. Man Cybern. IEEE Int. Conf. 7, 6 (2002). doi: 10.1109/ICSMC.2002.1175734
  13. 13.
    E. Murphy, R. Kuber, G. McAllister, P. Strain, W. Yu, An empirical investigation into the difficulties experienced by visually impaired Internet users. Univers. Access Inf. Soc. 7(1–2), 79–91 (2008). doi:  10.1007/s10209-007-0098-4. (Springer)
  14. 14.
    J.P. Bigham, A.C. Cavender, J.T. Brudvik, J.O. Wobbrock, R.E. Lander, WebinSitu: a comparative analysis of blind and sighted browsing behavior, in ASSETS’07 Proceedings of the 9th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility, pp. 51–58, 15–17 Oct 2007. doi: 10.1145/1296843.1296854. ISBN: 978-1-59593-573-1. Available:
  15. 15.
    K. Shinohara, J.D. Tenenberg, A blind person’s interaction with technology. Comm. ACM 52(8), 58–66 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    H. Takagi, S. Saito, K. Fukuda, C. Asakawa, Analysis of navigability of Web Applications for improving blind usability. ACM Trans. Comput. Hum. Interact. 14(3), 13 (2007). doi: 10.1145/1279700.1279703
  17. 17.
    S.H. Kurniawan, A. Sutcliffe, Mental models of blind users in the windows environment, in Computers Helping People with Special Needs. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 2398 (Springer, Berlin, 2002), pp. 568–574. doi:  10.1007/3-540-45491-8
  18. 18.
    S.N.S.M. Saei, S. Sulaiman, H. Hasbullah, Mental model of blind users to assist designers in system development. 2010 Int. Symp. Info. Tech. (ITSim), 1, 1–5 (2010). doi: 10.1109/ITSIM.2010.5561350
  19. 19.
    Y.S. Lee, S.W. Hong, T.L. Smith-Jackson, M.A. Nussbaum, K. Tomioka, Systematic evaluation methodology for cell phone user interfaces. Interact. Comput. 18(2), 304–325 (2006). doi: ISSN: 0953-5438. Available:
  20. 20.
    M. Fakrudeen, M. Ali, S. Yousef, A.H. Hussein, Analysing the mental model of blind users in mobile touch screen devices for usability, in Proceedings of The World Congress on Engineering 2013. Lecture Notes in Engineering and Computer Science, vol. II, WCE 2013, London, pp. 837–842, 3–5 July 2013. Available:
  21. 21.
    Y. Zhang. The influence of mental models on undergraduate students’ searching behavior on the Web. Inf. Process. Manage.44(3), 1330–1345 (2008).Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    M. Sasse, Eliciting and Describing Users’ Models of Computer Systems, Ph.D. University of Birmingham, 1997Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    P. Adank, B.G. Evans, J. Stuart-Smith, S.K. Scott, Comprehension of familiar and unfamiliar native accents under adverse listening conditions. J. Exp. Psychol. Hum. Percept. Perform. 35(2), 520–529 (2009). doi: 10.1037/a0013552. ISSN: 0096-1523. Available:
  24. 24.
    K. Papadopoulos, E. Katemidou, A. Koutsoklenis, E. Mouratidou, Differences among sighted individuals and individuals with visual impairments in word intelligibility presented via synthetic and natural speech. Augmentative Altern. Comm. 26(4), 278–288 (2010). doi: 10.3109/07434618.2010.522200
  25. 25.
    D. Crystal, A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics, 6th edn. (Wiley-Blackwell, Malden, 2008). ISBN: 978-1-4051-5296-9Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    M. Harrington, M. Sawyer, L2 working memory capacity and L2 reading skill. Stud. Second Lang. Acquisition 14(1), 25–38 (1992). doi: 10.1017/S0272263100010457. (Cambridge University Press)
  27. 27.
    L. Vandergrift, C. Goh, C. Marescha, M. Tafaghodtar, The metacognitive awareness listening questionnaire: development and validation. Lang. Learn. 56(3), 431–462 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    M. Sasaki, Effects of cultural schemata on students’ test-taking processes for cloze tests: a multiple data source approach. Lang. Test. 17(1), 85–114 (2000). doi: 10.1177/026553220001700104
  29. 29.
    G.R. Kiany, S. Jalali, Relationship between modality, types of passages, and performance of advanced EFL learners on listening comprehension tests. Iran. J. Appl. Linguist. 9(2), 79–99. Available:
  30. 30.
    E.H. Jung, The role of discourse signaling cues in second language listening comprehension. Mod. Lang. J. 87(4), 562–577 (2003). doi: 10.1111/1540-4781.00208
  31. 31.
    S.A. Crossely, D.B. Allen, D.S. McNamara, Text readability and intuitive simplification: a comparison of readability formulas. Read. Foreign Lang. 23(1), 84–101 (2011). Available: ISSN: 1539-0578
  32. 32.
    N. Golestani, S. Rosen, S.K. Scott, Native-language benefit for understanding speech-in-noise: The contribution of semantics. Biling. (Camb. Engl.) 12(3), 385–392 (2009). doi:  10.1017/S1366728909990150. Available:
  33. 33.
    D.A. Norman, Some observations on mental models, in Mental Models, ed. by D. Gentner, A.L. Stevens (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, New Jersey, 1983), pp. 7–14. ISBN-13: 978-0898592429Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammed Fakrudeen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Maaruf Ali
    • 1
  • Sufian Yousef
    • 2
  • Abdelrahman H. Hussein
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer Science and Software EngineeringUniversity of Ha’il, College of Computer Science and EngineeringHa’ilKingdom of Saudi Arabia
  2. 2.Science and TechnologyAnglia Ruskin UniversityCambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations