Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Dianne Pawluk


When people go to a mall, museums, or other such locations they tend to rely on maps to find their way around. However, for people who are blind or visually impaired (BVI) maps are not easily accessible and they depend on other means, such as a guide, to get around. Research has only just begun to investigate providing maps for people who are BVI on touch screen devices. Many different types of feedback have been used: audio (sound), tactile (touch), audio-tactile, and multitouch. Some research has been conducted on the benefit of using multiple fingers (multitouch) and has found conflicting results. Yet, no known research has been conducted on the comparison of using audio feedback to that of tactile feedback.

In this study, we look to try and answer two questions. 1.) Is audio equal to or better than tactile? As well as: 2.) Does multiple fingers help? Participants were asked to use seven different methods (4 audio, 3 tactile) to explore an overview map and an individual map and answer questions about them. Results showed that overall, audio cues are similar or better than tactile cues which is beneficial since it requires less battery to generate audio cues than tactile cues. It was also shown that the use of multiple fingers was more beneficial in tasks that are spatially demanding. While those who have tactile experience benefited when using two fingers with each finger represented by a different instrument played to separated ears.


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