An Overview of Tactile Graphics Production and HCI Barriers in Existing Software Resources
Ivory, Melody Y.
Martin, Andrew P.
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Through the use of an on-line questionnaire and in-depth observation sessions, we examined how people produce tactile graphics (raised images that are designed to be read by the fingers) for blind students and how they use software applications during tactile graphics production. We found that tactile graphics specialists shy away from using applications, even though their production methods are labor and time intensive. Half of the participants did not use a computer at all and those who did relied upon simple drawing functionality, such as Microsoft Word’s drawing tools, as opposed to fully featured drawing systems like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. Participants considered fully featured drawing systems to be cumbersome, non-intuitive, and overkill for their needs. Nonetheless, these tools have valuable image processing algorithms, which could help them to streamline their work practices. Bridging the gap between their current and new software-based practices is an interesting human-computer interaction problem. The cost of not addressing this HCI problem is tremendous, because over 93,000 school-age children will be left behind.
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