Making Inaccessible Public Touchscreens Accessible
Despite being increasingly popular, many public touchscreen devices are not accessible to blind users. We present Toucha11y, a working prototype that enables blind users to use inaccessible touchscreens by themselves. Toucha11y consists of a mechanical bot that can be instrumented to an arbitrary touchscreen by the blind user and a companion app on their smartphone. The bot, once attached to a touchscreen, will recognize its content, retrieve the corresponding information from a built-in database, and render it on the user’s smartphone. A blind user can thus access the content and make selections via a smartphone’s built-in accessibility feature. The mechanical bot will automatically locate and trigger the corresponding virtual button on the touchscreen. We present the system design of Toucha11y, along with a series of technical evaluations. We conclude with a user study with ten blind participants, confirming that blind users can operate touchscreen devices with Toucha11y.
Jiasheng Li, Zeyu Yan, Arush Shah, Jonathan Lazar, Huaishu Peng
Proceedings of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 203) | DOI PDF