Blind or Low-Vision

Technology and Disability Policy Highlights – May 2020

In May, the world celebrated the Eighth Annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) with virtual events. Microsoft hosted its annual Ability Summit, open to the public, and discussed a variety of disability access and inclusion topics. IBM also celebrated with the launch of an open-source Equal Access Toolkit. This toolkit was created to provide web designers with resources to create accessible websites and applications. Other tech companies, like Apple and Google, released new...

Design and Evaluation of a Multimodal Physics Simulation

We present a multimodal science simulation, including visual and auditory (descriptions, sound effects, and sonifications) display. The design of each modality is described, as well as evaluation with learners with and without visual impairments. We conclude with challenges and opportunities at the intersection of multiple modalities.

Spotlights and Soundscapes: On the Design of Mixed Reality Auditory Environments for Persons with Visual Impairment

For persons with visual impairment, forming cognitive maps of unfamiliar interior spaces can be challenging. Various technical developments have converged to make it feasible, without specialized equipment, to repre- sent a variety of useful landmark objects via spatial audio, rather than solely dispensing route information. Although such systems could be key to facilitating cognitive map formation, high-density auditory environments must be crafted carefully


Barriers to Employment Participation of Individuals with Disabilities: Addressing the Impact of Employer (Mis)Perception and Policy

Although progress has been made toward the objective of increased employment for people with disabilities, the 17.2% employment rate of people with disabilities stands in distressing contrast to the 65% rate of those without disabilities. This article summarizes the results of a comparative survey of representative academic literature and industry publications related to employer policies and practices that can affect workforce participation of


Imagining futures: A collaborative policy/device design for wearable computing

The rapidly expanding market for wearable computing devices (wearables), driven by advances in information and communication technologies (ICT), wireless access, and public acceptance of a design aesthetic, is indicative of the near limitless potential for changing the relationship of users to information context(s). As the adoption of wearable devices spreads, there are cultural and social impacts that represent both barriers and opportunities, with subsequent policy ramifications. All too...

Does culture affect usability? A trans-European usability and user experience assessment of a falls-risk connected health system following a user-centered design methodology carried out in a single

User-centred design (UCD) is a process whereby the end-user is placed at the centre of the design process. The WIISEL (Wireless Insole for Independent and Safe Elderly Living) system is designed to monitor fall risk and to detect falls and consists of a pair of instrumented insoles and a smartphone app. The system was designed using a three-phase UCD process carried out in Ireland, which incorporated the input of Irish end-users and multidisciplinary experts


Technology and Disability Policy Highlights – April 2020

In April, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to make 1,200 megahertz of spectrum in the 6 GHz band available for unlicensed use to help the deployment of WiFi 6. According to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, the agency suggests the use of the 6 GHz band for low-power devices like "accessibility technology for Americans with disabilities, virtual reality gaming, augmented reality glasses, in-vehicle systems, and other emerging technologies." However, while some actively await...

Smartphone Use and Activities by People with Disabilities: 2015-2016 Survey

Access and use of mainstream wireless technology is essential to social and economic participation, which can be especially challenging to people with disabilities. Technology ownership rates are indicative of general access to these critical technologies. However, analysis of the activities of technology users can provide more detailed assessment of the nature and degree of technology access. This article presents findings from the


Introducing Assistive Technology and Universal Design Theory, Applications in Design Education

Choi, Y (2018). Introducing Assistive Technology and Universal Design Theory, Applications in Design Education. In Langdon, P., Lazar, J., Heylighen, A., Dong, H (Ed.), Breaking Down Barriers: Usability, Accessibility, and Inclusive Dseign (pp. 29-39). Basel Switzerland: Springer International Publishing

Abstract: The aim of this study was to better understand

Technology and Disability Policy Highlights – March 2020

With the pressing concerns of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), this issue covers many of the ways in which COVID-19 impacts the disability community. A departure from only reporting on wireless technology access activities, we include a range of COVID-19 resources and initiatives for people with disabilities. For example, the select provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act are outlined, focusing on funds directed towards ensuring services for...


Subscribe to RSS - Blind or Low-Vision


The contents of this website were developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number 90RE5025-01-00). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this website do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.