In this paper, we report on the experiences of visually impaired users in navigating buildings. We focus on an investigation of the way-finding experiences by 10 participants with varying levels of visual ability, as they undertook a way-finding task in an unfamiliar public building. Through applying the BIT-Kit framework in this preliminary user study, we were able to uncover 54 enabling and disabling interactions within the case study building. While this building adhered to building legislation, our findings identified a number of accessibility problems including, issues associated with using doors, hazards caused by building finishes, and difficulty in knowing what to do in the case of an emergency evacuation. This user study has demonstrated a disparity between design guidance and the accessibility needs of building users. It has uncovered evidence to enable architects to begin to design for the real needs of users who have a range of visual impairment. Furthermore, it has instigated discussion of how BIT-Kit's evidence could be incorporated into digital modelling tools currently used in architectural practice.
|Title of host publication||ASSETS '14 Proceedings of the 16th international ACM SIGACCESS conference on Computers & accessibility|
|Publication status||Published - 20 Oct 2014|