Evaluating micro-guidance sonification methods in manual tasks for Blind and Visually Impaired people

Renan L Martins Guarese, Fabio Zambetta, Ron van Schyndel

Session: Nature and the Home - Thursday 2022-12-01 13:30-15:00 AEDT
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In-Person Presentation


This paper presents a user evaluation of seven sonification methods in two-dimensional (2D) manual micro-guidance tasks, which can be used as building blocks for spatialized audio in Mixed and Virtual Reality to model next-generation guidance aids for the Blind and Visually Impaired (BVI). The methods were tested in comparable interactive sonifications of 2D positions in a series of hand-navigation assessments with BVI and blindfolded sighted users, to validate the different approaches in environments without any visual feedback. Results highlighted that alternation and spatiality can be useful resources in sonified guidance, and that users accustomed to faster-than-regular audio speed replay tend to have more precise performances, while musical literacy only had a performance effect on methods highly dependent on aural skills. Ultimately, this work corroborates the notion that sonification may help BVI users perform better in day-to-day manual micro-guidance tasks such as retrieving items from a pantry, handling kitchen appliances, and properly discarding trash.