Indoor navigation by blind people: Behaviors and challenges in unfamiliar spaces and buildings

Watthanasak Jeamwatthanachai, Mike Wald, Gary Wills
2019 The British Journal of Visual Impairment  
A number of visually impaired people suffer from navigation-related activities due to mishaps that discourage them from going out for social activities and interactionsn contrast to outdoors, traveling inside public spaces is a different story, as many environmental cues cannot be used and have their own set of difficulties. Some technologies have come into play in helping these people to have freedom in navigation (e.g., accessible map, indoor navigation systems, and wearable computing
more » ... . However, technologies like accessible maps or indoor navigation systems are insufficient to fulfill the independent navigation gap as additional information is required (obstacles, barriers, and accessibility). To promote indoor navigation and create better use of technologies for visually impaired people, it is essential to understand the facts and actual problems that they experience, and what behaviors and strategies they use to overcome any problems; these are the concerns that led to this study. In all, 30 visually impaired people and 15 experts were recruited to give an interview about the behavior and strategies used to navigate indoor spaces, especially public spaces, for example, universities, hospitals, malls, museums, and airports. The findings from this study reveal that navigating inside buildings and public spaces full of unfamiliar features is too difficult to attempt the first time for a number of reasons, reducing their confidence in independent navigation.
doi:10.1177/0264619619833723 fatcat:32u56j7kxva6lp4if7jlih4krm