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Exploring the Opportunities and Challenges with Exercise Technologies for People who are Blind or Low-Vision

Kyle Rector, Lauren Milne, Richard Ladner, Batya Friedman and Julie Kientz

The 17th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS 2015)
Lisbon, Portugal, October 26-28, 2015


People who are blind or low-vision may have a harder time participating in exercise due to inaccessibility, travel difficulties, or lack of experience. We employed Value Sensitive Design (VSD) to explore the potential of technology to enhance exercise for people who are blind or low-vision. We conducted 20 semi-structured interviews about exercise and technology with 10 people who are blind or low-vision and 10 people who facilitate fitness for people who are blind or low-vision. We also conducted a survey on third party perceptions of exercise with people who are blind or low-vision with 76 people from the general population. Based on our interviews and survey, we found opportunities for technology development in four areas: 1) mainstream exercise classes, 2) exercise with sighted guides, 3) rigorous outdoors activity, and 4) navigation of exercise spaces. Design considerations include designing the audio channel based on exercise and context, and that it is acceptable to develop less mainstream technologies if they enhance mainstream exercise. We hope to inform the design of future accessible exercise technologies.

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