Digital Technologies in Orientation and Mobility Instruction for People Who are Blind or Have Low Vision

Graham Dove, Adelle Fernando, Kim Hertz, Jin Kim, John Ross Rizzo, William H. Seiple, Oded Nov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper investigates the tools and practices used by Orientation and Mobility (O&M) specialists in instructing people who are blind or have low vision in concepts, skills, and techniques for safe and independent travel. Based on interviews with experienced instructors who practice in different O&M settings we find that a shortage of qualified specialists and restrictions on in-person activities during COVID-19 has accelerated interest in remote instruction and assessment, while widespread adoption of smartphones with accessibility support has driven interest in assistive apps. This presents both opportunities and challenges for a practice that is traditionally conducted in-person and assessed through qualitative observations. In response we identify multiple opportunities for HCI research in service of O&M, including: supporting a 'physician's assistant' model of remote O&M instruction and assessment, matching O&M instructors' clients with guide dogs, highlighting clients' progress towards O&M goals, and collaboratively planning routes and monitoring clients' independent travel progress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number509
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Issue numberCSCW2
StatePublished - Nov 11 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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