"Is someone there? Do they have a gun?" how visual information about others can improve personal safety management for blind individuals

Stacy M. Branham, Ali Abdolrahmani, William Easley, Morgan Scheuerman, Erick Ronquillo, Amy Hurst

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

For decades, researchers have investigated and developed technologies that support independent navigation for people who are blind. This has led to systems that primarily aid in detecting routes, landmarks, and building features. However, there has been relatively little inquiry regarding how technologies might support navigation around and in the presence of other people. What visual information, if any, do blind navigators wish they had about people on their path? To address this question, we surveyed 58 blind and low vision individuals and interviewed 10 blind individuals. We discovered our participants were interested in using visual information about others to increase their physical safety. For example, they wanted to know if a passerby was holding a weapon, if a presumed official had a proper uniform or badge, and how to describe visual aspects of a criminal to law enforcement. This paper presents one of the only reports documenting accessibility challenges related to physical safety posed by others, including how future assistive tools can empower individuals with disabilities to more actively increase their sense of safety. We call this emerging area Personal Safety Management and contribute a set of four broad subareas that deserve further exploration by researchers and designers working within the blind and broader disabilities communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationASSETS 2017 - Proceedings of the 19th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages260-269
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450349260
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 19 2017
Event19th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility, ASSETS 2017 - Baltimore, United States
Duration: Oct 29 2017Nov 1 2017

Publication series

NameASSETS 2017 - Proceedings of the 19th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility

Conference

Conference19th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility, ASSETS 2017
CountryUnited States
CityBaltimore
Period10/29/1711/1/17

Keywords

  • Assistive technology
  • Blind
  • Crime
  • Disability
  • Facial recognition
  • Personal safety management
  • Police
  • Violence
  • Visual impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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  • Cite this

    Branham, S. M., Abdolrahmani, A., Easley, W., Scheuerman, M., Ronquillo, E., & Hurst, A. (2017). "Is someone there? Do they have a gun?" how visual information about others can improve personal safety management for blind individuals. In ASSETS 2017 - Proceedings of the 19th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (pp. 260-269). (ASSETS 2017 - Proceedings of the 19th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility). Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. https://doi.org/10.1145/3132525.3132534