Co-Creating a Wayfinding App for Visually Impaired

Joey van der Bie, Christina Jaschinski, Somaya Ben Allouch, Ben Kröse

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic

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Background: Construction work, squares, busy sidewalks, road crossings and hasty cyclists - these are just a few of the many challenges visually impaired people (VI) encounter when navigating through urban environments. Especially unknown routes require so much concentration and energy, that VI often choose to stay at home or to travel with assistance. The EyeBeacons project investigates how a wayfinding smartphone app for VI can support independent travel.

Methods: Two clickable prototypes of a wayfinding app for VI were created based on the user-requirements from a pilot study. The first app contained many personalization options for route planning, while the second app used pre-defined user profiles (wizard) to create personal routes. Both apps were evaluated in a co-creation workshop of 16 participants, consisting of VI (6), VI care professionals (5) and UX/ICT experts (5). During the workshop, several UX design tools (e.g., customer journey maps) were used to evaluate the apps.

Findings: Our preliminary results show that both apps were considered to have additional value for VI’s current route planning and wayfinding practices. Surprisingly, the first app, which offered many personalization options but consequently included more interaction steps, was preferred over the optimized wizard design of the second app. The main reason for this choice, was the limited insight on the reasoning behind route selection. Key features that participants missed in both prototype apps included for example, a function to repeat navigation cues on request.

Discussion: This study provides valuable new insights for the design of wayfinding apps that allow VI to navigate safely and independently through challenging urban environments. Furthermore, we found that co-creation works well with the target group using common UX design methods as long as some extra facilitation is provided to the VI. By using clickable prototypes, both VI and professionals were able to experience and evaluate the design prototypes.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018
EventSupporting Health by Technology 2018 - Twente University, Enschede, Netherlands
Duration: 1 Jun 20181 Jun 2018


ConferenceSupporting Health by Technology 2018
Internet address


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  • Grand EyeBeacons project

    van der Bie, Joey (Recipient), Jaschinski, Christina (Recipient), Nait Aicha, A. (Recipient), Ben Allouch, Somaya (Recipient), Kröse, B.J.A. (Recipient), van Hasselt, Timon (Recipient), Koopman, Jan (Recipient), de Nooij, Paul (Recipient), Kat, David (Recipient) & van der Geest, Thea (Recipient), 19 Jan 2017


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