The Effectiveness of Verbal Information Provided by Electronic Travel Aids for Visually Impaired PersonsBy Havik, Else M.; Kooijman, Aart C.; Steyvers, J.J.M.; Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, Volume 105, Number 10, pages 624-637
Publication Date: October-November 2011
Study assessed the effectiveness of different types of verbal information delivered by electronic navigation systems used by visually impaired persons. Study participants were 24 individuals with visual impairments aged 18 to 65 years, of whom 9 were women and 12 were functionally blind. The travel aid used was the Groningen Indoor Route Information System (GIRIS). The GIRIS consists of active Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) beacons and a Dell Pocket PC containing an RFID receiver, navigation software, and an earphone. The RFID beacons were installed at all decision points and possible destinations in the public halls of the university medical center used for the study. For the test site, eight test routes were chosen, which were similar in length, number of turns to be made, and number of beacons passed on the way. Participants completed all test routes at a self selected speed guided by GIRIS giving route information only, or route information combined with environmental information such as landmarks passed. A test leader followed participants and intervened as needed. Wayfinding performance was measured by the percentage of preferred walking speed (PPWS) and by the percentage of routes navigated without interventions from the test leader. Participants’ PPWS increased with each session but remained lower for the blind participants than for those with low vision. The blind group walked fewer routes without interventions than did the low vision group. Participants preferred a combination of route information and environmental information, even though this information did not always result in their optimal wayfinding performance. Based on study results, recommendations for the programming of GIRIS information are offered.
Published by: AFB Press (Website:http://www.afb.org/Section.asp?SectionID=46)
American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) (Web Site: http://www.afb.org )
This publication is included in the library of the National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC), accession number J62372