EAGER: The Mind of the Blind on the Web

Principal Investigator: 
Project Overview
Background & Purpose: 

This project will develop an understanding of the unique characteristics of blind people’s mental models in web interaction under conditions of incongruence. Incongruence is the mismatch between the expected and observed outcomes of actions that lead to difficulties in performing Web-based tasks. This understanding will explain the cognitive strategies blind people employ to deal with unique challenges inherent in non-visual Web interaction.

Setting: 

Institution of Special Education for the Blind in North Carolina and Texas.

Research Design: 

This project uses a comparative research design and will generate evidence that is both descriptive [observational], including a think-aloud method of direct observation, and causal [experimental]. The target population of interest is blind Internet users, particularly those with 5 years experience in using screen-reader assistive technology. The Web experience of sighted users will be used for comparison. Original data is collected using observation [personal observation] and concurrent verbal protocols of performing Web-based tasks from experimental and control group participants.

The project will use verbal protocol analysis. Verbal reports of participants are audio-recorded, transcribed, segmented and coded. It uses a coding scheme consistent with the PI’s integrated problem solving framework.

Findings: 

Findings will be posted as they become available.

Publications & Presentations: 

Babu, R., Singh, R., and Ganesh, J. (2010). Understanding blind users' Web accessibility and usability problems. AIS Transactions on Human Computer Interaction, 2(3), 73-94.