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Interactive digital television services for people with low vision.  by sylvie perera



This project commenced with a literature search [report 1] to determine what are the problems and barriers people find when using and accessing interactive digital television. The first report details that some people in the samples tested do have problems using the technology and others cannot even access it even though they want to. It was thought necessary to pursue this further to determine solutions to some of the problems raised.

The possibility of using smart cards to rectify some of these problems of usability and access was explored [report 2]. From this, a prototype was designed based on the possibility of a smart card configurable system. A usability evaluation [report 3] was conducted with partially sighted people to see the issues that arose if they were to use a generic interactive system. The usability evaluation indicated that visually impaired people's problems mainly occurred because they could not access the cues to enable them to interact with the system. If these were made clearer or described to them verbally, their movement through the set tasks was relatively easy.

So although visually impaired people currently have difficulty accessing interactive digital television - if they can do so at all - this need not be the case. Integrating smart card and digital technology together, would enable people with special requirements to configure a system to meet their needs. But what features would visually impaired people think they would find useful? A questionnaire [report 4] was designed and distributed to identify the different features required.

From the results of the user's needs questionnaire, specific variables were investigated further. Experiments were performed to determine the design specification of various features [report 5].


The author is grateful for the advice of Dr John Gill. Gratitude is also extended to Rie Imai who helped develop and created the prototype for use in the usability evaluation. The author would also like to thank all the subjects for making this report possible by offering their time and participation.


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