Designing Search User Interfaces for Visually Impaired Searchers: A User-centred Approach
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The Web has been a blessing for visually impaired users as with the help of assistive technologies such as screen readers, they can access previously inaccessible information independently. However, for screen reader users, web-based information seeking can still be challenging as web pages are mainly designed for visual interaction. This affects visually impaired users’ perception of theWeb as an information space as well as their experience of search interfaces. The aim of this thesis is therefore to consider visually impaired users’ information seeking behaviour, abilities and interactions via screen readers in the design of a search interface to support complex information seeking. We first conduct a review of how visually impaired users navigate the Web using screen readers. We highlight the strategies employed, the challenges encountered and the solutions to enhance web navigation through screen readers. We then investigate the information seeking behaviour of visually impaired users on the Web through an observational study and we compare this behaviour to that of sighted users to examine the impact of screen reader interaction on the information seeking process. To engage visually impaired users in the design process, we propose and evaluate a novel participatory approach based on a narrative scenario and a dialogue-led interaction to verify user requirements and to brainstorm design ideas. The development of the search interface is informed by the requirements gathered from the observational study and is supported through the inclusion of visually impaired users in the design process. We implement and evaluate the proposed search interface with novel features to support visually impaired users for complex information seeking. This thesis shows that considerations for information seeking behaviour and users’ abilities and mode of interaction contribute significantly to the design of search user interfaces to ensure that interface components are accessible as well as usable.
AuthorsGooda Sahib, Nuzhah
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