Gathering the Users’ Needs in the Development of Assistive Technology: A Blind Navigation System Use Case

  • Hugo Paredes
  • Hugo Fernandes
  • Paulo Martins
  • João Barroso
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8011)


Assistive technology enables people to achieve independence in the accomplishment of their daily tasks and enhance their quality of life. However, the development os assistive technology does not always follow user needs and expectations, comprising their usability and effectiveness. This paper discusses the design and evaluation strategies for assistive technologies applied to a blind navigation system case study. The research carried out focused on the gathering of user requirements for ensuring enhanced autonomy of blind people in their daily life. The picked requirements were used in an architecture that unifies the benefits of a redundant blind navigation system with a set of services that are provided by daily used information and communication technologies. The system combines guidance, navigation and information gathering, extending traditional aids with realtime knowledge of the surrounding environment to provide an enhanced assistive tool for autonomy of the blinds. Moreover, the developed solution fills the gap of existing solutions that require the users to carry a wide range of devices and, mostly, do not include mechanisms to ensure the autonomy of users in the event of system failure.


usability evaluation interviews blindness assistive technology navigation autonomy 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hugo Paredes
    • 1
  • Hugo Fernandes
    • 1
  • Paulo Martins
    • 1
  • João Barroso
    • 1
  1. 1.INESC TEC (formerly INESC Porto) and University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto DouroVila RealPortugal

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