BlindNavi was developed against the backdrop that there are hardly any mobile apps visually impaired people are able to use. The main purpose of this project was to provide a new kind of mobility aid, a navigation app which helps its users to remember important information about their journeys and which makes their trips safer and smoother. Designed to meet the needs of the target group, this prototype app adapts to the manner blind people recognise and remember their way, and provides multi-sensory messages combining familiar reference points they have learned during their O&M training. Following the flat flow design principle, BlindNavi offers a simple three-step search function. Interaction is facilitated by voice feedback based on multi-sensory cues. In combination with the powerful micro-location technology, the app assists visually impaired people by giving them a high degree of independence.
Statement by the Jury
“The ingenuity of developers to find the most natural and unconstrained solution is the key to stand out from competitors.“ Within a very short period of time, mobile devices and corresponding applications have become an integral part of our everyday life. Many people strongly rely on the ubiquity of those devices, on the availability of data and the services they provide wherever they go. Multi-touch gestures or spoken words in combination with visual, auditive or haptic feedback have become second nature to us when interacting with such applications. Success or failure of any mobile application strongly depends on how well its designers manage to anticipate the users’ needs. The ingenuity of developers to find the most natural and unconstrained solution is the key to stand out from competitors. Anticipating the preferable way to perform a specific task is already a challenging problem, even if the target users utilise the same sensory perception as the designers. Designing for a target audience with a completely different sensory perception is the most prestigious field in communication design. The BlindNavi project met the challenge to develop a mobile navigation system for the visually impaired. After thoroughly observing the way blind people interact with mobile devices, the designers have identified and analysed a significant number of burdens that obstruct the straightforward use of current navigation systems. Their solution successfully unravels those knots and provides a flow of activity carefully tailored to the specific needs of blind people. The developers have spent much effort on simplifying the interaction both for planning a trip and for travelling autonomously. The BlindNavi app offers convenient clues when needed, but does not overload the natural senses of the user. It helps blind people to reach independence when navigating in unknown environments. This outstanding work is a commendable showcase project for young designers. We are proud to award this project with the highest honour for a student work at the Red Dot Award: Communication Design – the Red Dot: Junior Prize.
[Red Dot: Junior Award]
National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taipei
National Chengchi University, Taipei
Hsuan-Eng Chen, Chien-Hsing Chen, Design Information & Thinking Lab, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology
Yi-Ying Lin, I-Fang Wang, Innovative User Interface Lab, National Chengchi University
Hsien-Hui Tang, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology