Pros and Cons for users

  • Pro: Haptic interfaces can enhance learning outcomes for visually impaired users 1
  • Pro: Mobility and orientation activities in virtual environments can transfer to real environments 2
  • Pro: Sensory substitution devices (SSDs), such as virtual canes and visual to music converters, can be used to aid virtual mobility and perception of shapes and colors 2
  • Pro: Organisations such as the Web3D Consortium are trying to develop open standards, such as X3D, so that 3D web-based graphics can be integrated with HTML
  • Con: Most content of virtual environments is heavily visual
  • Con: VR platforms are not designed to work with screen readers such as JAWS or NVDA
  • Con: Don't use the usual accessibility APIs
  • Con: There is no accepted metadata standard virtual worlds
  • Con: Developers do not have access to information for understanding the needs of vision impaired users, or accepted techniques for resolving issues
  • Con: Whilst many of the use cases for VR are similar to the web, there are no accessibility guidelines such as alternative text and meta information for objects
Photo of haptic glove connected to a laptop showing a virtual hand on screen
Haptic glove being used for virtual interaction. Photo credit: pennstatenews

Blindness Use Cases

  • As a user with no vision, I need verbal descriptions of interactions, objects and locations, so I can navigate.


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