Making Inclusive Digital Campus Maps

Handouts Media

Presented at 3:30pm in Mattie Silks on Wednesday, November 8, 2023.

#38237

Speaker(s)

  • Brandon Biggs, CEO, XR Navigation
  • Chris Toth, Developer, XR Navigation

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: General Conference

Summary

Learn how to make inclusive online and app-based campus maps that are accessible to the widest number of people, including totally blind users. Having an inclusive map will allow the university to comply with section 504, 508, and the ADA, provide an inclusive experience, reduce the need for paratransit or guide services, be more attractive to possible applicants, and increase the freedom blind and other diverse individuals have while navigating or previewing the campus.

Abstract

Imagine a world where everyone, including blind students, can access online campus maps with ease, and truly experience the spatial relationships that make a map so valuable. This presentation will explore how universities can revolutionize their digital inclusion efforts by creating an inclusive campus map experience for blind, low vision, deafblind, and individuals of all abilities. By leveraging auditory virtual reality, large high contrast visuals, and an interactive text experience, the online campus map can transform from a negative to an exceptionally positive experience for all users.

Introducing digital cross-sensory maps, exemplified by Audiom: The world's most inclusive map viewer, designed to either completely replace or supplement existing map experiences. In the auditory and tex-based experience, users are represented in the space as an avatar that moves a user specified distance (such as 2 meters or 50 kilometers) when the arrow keys are pressed (up arrow to move north, down arrow to go south, left arrow to go west, etc.). Moving over objects speaks and presents the object name in text and plays a short sound representative of the object type (like an asphalt footstep for a road). The audio interface utilizes binaural audio to represent objects around the user, similar to how Marko Polo players shout "polo" around the blinded "It" player. Cross-sensory maps require each feature in the geographic data to contain a name and type attribute. Integrating Audiom into a website only requires several lines of code and can supplement, or completely replace the existing visual only map experience.

By providing an inclusive map, universities can not only ensure compliance with Section 504, 508, and the ADA but also create a more inclusive experience for all users. This innovative approach can reduce the reliance on paratransit or guide services, reduce OCR and ADA complaints, attract diverse potential applicants, and ultimately increase the freedom and indepen

Keypoints

  1. Cross-sensory digital maps are the most inclusive digital map experience.
  2. Inclusive maps require geographic data with a name and type attribute to facilitate contextual awareness.
  3. It only takes a few lines of code to make an inclusive campus map experience.

Disability Areas

All Areas, Vision

Topic Areas

Assistive Technology, Uncategorized, Web/Media Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Brandon Biggs

Brandon Biggs is an entrepreneur, researcher, inclusive designer, developer, and life-long learner. He is the CEO of XR Navigation, an Engineer at the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, and a PhD student at the Georgia institute of Technology. In 2016, he received his bachelors in music from California State University East Bay, in 2019 he received his masters in Inclusive Design from the Ontario College of Art and Design University, and in 2021, began his PhD in Human Centered Computing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is almost completely blind from Lebers Congenital Amaurosis (LCA). His projects and ventures center around building tools to solve some of the most difficult problems in the blindness field. He leverages his lived experience coupled with human centered inclusive design principles to create solutions that create lasting and sustainable impact. To achieve this goal, Brandon is half entrepreneur and half academic.

Chris Toth

Christopher Toth is the lead developer at XR Navigation and has been developing accessible applications for over a decade. He has led the development of applications such as QRead, Chicken Nugget, and NVDA Remote. Chris is totally blind and his experience as a blind individual inspired him to join the XR Navigation team to build Audiom, a non-visual map viewer. Before joining XR Navigation, he founded Accessible Apps to improve access to different document formats and was awarded the Robert S. Bray award from the American Council of the Blind and the Blind Bargains Access Award. Chris has also worked as a full-stack JavaScript developer at Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute and Charter Communications. He is passionate about creating apps that are frequently used by blind individuals to achieve independence in everyday activities.

Handout(s)