Theses Master's

Examining Techniques for Equivalent Access of Web User Interfaces for Blind and Low Vision People

Chheda, Arnavi

Making the Web equivalently accessible to blind and low vision (BLV) users remains a major challenge. While assistive technologies such as screen readers have enabled users to better interact with websites over the years, desktop web users still receive information about the contents of a page in a linear manner, which makes it hard to understand visual paradigms such as layout. In this work, I explore the benefits and drawbacks of incorporating spatial interactions into desktop screen readers — interactions such as navigating directionally (vs. semantically) and hearing content via spatial audio — with a focus on both consuming and producing web content. I discuss how to effectively use spatial interactions by observing user preferences with our system. This research also reveals opportunities that BLV users envision for incorporating spatial interaction into applications beyond the web, including mapping services (e.g., Apple Maps), STEM education, and live presentations. I conclude this body of work by proposing a new phase of research for improving BLV users’ access to web user interface concepts when collaborating with sighted users. The goal of this future research is to improve sighted users’ communication tactics when collaborating with BLV users on web applications by educating the sighted users about screen reader semantics.


More About This Work

Academic Units
Computer Science
Thesis Advisors
Smith, Brian Anthony
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
February 27, 2023


This work is a Master's Thesis for the Computer Science department.