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Slide Rule: Making Mobile Touch Screens Accessible to Blind People Using Multi-Touch Interaction Techniques


Recent advances in touch screen technology have increased the prevalence of touch screens and have prompted a wave of new touch screen-based devices. However, touch screens are still largely inaccessible to blind users, who must adopt error-prone compensatory strategies to use them or find accessible alternatives. This inaccessibility is due to interaction techniques that require the user to visually locate objects on the screen. To address this problem, we introduce Slide Rule, a set of audiobased multi-touch interaction techniques that enable blind users to access touch screen applications. We describe the design of Slide Rule, our interaction techniques, and a user study in which 10 blind people used Slide Rule and a button-based Pocket PC screen reader. Results show that Slide Rule was significantly faster than the button-based system, and was preferred by 7 of 10 users. However, users made more errors when using Slide Rule than when using the more familiar button-based system.