Tactile Map Proficiency in Visually Impaired People
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Expert organisation Accessibility aims to create a tactile map on a neighbourhood level that is suitable for blind braille users. To acquire more insights on the useability of a tactile map, this study looked at the differences in the acquisition age of braille on the understanding and useability of a tactile map. The participants were split into two groups, one with participants who learned braille at a young age (3-8 years old), and one with participants who learned braille at a later age (14+ years old). The participants performed search tasks on two tactile maps, during which their search times were measured, as well as their error rates. Group 1 (early learners), who learned braille at an early age (average acquisition age of 5 years old), showed a faster response time (311 ms per question) than group 2 (late learners), who learned braille at a later age (average acquisition age of 29 years old) (909 ms per question). The early learners also showed a lower error rate (38,89%) than the late learners (48.61%). Even though the differences in response times and error rates were not significant, we still learned a lot about the tactile maps that were used. Based on the feedback from the participants, and the observations that were made by the experiment leader during the experiment, some points of improvement for the maps were found. These should be tackled since it would be ideal to provide the user with a tactile map that is easy to use and understand.