For people with visual impairments, many studies have been conducted to improve the accessibility of various types of images on the web. However, the majority of the work focused on photos or graphs. In this study, we propose AccessComics, an accessible digital comic book reader for people with visual impairments. To understand the accessibility of existing platforms, we first conducted a formative online survey with 68 participants who are blind or have low vision asking about their prior experiences with audiobooks and eBooks. Then, to learn the implications of designing an accessible comic book reader for people with visual impairments, we conducted an interview study with eight participants and collected feedback about our system. Considering our findings that a brief description of the scene and sound effects are desired when listening to comic books, we conducted a follow-up study with 16 participants (8 blind, 8 sighted) to explore how to effectively provide scene descriptions and sound effects, generated based on the onomatopoeia and mimetic words that appear in comics. Then we assessed the impact of the overall reading experience and if it differs depending on the user group. The results show that the presence of scene descriptions was perceived to be useful for concentration and understanding the situation, while the sound effects were perceived to make the book-reading experience more immersive and realistic. Based on the findings, we suggest design implications specifying features that future accessible comic book readers should support.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MSIT) (No. NRF2021R1F1A105278611).
© 2023 Association for Computing Machinery.
- onomatopoeia/mimetic words
- people with visual impairments
- scene descriptions
- screen readers
- sound effects
- textual sound effects