Supporting a crowd-powered accessible online art gallery for people with visual impairments: a feasibility study

Nahyun Kwon, Yunjung Lee, Uran Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


While people with visual impairments are interested in artwork as much as their sighted peers, their experience is limited to few selective artworks that are exhibited at certain museums. To enable people with visual impairments to access and appreciate as many artworks as possible at ease, we propose an online art gallery that allows users to explore different parts of a painting displayed on their touchscreen-based devices while listening to corresponding verbal descriptions of the touched part on the screen. To investigate the scalability of our approach, we first explored if anonymous crowd who may not have expertise in art are capable of providing visual descriptions of artwork as a preliminary study. Then we conducted a user study with 9 participants with visual impairments to explore the potential of our system for independent artwork appreciation by assessing if and how well the system supports 4 steps of Feldman Model of Criticism. The findings suggest that visual descriptions of artworks produced by an anonymous crowd are sufficient for people with visual impairments to interpret and appreciate paintings with their own judgments which is different from existing approaches that focused on delivering descriptions and opinions written by art experts. Based on the lessons learned from the study, we plan to collect visual descriptions of a greater number of artwork and distribute our online art gallery publicly to make more paintings accessible for people with visual impairments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)967-982
Number of pages16
JournalUniversal Access in the Information Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Art painting
  • Explore-by-touch
  • Image understanding
  • Visual impairment


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