Touch screen exploration of visual artwork for blind people

Dragan Ahmetovic, Nahyun Kwon, Uran Oh, Cristian Bernareggi, Sergio Mascetti

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This paper investigates how touchscreen exploration and verbal feedback can be used to support blind people to access visual artwork. We present two artwork exploration modalities. The first one, attribute-based exploration, extends prior work on touchscreen image accessibility, and provides fine-grained segmentation of artwork visual elements; when the user touches an element, the associated attributes are read. The second one, hierarchical exploration, is designed with domain experts and provides multi-level segmentation of the artwork; the user initially accesses a general description of the entire artwork and then explores a coarse segmentation of the visual elements with the corresponding high-level descriptions; once selected, coarse segments are subdivided into fine-grained ones, which the user can access for more detailed descriptions. The two exploration modalities, implemented as a mobile web app, were evaluated through a user study with 10 blind participants. Both modalities were appreciated by the participants. Attribute-based exploration is perceived to be easier to access. Instead, the hierarchical exploration was considered more understandable, useful, interesting and captivating, and the participants remembered more details about the artwork with this modality. Participants commented that the two modalities work well together and therefore both should be made available.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Web Conference 2021 - Proceedings of the World Wide Web Conference, WWW 2021
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781450383127
StatePublished - 19 Apr 2021
Event2021 World Wide Web Conference, WWW 2021 - Ljubljana, Slovenia
Duration: 19 Apr 202123 Apr 2021

Publication series

NameThe Web Conference 2021 - Proceedings of the World Wide Web Conference, WWW 2021


Conference2021 World Wide Web Conference, WWW 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the 2019 Science Technology Humanity and Social Science Convergence Research Program of National Research Foundation of Korea (2018M3C1B6061353).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 ACM.


  • Art accessibility
  • Audio feedback.
  • Blindness
  • Touch screen


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