A new vision for digital libraries

Images like pie charts are designed to make information easier to understand, but imagine if you could only hear them. For the 7 million-plus Americans who are blind or have significant vision loss, this is the reality when they’re using the internet.

Many with vision loss use software that reads text from a website, so browsing the web or using email becomes a listening activity. That’s fine with words, but translating more complex graphical elements is a challenge. So determining how a blind person interprets something like an image is just the first step in the ambitious project of Iris Xie and Rakesh Babu, researchers in the School of Information Studies.