Identifying the Requirements of Visually Impaired Users for Accessible Mobile E-book Applications

Nor Laily Hashim - School of Computing, Universiti Utara Malaysia, UUM Sintok 06010, Kedah, Malaysia
Munya Ba Matraf - Faculty of Engineering and Petroleum, Hadhramout University, Mukalla, Yemen
Azham Hussain - School of Computing, Universiti Utara Malaysia, UUM Sintok 06010, Kedah, Malaysia

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Books are a medium for communicating information and in recent years have taken the electronic form called e-books. This shift has opened new opportunities for the visually impaired in overcoming their struggles with books in the traditional paper format. Yet, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) claimed that many e-book applications do not meet needs of the visually impaired. Very few studies had investigated this subject matter hence paving the way for this current study to address the above research gap. As a result, equitable access to e-books for the visually impaired is still limited. Hence, there is now a necessity to design usable and accessible e-book interfaces for the visually impaired. To achieve this goal, it is important to identify the e-book requirements of the visually impaired into their e-book applications. An online survey was conducted involving seven visually impaired students at a local Malaysian university. The target participants’ ages are between 21 and 27 years old. The outcomes of this study identified ten requirements for accessible e-book applications for the visually impaired. Among these requirements are features that enable users to zoom, read aloud, and search for book contents. Besides that, screen reader strategy and text-to-speech are also mandatory. Other requirements include clear text and sound, ease of navigation, high contrast, and high brightness. These requirements will involve the field of Human-Computer Interaction design which is applied particularly in the development of usable and accessible mobile e-book applications for the visually impaired.


Accessible; e-book, requirements; visually impaired.

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