Understanding Experiences of Blind Individuals in Outdoor Nature

in ACM CHI'19, Conference paper (text), Glasgow, Scotland


Research shows that exposure to nature has benefits for people's mental and physical health and that ubiquitous and mobile technologies encourage engagement with nature. However, existing research in this area is primarily focused on people without visual impairments and is not inclusive of blind and partially sighted individuals. To address this gap in research, we interviewed seven blind people (without remaining vision) about their experiences when exploring and experiencing the outdoor natural environment to gain an understanding of their needs and barriers and how these needs can be addressed by technology. In this paper, we present the three themes identified from the interview data; independence, knowledge of the environment, and sensory experiences.