User Interface Evaluation and Design
for Deaf-Blind Users
Daniel Cutler, Pollyane Carvalho,
André Felipe, and Prof Tatiana Aires Tavares
SUNY Oswego and Federal University of Paraiba
During my time in Brazil I was tasked with
assisting the graduate students with the design
and evaluation of two different online interfaces
to be used by Deaf and Blind users. These
interfaces provided alternative methods for the
users to interact with the content available to
them. The purpose of my assistance was to
provide feedback and design changes in order
to improve upon the current designs to make
them more effective than they were before.
•To evaluate and critique the usability and
effectiveness of the user interfaces.
•To modify and adjust the interfaces to improve
their design based off of the usability testing
The user interfaces were separated into two different project. The first interface was the WikiLibras
online database. The purpose of this interface is to allow deaf users to input the various signs that
they use to communicate with in order for the website to generate a virtual simulation of the sign to
be used for closed captioning for deaf users. The second interface called EduLivres is an
educational tool for young children and students to use as a means of learning and interacting with
online videos as well as communicating with one another. The EduLivres was designed with all
types of users in mind ranging from an average user to blind and deaf users using various usability
principles and design elements.
For the WikiLibras website we design and performed a usability test with 8 users to determine the
effectiveness of the interface design. We provided the 8 users with the same series of actions to
perform and we did not provide any assistance to any of the users. The goal of this test was to test
the learn ability of the interface as well as the usability.
For the EduLivres website we designed a test for 8 total users, 4 blind and 4 deaf in order to test
the different design aspects of the usability of the interface. The 8 total users were given the same
set of instructions and the same tasks to complete on the interface. The goal of this test was to
determine if the universal design elements of the interface were effective with the various users
who will be using the website.
At the conclusion of the two tests we were able to evaluate the effectiveness of the two interfaces
as well as review the feedback we received from the users in order to improve upon the design.
The two interfaces had very different tests due to the different nature of the content. What we
discovered about the interface designs from the results of the test was a positive feedback in
regards to the design of the interface.
The ability of the users to accomplish the tasks we asked of them during the usability tests was
not negatively impacted by the design of the interface. The users were able to complete all of the
tasks asked of them, however it did involve assistance from the various translators. What we
discovered about the interfaces actually involved the users more than the design of the interface.
The data that was analyzed showed that the users were able to navigate the interface once they
were able to understand it. The problems we encountered came from the experience of the user
as well as their knowledge of the languages. It wasn’t a matter of the interface being poorly
designed but rather the user were unaware of how to use the interface.
The interface design was effective for the average user to accomplish their tasks but the problems
we came across with blind and deaf users was that they were having problems with design
challenges that we had not originally considered. The deaf users had very little to no experience
with computers or the internet and were unable to read. This led to problems with them not
understanding the interface as a whole. The blind users again had little to no experience working
with computers or the internet so despite our work and effort to design the interfaces to be
universally used, the users had no knowledge of how to use them. The users required additional
help from their translators in order to understand what it was they were seeing or hearing on the
screen. After they were told what it was they had to do and how to do it, they had no problems
accomplishing the tasks with the interfaces.
In conclusion we were able to say that the
interface design was effective for the average
user but the challenges we faced from the deaf
and blind users were based off of their own
experience and knowledge of interfaces, and
not the interface itself.

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