Orientation and mobility training aims to improve the ability of blind and visually impaired people to navigate their way from one place to another. The aim of the BlindBits project, coordinated by the Austrian Institute of Technology and carried out in cooperation with the Bundes-Blindenerziehungsinstitut and the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, is to support the learning of routes using a digital educational game.
In BlindBits an accessible level editor and player for generating orientation training games for students are developed. The game environment is a virtual model of the school building, in which the students can add additional game elements (e.g. sounds, tasks) to create a level. The level can then be played using the specially developed player and shared with other students. Students should learn the layout of the school building by navigating in the virtual world and be motivated by the incorporation in a game.
The project implements a user-centred design process. Students (and teachers) will, for example, work with the researchers in workshops and interviews on the joint development of the level editor and the player in all of the project phases. The details of the project implementation will be shaped together with the students and an iterative plan with several feedback cycles ensures high quality. Crucial is the adaptation of the research methods and the game design to the requirements of the involved blind and visually impaired students.
BlindBits will achieve innovative results with regard to non-visual research methods in the user-centred design process, accessible design of games, interactions, feedback and sound, as well as non-visual opportunities for user-generated content in orientation training games.