Title: Intelligent Assistants for More Effective Multisensory Exploration of Digital Images

A multisensory substitution method encompassing haptic, auditory, and vibration feedbacks has shown to be more accurate in perceiving histological blood smear images than using traditional tactile paper printouts. However, this new method is unfamiliar and takes more time to use. To improve the usability of multimodal image exploration, a set of four non-visual aids were developed and evaluated in this paper. These aids provide navigational cues including: border projection, contour neighbors, contour compass and path shortcut. Experiments with blind and blindfolded users showed that the use of the exploratory aids improved efficiency of multisensory image exploration. Moreover, it was found that these different navigational cues were more effective for different feedback responses providing insights in the design of multimodal interfaces for the blind and visually impaired.

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