Listening to Maps: User Evaluation of Interactive Sonifications of Geo-Referenced Data (2004)
Smith, Benjamin K.
Norman, Kent L.
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In this paper, we summarize the Auditory Information Seeking Principle (AISP) (gist, navigate, filter, and details-ondemand). To improve blind access to geo-referenced statistical data, we developed several interactive sonifications, adhering to the above AISP. Two user studies are presented. In the first user study with nine sighted subjects, a preliminary map design is compared with an enhanced table design. The study shows subjects can recognize geographic data distribution patterns on a real map with 51 geographic regions, in both designs. The map-based design was strongly preferred. The study also shows evidence that AISP conforms to people information seeking strategies. Based on the observations from the first user study, a second user study was conducted with forty-eight sighted subjects comparing four map designs. The effects of using sound to encode vertical geographic positions and two map navigation methods were compared. The result is presented and future work is discussed.