Over the course of the fall semester, we sought to improve the experience that blind/visually impaired (B/VI) individuals have when filling paper forms. We identified this issue through interviews with B/VI persons, and found that the status quo involves either asking someone for help, spending up to 6 hours deciphering and filling a form on one’s own, and lack of ease and privacy.
With the support of our advisors, we devised a solution targeted at medical institutions, whose beneficiary will be the B/VI individuals. It consists of 1) a web user interface, where a hospital administrator uploads a paper form and can convert it to an accessible format compatible with our technology, and 2) a smart clipboard which can be handed to a B/VI patient which can read out the form instructions and guide the user’s hand to the right locations to fill the form.
During ESE 450, we have completed a working prototype of the solution, which although simplified, shows promise for extensions and further work that will allow it to fulfill our vision for the project and have the intended impact. We have gained many learning outcomes in the realms of theoretical knowhow, technological implementations, the importance of speaking to users, time management, team collaboration, and following user-need driven development rather than technology-first. So far it has been a wonderful experience, and we are excited for the semester to come to be able to continue learning and make an impact with Forma.