120605 Research Journal

I’m beginning to understand how my project lacked design, and more so lacked any form of interactive design.

Just because I was using “multi-modality” didn’t mean I was heading in a direction to create an “interactive” outcome.

I am now sorting through papers and evaluating what will be most useful to read based on a few things:
– Participatory Design
– Multi-Modality
– Low Vision
– Assessing if articles are creating interactive design solutions

While there seem to be many solutions for people with low vision to their day to day situations, these solutions seem to be passive and not interactive. Yes they may engage other modes or senses but they aren’t really interactive.

It has taken me a while to arrive at this point. I now need to begin searching for opportunities to create an interactive product.

Even my assessment of existing assistive technologies, however small, is showing me that these products are purely that, products. They do not engage a high level of interactivity in an “interactive design” sense. Yes they react to inputs and give you feedforwards to initialise an interaction but the depth of interaction is shallow. For example the magnification technology is purely that, it magnifies things. Whether it is a digital or analogue magnification, it doesn’t have the depth of interaction that I’m looking for.

Why am I doing this project?

How can I blend depth of interaction with something that is positive and can contribute towards the independence of a person living with low vision or AMD?

Is this even possible?

Is a navigation system for no/low sighted people even considered interactive? I understand that it creates feedbacks allowing the person to engage with their direct surroundings and the software/device itself.

This is something I feel I’ll need to investigate further.

Research Journal 23 May 2012

First interview today, went well, great to test out the equipment and questions. Considered changing the questions to be more specific, but will wait and see how they go in a few more interviews. The ambiguity of them is good and bad as they can incite unexpected answers but not necessarily the ones I’d hope for. To do: transcribe the interview and return it to the person for review. Establish questions for up and coming interview on Friday – to focus on independent living arrangements, support technologies and processes and overall outcomes from professional involvement.

Research Journal: Equipment purchase


Now ready to get started on interviews. I have emailed my wish list and have been in contact with two interviewees. Currently in the process of finalising one set of questions and an interview scrip. Two more sets of questions, maybe even looser and more topic driven conversations.

I’m realising how much of a novice I am at interviews. I will Google the etiquette for this kind of thing.  Very excited and nervous.

Research Journal 20 MARCH

Abstract is finally complete after a bit of anguish and uncertainty of how I want to go about this research project.

Best to just start. Somewhere/anywhere! Have a read of the abstract here.

My research now has two main stages:

1. Establish relationships with stakeholders and begin to understand their position through semi-structured interviews.

2. Once I have a solid data set of people’s experience I need to begin thinking and creating Technology Probes to begin addressing problems and find opportunities for intervention.

BUT for now (maybe in order)…

  • a plain language statement
  • work out what organisations and who to approach
  • establish some base questions
  • form an outline of the semi-structured interview
  • approach the organisations and individuals
  • interview/talk to them.


Abstract Draft 03


The purpose of this research is to establish a better understanding of the practical difficulties experienced by people with Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) when attempting vision oriented tasks within the home. Subsequently, find and evaluate opportunities for further development and intervention.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) causes severe vision impairment in older Australians, occurring when central vision deteriorates. Thus making reading, close work and recognising faces more difficult[1]. There are technologies present to help; it is shown that multimodal feedback is highly effective in reducing the time taken to complete simple computer functions[2]. While magnification tools are useful, they are generally cumbersome and ineffective when dealing with printed text on home appliances[3]. However magnification technology such as non-CCTV video magnifiers can improve the reading speed, comprehension and comfort for a low-vision user while positively increasing the user’s experience when examined by Jordan’s pleasurability framework[4].

The question arises, where else within the home can multimodal feedback technologies improve the completion of tasks for people with AMD?

Engaging in this question will require ethnographic research methods such as focus groups, specifically expert evaluations, as there is a need to establish a first-hand understanding of what people with AMD go through and how the professionals and organisations provide support and knowledge. After this stage, technology probes will be utilised to test and investigate the effectiveness of specific feedback tools. So to evaluate their potential for further development, these feedback tools will be tested in context with the expert evaluators.

The significance of this research is to evaluate the opportunities for subsequently development, so to establish solid grounding for an intervention/solution that will improve the quality of life for people with AMD.

KEYWORDS: Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), Multi-modality, Technology Probes, Feedback tools, Ethnography, Quality of life.

[1] (Vision Australia, 2012)
[2] (Jacko et al., 2004)
[3] (Riazi, Boon, Dain, Bridge, & Riazi, 2010)
[4] (Harrison, 2004)


Vision Australia (2012, 25 AUG 2010). Age-Related Macular Degeneration Fact Sheet – Resources – Vision Australia Website  Retrieved 18 MARCH, 2012, from http://www.visionaustralia.org.au/info.aspx?page=605

Harrison, C. M. (2004). Low-vision reading aids: reading as a pleasurable experience. Personal Ubiquitous Comput., 8(3-4), 213-220. doi: 10.1007/s00779-004-0280-0

Jacko, J. A., Barnard, L., Kongnakorn, T., Moloney, K. P., Edwards, P. J., Emery, V. K., & Sainfort, F. (2004). Isolating the effects of visual impairment: exploring the effect of AMD on the utility of multimodal feedback. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems, Vienna, Austria.

Riazi, A., Boon, M. Y., Dain, S. J., Bridge, C., & Riazi, A. (2010). Difficulties in reading small print materials on today’s home appliances for people with visual impairment. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the 4th International Convention on Rehabilitation Engineering \& Assistive Technology, Shanghai, China.