I gave a talk at the DUB seminar at University of Washington on how to make virtual reality accessible to people with low vision. Check it out!
VR mainly relies on realistic visual feedback to provide an immersive experience that is only accessible to sighted people. Most VR applications are not accessible for people with low vision (i.e., a visual impairment that cannot be corrected by eyeglasses or contact lenses), preventing them from benefiting from this important class of emerging technology. In this talk, I’ll describe my research collaboration with Microsoft, which focused on designing technologies to make VR accessible for people with low vision, as well as discussing design guidelines for accessible VR. I addressed VR accessibility from both the user and the developer’s perspectives: designing a post hoc plugin to modify existing VR applications in runtime; and providing a Unity toolkit that allows integrating low vision support tools during development. In my talk, I will discuss the experiences and challenges that people with low vision have for VR, as well as the technologies I designed to increase VR accessibility. I will also reflect on general accessibility guidelines for VR.