Touchscreen devices are well integrated into daily life and can be found in both personal and public spaces, but the inclusion of accessible features and interfaces continues to lag behind technology’s exponential advancement. This thesis aims to explore the experiences of individuals who are blind or have low vision (BLV) while interacting with non-tactile touchscreens, such as smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, coffee machines, smart home devices, kiosks, ATM machines, and more. The goal of this research is to create a set of recommended guidelines that can be used in designing and developing either personal devices or shared public technologies with accessible touchscreens. This study consists of three phases, the first being an exploration of existing research related to accessibility of non-tactile touchscreens, followed by semi-structured interviews of 20 BLV individuals to address accessibility gaps in previous work, and finally a survey in order to get a better understanding of the experiences, thoughts, and barriers for BLV individuals while interacting with touchscreen devices. Some of the common themes found include: loss of independence, lack or uncertainty of accessibility features, and the need and desire for improvements. Common approaches for interaction were: the use of high markings, asking for sighted assistance, and avoiding touchscreen devices. These findings were used to create a set of recommended guidelines which include a universal feature setup, the setup of accessibility settings, universal headphone jack position, tactile feedback, ask for help button, situational lighting, and the consideration of time.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Touch screens--Evaluation; Barrier-free design; Human-computer interaction

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Human-Computer Interaction (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Information Sciences and Technologies (GCCIS)


Elissa Weeden

Advisor/Committee Member

Kristen Shinohara

Advisor/Committee Member

Mingming Fan


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes