One of the aspects that still needs to be fully accessible to persons with Visual Impairments or Blindness is programming and software engineering as a profession. UML diagrams are still an area to be improved when it comes to accessibility: How to make these diagrams more available? What kind of representation is more proper and efficient? This exploratory research suggests a scheme to navigate UML class diagram, with focus on presenting spatial information with related alternative text. In this research we try to find whether the suggested methodology is helping programmers and students with visual impairment in identifying and reading class diagrams more efficiently, and if they can build a cognitive map of the diagram. For testing and improving the suggested navigation scheme, we built a prototype and designed a study. We found that the navigational scheme is helping to find different connections and relations easily, but reaching a specific point with a jump or search function is needed. Also the participant were able to build a cognitive map of the class components.

This research is targeting a very specific user demography which includes persons with visual impairment who want to pursue Software Engineering as a profession, or persons who would have some classes in programming.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

UML (Computer science); Barrier-free design; People with visual disabilities--Education

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Software Engineering (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Software Engineering (GCCIS)


Yasmine El-Glaly

Advisor/Committee Member

Stephanie Ludi

Advisor/Committee Member

Scott Hawker


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at QA76.9.O35 M38 2017


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes