Why is there a demand for computer-assisted vocabulary learning software for the visually impaired?
There are many applications to study vocabulary online and offline. However, these programs are usually designed for users who can see. For visually impaired people this may create problems regarding both the learning content and the access mode.
Vocabulary acquisition includes different aspects of word knowledge such as knowing the word's meaning, its spelling and grammatical properties, as well as its correct usage. We found that visually impaired language learners often have difficulties with spelling. Existing vocabulary trainers often do not specifically address this issue at least not in a way that is user friendly for non-visual output. Those who are visually challenged depend on assistive technology such as a screen reader, a braille display, or a screen magnifier. When this is not taken into consideration during the design process, the program may not be user-friendly when it is accessed non-visually.
Please consider the following the example to illustrate the issue. A vocabulary trainer prompts the user to provide the translation of the word "Einbrecher". The correct solution is "burglar" but the user types "burgler", thus mixing the letters A and E. If orthographic feedback is given at all, vocabulary trainers typically point to the error visually, for example by underlining the erroneous part of the word: "burgler". Unfortunately, this type of text formatting cannot be accessed in a straight-forward manner by a screen reader or a braille display. That is, the interaction is either not user-friendly or valuable information is lost.
AVoS will eventually provide an online vocabulary learning platform that addresses the specific needs and wants of language learners who are visually impaired. Please click below to learn more about the target group of AVoS. [Who would benefit from a program such as AVoS?]