Projects: Inclusive Audio-Based Navigation Systems

Person in suit uses white cane held downward in right hand. In left hand smartphone is held at chest level with headset wires plugged in.

It's Not A Checklist - It's Human Centred Design

Editors note: Gateway Navigation CCC Ltd., in support of White Cane Week 2020 we have created a series of articles highlighting information on innovations, standards, projects and advocacy related to indoor audio-based navigation Systems. Gateway Navigation provides consultant services that engage stakeholders and partners in creating human centred, well-engineered and inclusive wayfinding solutions.

White Cane Week 2020 is Sunday, February 2nd through Saturday, February 8thThis important week of community outreach and raising public awareness by the members and friends of the Canadian Council of the Blind. Shares information on the programs, services and advocacy promoting an inclusive and barrier free Canada for all persons who are blind, deaf-blind and visually impaired.

Projects: Inclusive Audio-Based Navigation Systems

Unlike the concept of an accessibility checklist or rating scale. Successful Inclusive audio-based navigation systems apply a human centred approach. That begins with an accessibility assessment. Exploring the built environment's four wayfinding features; being architectural, graphic, tactile and audible elements. Providing a framework to integrate accessible and inclusive navigation solutions of exterior and interior spaces.

The desired outcome of reliable, consistent and impactful projects is achieved by viewing them through a holistic lens, supporting successful well-engineered indoor and outdoor audio-based navigation systems rooted in:

  • Principles of universal design
  • Knowledge and expertise in the components to create well-engineered audio-base solutions for persons who are blind, deaf-blind or visually impaired
  • Principles of co-design
  • User research and testing through trials
  • Interoperability and compatibility of systems
  • Ongoing analysis of user, partner and other stakeholder feedback

Integrating these best practices and principles to create an orientation story that guides users with reliable and consistent information as set out in both the ITU and CTA standards for audio-based wayfinding. Will result in audio-based systems that truly augment the user’s understanding of their surroundings.

In many cases, even with venues that have implemented accessibility services such as Aira. Which is currently the most widely available inclusive audio-based navigation system. A service that connects blind and low-vision people to highly trained, remotely located agents. Can fall short in providing reliable and consistent user experiences. Due to lack of standardized information to assist agents in navigating users through the venue's interior spaces. Solutions to more effectively integrate information is available to assist human agents and machine learning technology. But it requires a holistic approach to integrate both low tech and high-tech strategies for the most sustainable and impactful outcome.

That being said, a little information is better than no information. Venues can begin moving forward with simple steps. Such as developing an orientation story for the venue and post to their accessibility website page. This information identifies the most accessible routes and how to deliver this information to their clients, customers and employees in an inclusive format.

For more information on principles and best practices and how they can be applied to create inclusive and accessible solutions by app developers, venue managers or users. Please feel free to contact us at Gateway Navigation CCC Ltd via email:


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