This contest divided designers into groups and taught us how to think about visual obstacles from a design perspective. After my group presented a design brief at the end of three weeks, the judges chose our project as the finalist.
Visually-impaired people face unique challenges in trying to lead an active lifestyle. Many people also choose to live in cities where required levels of accessibility ensure they can get around easily. Much like fitness, escaping an urban environment for some time in nature is proven to improve mood and mental wellness. We created TrailGuide, a hiking app for the visually impaired, to improve the accessibility of both fitness and nature. It can also help the users feel more independent.
We designed for severely to fully visually-impaired adults who live independently, and are interested in regular exposure to their local nature. We interviewed two visually-impaired users and asked questions to guide us on a user journey. We designed the app to listen to your voice, but can also be used by sighted individuals or those assisting the blind.
The app's ultimate goal is to help visually impaired people experience nature and feel safe and independent at the same time. In the future, we would offer a badge with Boys Scouts and Girls Scouts of American where the kids help identify safe trails in their community. Also, we would make a smaller handheld device or wrist strap for those with less severe vision loss who can navigate their immediate surroundings better.
After listening to the feedback from the judges, I decided to add two more colors: light green and brown into the app. For a different symbol of the back arrow, I drew a leaf instead. Another thing I added was the topography lines and added a start/stop button to activate the smart cane device.