Bea Ibeas
Watson
An open-source navigation app for visually impaired people that uses a combination of a smartphone with a smartwatch.
Client: Digital Life Centre
Amsterdam, 2017
Team members: Bambi Boland, Genèviéve Korte and Ondra Kocholatý.

The challenge

Researches conducted by Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and Royal Dutch Visio found that Visually Impaired People (VIP) experience difficulties while navigating in urban environments; the current solutions feel short.

The solution

An open-source navigation app for urban environments that use a combination of a smartphone with a smartwatch and audio, visual and haptic feedback.

The process

We dived into the topic by doing intense desk and field research. We conducted a co-creation session with users and experts; worked with personas (illustrations by Genèviéve Korte), user journeys, diagrams, and flows (see examples below).
40, male. He is aware of his limitations but still he does what he wants. Guide dog and cane.

Persona 1: Adam

40, male. He is aware of his limitations but still he does what he wants. Guide dog and cane.

32, female. She’s not afraid to ask for help. She navigates to work every day. Dog.

Persona 2: Britte

32, female. She’s not afraid to ask for help. She navigates to work every day. Dog.

34, female. She wants to be as much self-sufficient as possible. Cane.

Persona 3: Cecile

34, female. She wants to be as much self-sufficient as possible. Cane.

60, male. He doesn’t like asking for help. Guide cane, but likes to walk without a it.

Persona 4: Dennis

60, male. He doesn’t like asking for help. Guide cane, but likes to walk without a it.

We discovered that a highly customizable open-source app with visual, audio and haptic feedback is the most optimal solution. We continued iterating on the app till got personalized enough but still easy to use.
We also found out that there is a lack of information on how to design for VIP. That is why we created a platform with guidelines.
View guidelines