E-SURF 2020: Accessible Tools for Students with Visual Impairment for Logic Circuit Design

April 24, 2020 - 3:30pm to 3:40pm
YiTong Li
Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates (ICRU)

Majors: Computer Science, Mathematics
Class of: May 2020
Mentor: Dr. Brandon Myers (Computer Science)

Abstract: Logic Circuit Design is an indispensable part of studying computer science that helps students understand the implementation of our computers. A schematic is a common ground for all Logic Circuit Design approaches. Even when designing with text-based languages, students must navigate schematic outputs. However, the nature of circuit design software—involving drag-and-drop programming—makes it inaccessible for blind students . To address this problem, we reviewed prior work on providing accessible programming environments to name barriers that blind students meet and existing solutions to the barriers. Such barriers, like an inaccessible drag-and-drop programming environment, are the ones blind students will meet when working with spatial navigation. Hence, our goal is to improve the accessibility of spatial navigation of logic circuits because students must be able to navigate schematic information. To do so, we modified Logisim, an existing Graphical User Interface (GUI) suitable for beginners. Because the software depends heavily on the graphical information, we convert it to textual information, thus making it accessible for screen readers. Such methods include adding tooltips to icons and buttons, adding information about buttons and icons into an existing textual table, a part of the GUI, and printing out information on the console about circuit structure and incorporating them into the textual table. Through the modification of the software, we can supply tooltips, incorporate icon information into the table, and print out the information about circuit structure on the console for further improvement.

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