Understanding and Addressing Accessibility Barriers Faced by People with Visual Impairments on Block-based Programming Environments
TimeTuesday, September 143:30pm - 4:30pm CDT
DescriptionBlock-based systems (e.g. Scratch, AppInventor) are a popular means to promote Computer Science For All. The ease of interaction and the ability to focus on semantics over syntax when programming are appealing to many, with activities such as Hour of Code and inclusion as the programming environment in many novice programming (robotics) kits serving as exemplars for the assertion. However, many students with disabilities are not served by block-based systems as they are currently designed and as such negatively impacts diversity and inclusion. The proposed work seeks to improve access to block-based programming for persons with visual impairments by focusing on the impact of keyboard navigation schemes and audio cues with code navigation and code understanding. In addition to the technical effort required, the appropriate design of accessible keyboard navigation and audio cues to best match users’ mental models (cognitive maps) of navigation and code understanding is also essential.