The Paper

Category: Innovation (small and large newsrooms)

Country/area: China

Organisation: The Paper

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 15/10/2019

Credit: Kong Jiaxing, Du Haiyan, Wang Yasai, Chen Liangxian, Lu Yan

Project description:

Many people think the blind experience complete darkness in their daily life. But actually, this is a misunderstanding. On October 15th, the International Day of the Blind, we built a project to demonstrate how blind people actually see the world. 

Impact reached:

The project was viewed more than 180,000 times on our own platform.

Techniques/technologies used:

We used Baidu audio API for the screen reading function in the project.

What was the hardest part of this project?

1) To pick a topic to present the experience of blind people is tricky. We devided the topic into three parts, how they see, how they “read”, and how they live. We were able to match very creative materials for each part of the storytelling. 

2) To be able to present the experience as accurate as possible, we consulted with experts to visualization different levels of blindness correctly at the top of the project; and we also asked a volunteer that specialized at creating screening reading text for blind people to help us write the descriptions of our graphics in the project.

3) From the technique part, the screen reading part took us a lot of time in testing, because the function has to work on all devices, and we want the experience to simulate the blind’s experience on smart phone.

What can others learn from this project?

In honor of the topic, we prioritized reading accessibility when designing the webpage. Readers with visual impairments can use the screen reader, for which we have specifically created content that works well, such as infographic explanatory text, operating instructions, and more. All these details are not very common in other interactive projects. 

To illustrate the blind’s experience, we also designed a screen reader simulation for those who can see. If readers click the yellow button with a horn icon on the right side of the top, they will enter the simulation mode where readers can only click through paragraph by paragraph, instead of swiping through page by page. Also, since blind people’s brains can rewire themselves, the reading speed would be way faster than what normal people would expect. 

Additionally, we interviewed two doctors and pulled data from VizWiz to showcase how the blind actually see in their daily life and what the reasons are. Despite the disability, the blind can also lead a wonderful life. After analyzing 1966 posts from one of the most popular web forum for the blind, we presented what blind people talk about each day. Not much different from those who can see. They also talk about the world cup, love affairs, and complain about their boss. 

Project links: