A Mobile Application Designed to Improve Clothing Choice for Visually Impaired Users: An Application of Human-Centered Design
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One’s outward appearance becomes a dominating factor in a person’s representation in social situations such as job interviews, first dates, and social events. With all of the visual indicators that identify stylish and socially appropriate clothing—pattern, color, and texture—choosing an outfit for the day is a simple task for most people. However, people with visual impairment must use alternative methods to complete this same task by relying mostly on touch, memory and sound. Vision loss often limits one’s ability to identify colors and patterns making appropriate decisions about clothing combinations challenging. The goal of this thesis was to evaluate how a novel mobile application combined with a physical electronic device (i.e. RFID/radio frequency identification device tags) could improve the daily task of identifying and locating clothing for people with visual impairment. The research approach, using human-centered design and design thinking processes, was dependent on user-focused input in combination with digital prototype testing, with two different user flows, using advanced smartphone accessibility features.
This thesis includes multiple phases of research, which led to the current outcomes and results, for the proposed accessible mobile application design. Using the design methods from the Inspiration, Ideation, and Implementation phases, of the IDEO human-centered approach, 92% of users found the application helpful when creating a matching outfit for the following occasions: casual, social, professional, and special. 76% of users inquired about when the mobile application would be available for download.