Strategies and needs of blind pedestrians during urban navigation

Empirical researches
By Lucie Brunet, Françoise Darses, Malika Auvray

The aim of the exploratory study reported here was to investigate in depth the needs and strategies (heuristics and procedures) of blind pedestrians during navigation in an unknown urban environment. Blind participants had to prepare for and then complete a two-kilometer route. The participants’ requests for information and verbalizations were recorded before and during navigation and they were further detailed with individual interviews afterwards. The results revealed the influence of journey-organization habits on the strategies that were adopted and on the required needs. In addition they highlighted those resources (e.g., other pedestrians) and constraints (e.g., temporal) that are shared by all participants, and those resources (e.g., use of specific navigation tool) and constraints (e.g., anxiety) that vary with participants’ journey-organization habits. Based on the results of this study, we draw recommendations concerning the design of navigation aids for blind pedestrians, in order to enhance their acceptability by the target population.


  • Navigation
  • Blindness
  • Needs
  • Strategies
  • Visual impairment
  • Spatial Cognition
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