Explore the matrix: Browsing numerical data tables using sound
Brewster, Stephen A
MetadataShow full item record
When first approaching a two-dimensional (2D) data table, a user often wants to get a quick overview of the data before analysing them in more detail. Blind and visually impaired people cannot do this task at all using visual displays. Furthermore, speech synthesisers do not help sufficiently with browsing and pattern identification. The approach taken in this research work is to use other senses available to the users to provide efficient ways of exploring numerical data tables. Sighted users having to analyse complex data sets could also benefit from multimodally-presented data arrangements The first steps have been taken by using audio to access information in tables. A sonification of tabular data has been designed, as well as a novel way of accessing the sonified data. Each row or column is sonified as a single piece of information and they are accessed sequentially, reducing the overall complexity of the 2D data structure. Experimental results show that an overview of the data in a table is obtained faster using this sonification technique than using screen reading software, without a reduction in accuracy.