top of page
hear the light logo-18.png

The thing they want is freedom in this huge city.

Hear the light

In my country, there still lack care and assistive resources for blind people which result in the extreme inconvenience of blind people because their primary needs could not be addressed.

In this project,  in the context of traveling in large public transportation, I focused on maximizing the use of environmental and low-user-burden technologies to empower blind people to have the freedom of actions and to gain their dignities in society. 


Inclusive design

User research 

Spatial Audio


Personal project

Instructor: Danqing Shi



Key features

截屏2021-12-05 下午10.55.40.png
截屏2021-12-05 下午10.55.52.png
截屏2021-12-05 下午10.56.05.png
截屏2021-12-05 下午10.56.11.png

​A service design solution work in the public transportation system that help blind people. 

A navigation design base on  spatial audio which can solve the problem of direction confusion of blind people.

An interface design  for blind people which provide a pure vertical using route that promotes efficiency and 

A design consider the using habit of low-vision blind people that helps them make a better use of their limited 


user/ environment research

design solutions and
technology manipulations

user test and user interaction research

special interface design and

Background & Inspiration


According to WHO and the Second China Disability Survey 2019, there were approximately 4 billion blind people and the number of low-vision people in the world is triple. In China, there are 1.7 billion blind people. 


In the late 2020, I spoke with a blind masseur in the South of China who had severely impaired vision. He mentioned that he was planning to go to a hospital in the north for his eyes next year. But he couldn't choose airplane, which should have been the most convenient way. He had to choose the slower train instead. This was because the boarding system at the airport is very complicated, and a blind person who wants to fly needs to contact the airline long in advance and be accompanied by a flight attendant exclusively, which is very inconvenient.


That communication made me feel deeply heartbroken as I had never thought that a common need of individuals can be a real dilemma in blind people's life. As the whole society is developing, we still can't guarantee that most disable people can keep pace with our world.
user research

User Research

Primary interviews

I interviewed three blind/low-vision people with different backgrounds and physical conditions, asked them about their travel needs, problems and phone using experiences.



I did a survey among blind people, aiming to learn about their customs and daily walking abilities.


I post a questionnaire for 150 vision impaired people which asking them how long time can they keep walking normally. 


Average minimum walking speed of blind people is much lower than that of normal people, while the cognitive speed of blind users in the questionnaire is higher than the test and literature statistics.


According to the survey, when vision impaired people travel, especially when they walk far or go to an unfamiliar place, it is difficult for them to give themselves a correct positioning. They do not know where they are, thus they will panic, get nervous, and do not know what to do.

It is especially dangerous for them to walk to a place they have not been before.

Cognitive mapping & AEIOU analysis

资源 1.png

Walk simulation

Besides avoiding obstacles, the biggest problem faced by blind people in travel is the risk to lose their sense of direction, which is why traditional navigation systems with voice functions can't meet their needs.

So I went through a​ blind walk simulation test to see if a sound with spatial direction could improve the direction sense of a blind person when walking.


without auditory guidance


with auditory guidance


Behavior mapping & user flows

I interviewed three blind/low-vision people with different backgrounds and physical conditions, asked them about their travel needs, problems and phone using experiences.

flow_画板 1.png

assistance available level



Design solution

 I design a navigation solution based on a precise public transportation system with FRID & UWD, accompanied with the using of spatial audio which is more and more developed these years. Both of this two funtions will be managed and been used through a phone application by blind and low-version people without any burden.

operating system-11.png

(1)UWB - FRID: The Daxing airport includes the UWB high-precision indoor positioning system, and it is a large airport for high-precision indoor positioning.

UWB is able to use positioning tags to transmit pulsed signals to positioning base stations for accurate indoor positioning.

In addition to this, the airport uses FRID technology together to accomplish real-time positioning. During the user's use, the Bluetooth function of the cell phone needs to be turned on for positioning. This technology has been implemented in the airport as baggage positioning and indoor The positioning accuracy is about 10 cm.


2)Spatial audio: In general, spatial audio supports dynamic head tracking technology, which allows various sounds to sound in the exact location while listening to audio.

Three dimension sound:

Apple spatial audio which supported by AirPods Pro takes 5.1, 7.1 and Dolby Atmos signals and applies directional audio filters, adjusting the frequencies that each ear hears so that sounds can be placed virtually anywhere in 3D space. Sounds will appear to be coming from in front of you, from the sides, the rear and even above. The idea is to recreate the audio experience of a cinema.

Spatial audio is a sophisticated audio-processing technique that tricks your brain into believing that specific sounds are emanating from specific points in a three-dimensional space. 

Directional stability:

Spatial audio on the AirPods Pro applies directional audio filters and takes advantage of other advanced tricks. For instance, sensors built into the AirPods Pro track the user’s head movement. Using the gyroscope and accelerometer in your AirPods Pro and your iPhone, spatial audio tracks the motion of your head as well as your device, compares the motion data, and then remaps the sound field so that it stays anchored to your device even as your head moves.


(3)GPS and built in acceleration sensor in phone: However, the directional coordinates of Airpods pro spatial audio are fixed in the direction of the iphone device and can only change in the opposite direction according to head turning. Therefore we need to compensate for people's walking and turning in the reverse direction with the built-in acceleration sensor and GPS of the iphone, so that the spatial audio is always fixed in the directional position in reality and will not be affected by walking and turning around.


(4)IOS system with voice over function can provide vibration to  prompt screen contents like pages shifting or content activation

Spatial audio experiment 

I tried to find a way that can replace the role of eyes and helps people to get the environmnet information, while spatial audio is a common technology used on earphone that can provide the voice with accurate direction

By using spatial audio, blind people can be presented the environment information around them by voice. Those voices has the direction which are matched with the real environment.

The voice is played by 5.1, 7.1 and Dolby Atmos signals.

I took an experiment in which I placed signal voices into different directions by 5.1. 

spatial audio-10.png
spatial audio-10.png
spatial audio-10.png
spatial audio-10.png
spatial audio-10.png

FRID associate with spatial audio

The FRID tag signal-based navigation path calculation is multi-segment, which will be more subdivided compared to the normal indoor navigation line segments. 

For the laying of FRID signal units in the airport, the nodes laid in the corridor should ensure that at least the two nearest points are connected without obstacles and having an angular tolerance, considering the accuracy deviation of the 7.1-channel audio in this direction of oblique front. By using the FRID tags of multiple nodes in the route as a correction reference, it ensures that the blind will not encounter road obstacles due to slight deviations in their travels. 


In Figure A, the road is not arranged with a sufficient number of FRID signal tags, so when there is an error in the positioning of the starting point, the road to the next tag has a high possibility of collision with the obstacle.

However, in Fig. B, when there are enough tags in the road for correction, although it does not cost too much travel length in time, it can ensure that the blind person will not hit the blind angle or any obstacle between two tags when there is a deviation in the position.

behavior mapping & user flow
design solution
spatial auio experiment

User interface

I have made some subtle treatments to the interface design of the software to help blind people deal with the difficulties of using touch screen cell phones and access information more efficiently and easily.

It got some special functions that can ensure the blind people's safe, using experience and time guarantee.

-service call

-wander mode

-time notice/ distance calculation


how incomplete blind people see this page

12 - iPhone 12 Pro - Isometric Style.png

User test

I received positive feedbacks from blind testers as they could clearly identify spatial audio directions even better than normal people. But they still got some confusion when using the app, as the trust relationship between the media and users took time to build up. And the users felt like they can't totally trust this app in a short time, but they had strong expectation towards this navigation.


when tested in Daxing Airport, which is a huge and an unfamiliar place, the navigation would require a higher accuracy. And thetime consuming calculation shows to be a significant task.

截屏2021-11-18 上午1.26.51.png
user interface
user test
bottom of page