World Blind Union Office 1929 Bayview Avenue Toronto, on m4G 3E

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Appendix 1: User profiles

Blind and partially sighted people are not a single, homogenous group, and to help the understanding of readers here are some use cases based on real people and their experiences:

User profile 1: Katherine, age 33 years, employed
Katherine lives in London UK and works as an associate lecturer on an ad hoc basis at the London School of Economics.

  • Very confident with a range of technologies, cost sensitive (bought a Sony Bravia television at a Christmas sale, wanted easy access to additional features):

  • uses an iphone, and laptop; watches about two to three hours of television each day and thoroughly enjoys the range additional features that the new television offers.

  • Uses her television independently:

  • Sets her favourites, records her favourite series, adjusts the volume, channel surfing

  • Partially sighted since the age of 13, Katherine's television use differs from a sighted person:

  • Limited access to television guide as characters on her screen are too small to read so no extra information

  • Initially had to be shown how to use, and still sometimes relies on friends for trouble shooting; wishes her television gave some (tactile or audible) feedback to help her locate the various settings

  • Takes her longer to find a channel than her friends (she can only memorise a few channel numbers but beyond that, it can take her a while)

“If I am looking for a new channel, then I go back to my laptop to confirm the channel number on the online television guide.”

User Profile 2: Carlos, age 73 years, retired

Carlos lives in Sao Paulo Brazil and is a retired banker.

  • Average confidence with technology

  • His son recently replaced his 13-year old 14 inch "standard" television with a flat screen 33inch digital television. At the beginning, Carlos found it difficult to use the new set-up but has since got used to it.

  • Values television as a source of daily news and entertainment

  • Watches television for 3/4 hours a day. He wants to find a way to program his news channels in a sequence so that he does not have to remember the channel number for each channel. He is currently not aware of a feature called 'favourites' and how to set them up.

  • He likes the idea that he can now record shows that he may have otherwise missed when he goes out.

  • Totally blind since birth, Carlos's television use differs from a sighted person:

  • Carlos has not been able to access the television manual and therefore is not aware of all functions that his new television offers.

  • He would really value an audible option for signals and commands instead of the graphics/ text on his screen as quite often he gets confused about what is happening on the screen and since he lives alone, there is no one to fill in the gap.

Carlos also stands to gain substantially if audio description was made available on the programs that he watches.

“My wife used to explain to me what was happening on the screen but I live alone now. Amongst other things, watching television has become really difficult because there is no one to fill in the gaps for me anymore…"
User profile 3: Tim, age 47 years, employed

Tim lives in Michigan USA. He is a team leader in a call centre

  • Confident with technology, work involves constant PC use

  • Tim bought a digital television in 2009. He was unsure if the new platform would make it easier for him to use his television but had to shift because the analogue service was being phased out. He likes the idea that he can now record programmes onto his set top box itself without having to use his video / DVD player.

  • Values television

  • watches about 5/6 hours of television after work ranging from channels that offer general entertainment such as soaps, documentaries and music channels.

  • after reading the television manual online, he sought help from one of his friends to set up favourites to make navigation easier.

  • Tim has been blind since birth, his use of television differs from a sighted person:

  • he had to ask a friend to set up his television so that he could receive DVS®.

  • he selects programmes online that have DVS® and then tunes into specific channels. He is unable to use the television guide to select programmes as in the absence of any audio output, he cannot see what is on the screen.

“Digital television does make it easier for me to tune into channels as you can set favourites; but I cannot access the television guide which is very annoying…”

User profile 4: Lata, age 54 years, housewife

Lata lives in New Delhi India.

  • Low confidence with technology, limited PC use, watches television for entertainment and to fill up time.

  • Values television highly

  • Watches 6-10 hours a day usually. Programmes range from talk shows to news to daily soaps; used to listen to the cricket commentary on the radio until a few years ago but finds it easier to use the television now. Her son programmed the channels that she uses the most in a series so that it is easier for her to navigate.

  • Her son taught her to use his laptop and now in the afternoon, she prefers to watch television on the laptop. There is audio output on the laptop so Lata is able to listen to the text and finds it is easier to search for things online than on her television.

  • Lata is partially sighted and her use of television differs from a sighted person:

  • Can’t read text on TV screen so the television guide is inaccessible.

  • On the laptop, she changes the user interface to suit her needs. She changes the colour contrast and zooms into the screen to make the text legible.

“I am not interested in functions like the television guide [EPG] or recording. I don’t think I would ever use them as it will mean pressing too many buttons and that too without any audio output….”

Persona 5: James, age 21 years, student

James lives in Melbourne Australia

  • Loves new technology and gadgets

  • Will spend a premium for highly featured products, likes to get new technology products first. He is a dedicated user of social media tools, updates his facebook page everyday and is a keen tweeter.

  • Values television

  • James bought a new high definition 32inch flat screen television recently

  • Watches television though not very regularly. He finds it frustrating not being able to navigate around his television independently. He prefers to use his radio for sports commentary and music.

  • He does watch television over the internet though. His laptop enables text-to-speech so he finds it easier to look for programmes of his choice.

  • He does not watch films / soaps on television or the online players as he feels the need for additional external help to understand what is happening on the screen when the television goes silent.

  • Needed assistance to set-up his television

  • James asked one of his friends to help set up his television as opening the packaging and then getting all the connections in place was something that he could not do on his own.

  • James is blind and there are things he would like

  • Text to speech on his television like he has on his iphone, ipad and the satnav in his father's car.

  • Audio description on television like he has on his DVDs

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