Revisiting the Auditory Torch

The Auditory Torch is an interaction method that aims to bring auditory perception closer to visual perception through the use of spatial audio. This ‘metaphor’ can be particularly useful in making interfaces more accessible for persons with visual impairments who use screen readers.

Status Quo

Interfaces today

Status Quo

Most digital interfaces are predominantly visual in nature, with content and services designed for visual access and consumption.

Persons with visual impairments often use screen readers to access interfaces and the internet.

Screen readers access the structural information of websites and interfaces, and convey this through a single stream of synthesized speech.

While they are extremely useful, screen readers have their limitations. Perhaps the most fundamental of these is the use of audio as the primary means of information transfer for content meant to be conyeved visually.

Comparisons in Perception

Human vision has a field of view and a focus, as determined by where our head is facing and where our gaze lies.

Auditory perception differs significantly in these aspects. We perceive auditory information coming from all around us.