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“I can do everything but see!” – How People with Vision Impairments Negotiate their Abilities in Social Contexts

Thieme, A., Bennett, C. L., Morrison, C., Cutrell, E. and Taylor, A. (2017). “I can do everything but see!” – How People with Vision Impairments Negotiate their Abilities in Social Contexts. Paper presented at the CHI ’18, 21 - 26 April 2018, Montreal, Canada.


This research takes an orientation to visual impairment (VI) that does not regard it as fixed or determined alone in or through the body. Instead, we consider (dis)ability as produced through interactions with the environment and configured by the people and technology within it. Specifically, we explore how abilities become negotiated through video ethnography with six VI athletes and spectators during the Rio 2016 Paralympics. We use generated in-depth examples to identify how technology can be a meaningful part of ability negotiations, emphasizing how these embed into the social interactions and lives of people with VI. In contrast to treating technology as a solution to a ‘sensory deficit’, we understand it to support the triangulation process of sense-making through provision of appropriate additional information. Further, we suggest that technology should not try and replace human assistance, but instead enable people with VI to better identify and interact with other people in-situ.

Publication Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: © Thieme, Anja, Bennett, Cynthia L., Morrison, Cecily, Cutrell, Edward; Taylor, Alex S.| ACM 2018. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive Version of Record is to be published in Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, New York, NY: ACM Press.
Departments: School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering > Computer Science > Human Computer Interaction Design
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