Usability and design guidelines of smart canes for users with visual impairments

Sung Yeon Kim, Kwangsu Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


A white cane is one of the most common mobility aids for the visually impaired. However, it does not help users with visual impairments find obstacles at head- or knee-level, or at distances greater than 1 m. To overcome these difficulties, smart canes with vibration alerts and an extended obstacle detection range have been introduced. However, several usability problems mean that users with visual impairments rarely adopt a smart cane. The goal of this study was to understand the potential for using a smart cane, along with the existing usability problems and then to develop design guidelines for improved smart canes. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used to address these goals. A quantitative evaluation was performed of users with visual impairments using a prototype smart cane. Then, in-depth interviews of cane users were conducted. The results showed that a smart cane was more effective in avoiding obstacles than a white cane, but there were several potential usability problems. On the basis of the results, design guidelines for a smart cane prototype were devised.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-110
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Design
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Apr

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Strategy and Management
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Marketing


Dive into the research topics of 'Usability and design guidelines of smart canes for users with visual impairments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this