How might designers create data visualizations for low-vision users?

Undergraduate graphic design students at NC State University collaborated with SAS Analytics to answer this question as they explored how SAS products might be made accessible to a range of low vision users. The SAS team, led by engineer and accessibility lead Ed Summers, collaborate with students in my class over a 9-week period. The design process included Accessibility Training by the SAS team, a day-long symposium detailing a range of eye conditions at Duke Eye Center, and user-testing with BVI users.

The Deliverables: Scenario Videos

Student Designers: Tara Sullivan, Sam Linville, Lucia Boehling, Willow Lafone, Maria Cianchette

Student Designers: Claire Allison, Matt Babb, Phil Harrison, Jessye Holmgren-Sidell, Christina Opel, Rachel Radulovich

The Research Process

Project launch at SAS headquarters
Example of persona used in the project: Lauren, aged 18, full time student with foveal hypoplasia who wants to interpret data from scatterplots so she can complete work for her stats class.
7 diffferent personas used in this project, each with a unique eye condition, each using a different SAS product
Two steps in the process: accessible design training, including non-visual screen access, plus a day long symposium at Duke Eye Center in which experts taught students about each each condition.
Students used low-vision simulation goggles during early stages (later tested with real users).
Image of the low-vision simulation goggles that the students made from welding goggles
example of a User Journey Map
Example of a Task Flow diagram
various sketches created by the students during early ideation
Examples of visualization studies created by the students
Image of the SAS team providing feedback
Sample wireframes for the project
Sample low fie prototypes
Images of user testing of various including a 3D model of a butterfly chart
Image of a hi-fidelity user interface created by one of the student teams
Image of one of the hi-fi prototypes created by one of the teams to user test their ideas. This image shows a tablet and a 3d model of a butterfly chart.