Screen Reader Accessibility Study of Interactive Maps
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Digital maps have been an integral part of modern life. Whether to venture into an unknown location, check the latest traffic update, update on the weather forecast, we come across digital maps every day. While maps have successfully evolved into digital form from paper and other physical mediums, how much evolution present-day digital maps have observed to ensure accessibility and implementation of universal design principles? Maps by nature have to rely on graphical medium to present their information content. But the users who have temporary or permanent and limited to no visual ability are excluded from reading maps for this reason. In this study, we have conducted a systematic literature review to discover the research gaps of accessibility in digital maps, focusing on map exploration based on screen reader technology. To discover further accessibility issues from users, we conducted semi-structured interviews with participants with varying degrees of visual impairments. The result from these data indicates that interactive maps are not screen-reader accessible at all. There is an apparent research gap in alternative text accessibility in maps and interview participants commonly agreed with multiple accessibility issues on contemporary interactive maps on diverse platforms.