PVI-Social Media

Research Statement

Social media has become one of the indispensable parts of human life since the rise of the internet. It creates opportunities for making friends and exchanging ideas through various information and communication technologies. Recently, Short-video platforms, which primarily exchange information through short videos instead of text (e.g. Twitter) or images (e.g. Instagram), are getting rapidly popular among social media users. By January 2022, the most popular short-video platform, TikTok, has 1 billion monthly active users all over the world.

That said, people with visual impairments (PVI) face challenges in terms of consuming, creating, and sharing information on social media because most of the platforms' content is visual information. The challenges impose accessibility issues on PVI's lives and further harm their life quality. Researchers have been paying constant attention to the experiences of PVI on social media platforms. Scientists tried to look for solutions that address PVI's challenges in terms of using social media, ranging from reading image content to conducting social interactions. However, prior work is mostly concerned with social media like Facebook and Instagram, and little is known about PVI's interactions with short-video platforms. In the current work, we propose a study that aims at investigating PVI's experiences on TikTok, the emerging social media technology that heavily relies on visual content.

We would like to use this study to understand PVI’s motivations, interactions, and challenges in using such technologies. We aim to report PVI’s experiences of building their social world using the most trending technology and to provide design opportunities by closely examining the challenges and needs that PVIs have. We also want to go beyond the experiences with the app, seeking the ultimate appeal of PVIs so that we can provide more design opportunities for a more accessible app for them.

Research Team

John Carroll's profile image

Advisor: John M. Carroll

Distinguished Prof. of IST, Penn State

Yao Lyu's profile image

Yao Lyu

PhD Student in IST, Penn State

Jiyoon Kim

PhD Student in IST, Penn State

Mark Anastasi

B.S., Penn State