Visually Impaired Users on an Online Social Network

ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI)

By: Shaomei Wu, Lada Adamic


In this paper we present the first large-scale empirical study of how visually impaired people use online social networks, specifically Facebook. We identify a sample of 50K visually impaired users, and study the activities they perform, the con- tent they produce, and the friendship networks they build on Facebook. We find that visually impaired users participate on Facebook (e.g. status updates, comments, likes) as much as the general population, and receive more feedback (i.e., comments and likes) on average on their content. By analyzing the content produced by visually impaired users, we find that they share their experience and issues related to vision impairment. We also identify distinctive patterns in their language and technology use. We also show that, compared to other users, visually impaired users have smaller social networks, but such differences have decreased over time. Our findings have implications for improving the utility and usability of online social networks for visually impaired users.