Case Study of Conversational UI

Airport AI Assistant for Visually Impaired & Healthy People

January-December 2019  |  Design Research & Case Study
Designer & Researcher: Liang Yicheng

A Research of Design Method for Conversational User Interface.
For the definition of Conversational UI, please refer to “Case Study of Conversational UI ①”.


Using VUI to Support the Life of the Visually Impaired

Conversational UI is expected to support the lives of visually impaired and physically handicapped persons, as well as persons with intellectual disabilities and the elderly, as a means of interaction.

According to Alisha Pradhan and colleagues' study on the use of smart speakers for people with disabilities, it has been shown that blind and physically handicapped individuals can use a variety of aspects, including supporting independent behavior, supporting memory, improving efficiency and safety.

Inclusive design

However, these devices and services are designed for general users and are not considered products for the physically handicapped or the elderly.


Airport AI Assistant for Visually Impaired & Healthy People

This service is an AI assistant service that can be used by healthy and visually impaired persons to provide a series of services such as flight information at the airport, ticket purchase, check-in, navigation within the airport, and transfer booking.

This service system consists of a CUI for airport devices and an AI assistant for smartphones, and a cloud for processing airport information and passenger data. The services provided differ depending on the terminal (airport equipment / smartphone). Screen operation and voice operation are also possible, and a visually impaired person can operate by voice, and a healthy person can operate by screen or voice according to the situation.


Quantitative research
to understand the current situation of the Visually Impaired

Survey target
40 visually impaired People

  • Acquired disorders are the most common.
  • Among the respondents, first-class visually impaired make up 72.5%.
  • 97.5% of visually impaired people go out monthly and weekly. 70% of them go out alone.
  • 75% go out by train or bullet train.
  • 85% have experience traveling in Japan and 27.5% have experience traveling abroad.
  • Digital device usage is high.

Fieldwork for Empathy

Simulation of visual impairment due to retinitis pigmentosa with "EYEWARE"
Field work at Haneda Airport
  • The visually impaired live the same way as the healthy, but there are some things that cannot be overcome by themselves.
  • It is Necessary to use technologies to support the visually impaired independence and social participation.
  • It is necessary to improve digital accessibility as a infrastructure.

Design Approach

🛫 Check-in Machine’s Conversational UI

Enable visually impaired people to use voice to interact with machine when they check-in at airport.
At the same time, healthy users can also use GUI  to check-in.

VUI Simulation with Adobe XD

📱 AI Assistant in Smartphone Application

A visually impaired user is using the prototype and evaluating.

Test & Evaluation

Two prototypes of the assistant app and the check-in device were tested by two visually impaired user¹ to perform a user test and evaluation.

As in Case ①, using the Likert scale, qualitative questions were asked in five stages from "very agreeable" to "disagree at all" and asked to be evaluated.

1.two visually impaired user:
a college student with first-grade disability,  and a housewife with a first-grade disability.

User Testing
Evaluation results
How to improve VUI conversations for the visually impaired?

  • Create personalized conversations and services depending on the degree of disability.
  • In navigating, they do not know the direction, so first present a nearby position.
  • Depending on the conversation, adjust the prosody and emphasis points of the conversation using Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML).

How can VUI be dropped into a GUI?


This study examines the possibility of the public service area of the visually impaired person of the conversational UI, and can propose the design according to the approach, and can contribute to the utilization of the conversational UI in the future.
Furthermore, from the viewpoint of inclusive design, we have tried to design a conversational UI, which will contribute to developing services for the visually impaired in the future. And this design approach was found to be effective.

In the future, from the inclusive perspective, we will examine and expand on the verification and supplementation of interactive UI design methods based on other cases, and the effectiveness of sample conversation verification methods and test improvement methods.

And the evolution of technologies such as voice technology and AI can dramatically change society and give people convenience, while people with disabilities and the elderly can become unfamiliar with the change and become more inconvenient. At that time, the role of the designer should be reconsidered. Only inclusive perspectives can provide valuable value to disabled and elderly people with the power of technology.

© 2022 - Directed by Liang Yicheng.