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Open Access Publications from the University of California

How Virtual Work Environments Convey Perceptual Cues to Foster Shared Intentionality During Covid-19 for Blind and Partially Sighted Employees


The Covid-19 pandemic altered workplaces. For those with ‘office jobs,’ this meant working ‘virtually,’ or remotely, from home. This transition forced organizations and workplaces to exercise flexibility, adapt workflows and rely on Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to work remotely. However, Blind and Partially Sighted Individuals (BPSI) face challenges accessing work digitally and remote communications through ICTs. In response, we report on the results of our longitudinal participatory design study investigating the impact of working and training over a distance for BPSI. What emerged is a conceptual model to assist in understanding how ICT interfaces convey spatial-topological cues for the construction of shared intentionality in virtual work environments. The implications of our model could be significant, as it aids understanding of what is lost and gained when transitioning to virtual work environments. This could inform the development of ICTs with cross-sensory interaction and national accessibility policies for the workplace.

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