communication mediumThe Visual Computer
In workplaces or publicly accessible buildings, escape routes are signposted according to official norms or international standards that specify distances, angles and areas of interest for the positioning of escape-route signs. In homes for the elderly, in which the residents commonly have degraded mobility and suffer from vision impairments caused by age or eye diseases, the specifications of current norms and standards may be insufficient. Quantifying the effect of symptoms of vision impairments like reduced visual acuity on recognition distances is challenging, as it is cumbersome to find a large number of user study participants who suffer from exactly the same form of vision impairments. Hence, we propose a new methodology for such user studies: By conducting a user study in virtual reality (VR), we are able to use participants with normal or corrected sight and simulate vision impairments graphically. The use of standardized medical eyesight tests in VR allows us to calibrate the visual acuity of all our participants to the same level, taking their respective visual acuity into account. Since we primarily focus on homes for the elderly, we accounted for their often limited mobility by implementing a wheelchair simulation for our VR application.