• Mikkel Wettergreen Mulvad Beyer
  • Jonas Bjerregaard Pedersen
4. term, Interactive Digital Media, Master (Master Programme)

Problem statement
The phenomenon of interactive storytelling tends to rely solely on a visual media to convey the necessary information to the interacting user. which hereby seem to exclude the blind from the experience.
This was a core motivation for us to conduct research into how future designs of audiobooks could contain enough auditory information to allow a non-seeing user to make informed decisions in a branching narrative, without any need of visual cues nor text.

This study was conducted over four months with a pragmatic research-through-design approach, as part of a master project by two students from Interactive Digital Media at Aalborg University.
Through Reverse Rngineering, informant- and respondent interviews, interactive and auditory means are uncovered in order to properly construct three high fidelity prototypes. These consists of individual audio designs of the same interactive short story, primarily targeted to a young audience.
Three consenting, blind children in the age of 12-14 years, tested said prototypes, and through qualitative interviews their preferred design was determined. Through these results, proposals for effective means of supporting the listener’s immersion in an interactive narrative, without a visual aspect to its design, can be listed.

This paper concludes by providing a framework for how future audiobook-designers can adopt specific auditory means into an adequate, detailed audiodesign, in order to engage and immerse blind children (age of 12-14) in an interactive, narrative experience. These findings cover the engagement and immersion based upon the use of a proper narrator, breaking the fourth wall, individual character voices and the use of noise/SFX in order to guide the listener to construct and maintain a suitable imaginary room during the listening experience.
The framework is hereby meant as a “road sign” for any future research or designs within this area.

Certain limitations have been taken during this study. The framework within this paper is specifically intended for the blind, and does not consider the needs or preferences of other visually impaired audiences.
Though focusing on interactive storytelling, neither the paper nor its framework delves into any deep analysis of choice-based simulations in a narrative, neither does it consider the technical aspects of system-interactivity and the blind audience.
Publication date24 May 2017
Number of pages139


ID: 258228282