Make an app for blind students

Sophie Moores submitted on

Friday 18th February 2022


i work at building 38, and have witnessed visually impaired students being unable to find their way around campus, - this actually culminated in a blind student falling into the pond recently, according to a colleague of mine. 

another time, a visually impaired student outside b38 asked me whuch way the interchange was. i could not leave my desk at work to take him there, and i realised there was literally no way for me to explain to him where to walk, he said 'is it left or right?' and i said well, left, sort of... and there was just no way to explain it to him, as you turn left but then have to skirt around the pond, then bear left again to reach the interchange. there is no way for him to know where exactly to wait for a bus.  

my idea is that considering campus is a very confusing layout (as all campuses are!) is it possible for an app to be designed which uses gps mapping to create a very detailed map, with a detailed audio narrative which tells people when to turn/where to walk. surely this is something that maybe even Southampton students doing computer science or engineering could do? maybe they already have!! I can't find any info about it online though.

also, if not, i do think that some textured pavement should be installed around the edge of the pond to avoid this happening again. 


Here, you can view the complete set of official responses from the sabbatical officers regarding this submission.

Students' Union replied on

Friday 1st Apr 2022 9:59am

Hi Sophie,

I have done some work and had some meetings recently to help resolve this submission. My update is as follows:

Through liaising with University staff, it was brought to my attention that the University is currently developing a new map software with accessibility as a key focus. One feature of the new, interactive map is that it has screen reader functionality, meaning that directions are read out loud in audio version. This will help those who are visually impaired to navigate around campus. It also has the option to avoid stairs and obstacles when creating navigation routes for students to get to one building or place on campus to another. 

A beta version of the map is available to look at here- You need to be on campus, Eduroam, or VPN to access it. 
They are constantly looking for more feedback and ways to develop the map software further, so if you have any feedback please submit it via here- 

The University's Estates Team are also exploring options around the pond. 

In terms of wider support for visually impaired students, a specialist practitioner from the University's Student Disability and Inclusion team was able to provide me with this information- 

Disabled students are encouraged to contact Student Disability and Inclusion to arrange a student support appointment to meet with a disability practitioner. During this meeting, we can make students aware of available support and if a student has provided a copy of medical evidence, we can write Student Support Recommendations (SSR) for the student. SSRs can be shared with the faculty and recommendations for visually impaired students may include the following:


·         LSA support: Notetakers / lab assistant.

·         Larger print handouts.

·         Recommendation for particular font and font size to be used on lecture slides.

·         Specific colour requests for text/paper.

·         Assistive Technology equipment and software/apps: please refer to this document to see the list of AT software available for students to access on campus.

·         Campus orientation with sensory impairment team (or practical support assistant).

·         Timetabling recommendations – e.g., lectures spaced out so students have more time to travel time between lectures.

·         Lecture slides available on BlackBoard in advance.

·         General recommendations for lecturers, e.g. do not write on a whiteboard.

·         Seating arrangements recommendations: student to have the opportunity to sit at front of lecture theatre or exam room.

·         Recording lectures.

·         Additional Exam Recommendations (AERs) - LSA (scribe/reader), use of PC, particular font and font size, additional time, rest breaks (may need to rest eyes depending on condition), seating recommendations.

·         PEEP for halls and campus.

·         Halls adaptations/recommendations - e.g. located close to campus.

·         Adjustments for fieldtrips/placements.

·         Library digitalisation team – required readings to be provided electronically. Recommendation for lecturers to provide digitalised reading list via Talis.


In addition to the above, study and wellbeing support can also be offered to students if helpful.

Thank you again for bringing this to light. If you have any further questions in relation to this, please contact me at- 

Kind Regards,

Savanna- VP Welfare and Community

Students' Union replied on

Wednesday 9th Mar 2022 3:14pm

Hi Sophie,

Thank you for your submission.

I am currently looking into ways that this idea can be explored within the University, as well as addressing your point around installing textured pavement. 

I will let you know when I have any wider updates and I will be in contact directly if I need anymore information :) 

Kind regards,

Savanna- VP Welfare and Community 


  • Forwarded to Vice President Welfare and Community

    Friday 25th Feb 2022 9:04am


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