You can't understand the blind world by Looking at it

“ARIA is the blind leading the visionary”

- Daniel Kish
ARIA Head of Training
President of World Access for the Blind
Pioneer of blind echolocation and O&M training,
having trained over 10,000 people in the last 30 years

The power of Co-Design

ARIA is built as a collaboration between blind subject matter experts and leading minds from the tech and research communities

Much of what we have achieved is attributable to our deep commitment to co-design
- focusing on solving real-world problems, as they are experienced by the people who know blindness best.

blind co-designers
with man trials
prototype iterations

Hosted by
Julee-anne Bell

Catch up on a conversation about technolgoy (CAT) or ‘go deep’ on a range of topics - from blind sports, latest developments in AI, ethics, meeting some of the folks building ARIA and much more. You can access these from our Podcast page, or search for ARIA on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Come join us in person for a co-design workshop

Meet ARIA designers, engineers and researchers, try out new technologies and give us feedback that will help shape ARIA.

Come work for us!

We’re always on the lookout for talented people with lived experience of vision disability.

ARIA is an equal opportunity employer, and we’re growing so if you have a skillset that you think ARIA could use - please get in touch with us

Design principles

The thousands of hours we’ve spent interviewing, testing, refining, and debating together boil down to three main design principles for ARIA:

Solve spatial perception

The first and largest challenge is to give people without sight the information access to a world built for people with vision. This is much more than reading text or navigation instructions - it is creating a deeper and detailed connection to the physical world, one’s presence within a space, and without the need for touch.

Invisible Tech

Assistive technologies tend to draw a lot of attention to their user, whether such attention wanted or not. The second largest challenge often faced by blind people is dealing with sighted people. A major design principle of ARIA is to fly under the radar with a device that looks like a normal pair of glasses from the outside, leaving the choice to engage with others, or not, with the users.

Level the social playing field

How we connect with one another shapes who we are and how we live our lives. With the majority of social interactions being non verbal, hand gestures, eye gaze, facial expressions and posture throw off a myriad of cues that are inaccessible to people with vision disabilities placing them at a massive disadvantage in how social interactions can unfold. As one of our co-design participants put it “I can always hear my kids fight, but I can never hear them smile”. Solving this problem will unlock a new dimension of social connection for ARIA users.

Collaborating with the Health and Disability Support System

While ARIA’s core focus is on customer experience, it’s not the whole story. ARIA’s co-design efforts are supported through projects backed by the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care. We work closely with eye doctors and clinicians, vision research institutes, orientation and mobility (O&M) professionals and disability support organizations to ensure ARIA complements the ecosystem of medical and social supports surrounding those living with vision disability. This work spans development of training systems for clinicians and O&M Specialists, designing and running clinical trials, inviting feedback from key opinion leaders, generating health economic data, and creating assistive technology outcome measures.