A User-Friendly Vertical Plant Management System; Understanding the Prevalence of Color-Blind Accessibility in Websites

Tran, Chloe, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Powell, Harry, EN-Elec/Computer Engr Dept, University of Virginia
Ku, Tsai-Hsuan, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

A user interface connects people to information. Some examples of interfaces include phone applications, websites, and IOT (internet of things) enabled devices. When designing interfaces, an important but often overlooked consideration is usability. This focus on usability couples my technical project to my STS research. In the technical project, my team constructed a vertical plant management system that aims to be user-friendly through a smart-phone application. In the STS research, I examine the recent socio-technological state of a specific type of usability, color-blind accessibility in website technology.
The technical project is an electrical and computer engineering project. It addresses automated plant care for those living in environments where space is limited. Each vertical tier of the plant management system can house a different type of plant. The tiers are stacked on top of each other to save space. Automation of plant care is achieved through hardware and software design. A small computer, called a microcontroller, receives data from soil moisture sensors and delegates water and lighting outputs to turn on based on custom plant parameters. A phone application abstracts the electrical hardware, making the system more usable for those with non-technical backgrounds.
The STS research aims to understand a specific area of usability aimed towards people with disabilities called web accessibility. In the research, I focus on the prevalence of color-blind accessibility in websites. Color-blind accessibility is designing websites with certain key features to account for color blindness. This prevalence is affected by a variety of social and technological factors. Delving into these factors provides insight into the complexity of designing for color-blindness in modern website creation.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
color-blindness, web accessibility, plants, Social Construction of Technology, Technology Mediation

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering
Technical Advisor: Harry Powell
STS Advisor: Tsai-Hsuan Ku
Technical Team Members: Sonia Aggarwal, Brooke Bonfadini, Victoria Nilsson, Catherine Rogers

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