How Much Do We Know About Tactile Graphics? — (Part I)

— Tactile graphics look like images created from Braille! We carried out a month-long on-site research project, and here are our findings.

Miki Bin
Miki Bin
Sep 26, 2018 · 7 min read
Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library created a reference chart for different line density printed on paper

Outline

This article documents the findings of an accessibility research and design project for Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library.

  • Part II: documents the research process and our design solution.

A Little Bit of Background …

Tactileview is one of the few existing software that helps to generate tactile graphics, a medium that helps the low-vision community to “read” graphs.

TactileView Homepage

The Bigger Picture

As our team is new to tactile graphics, we booked several appointments with Chancey Fleet and Rania, the technology assistant at the library and her assistant, to learn more about the topic.

What Is Tactile Graphics?

“Tactile graphics are a means of conveying non-textual information to people who are blind or visually impaired, and may include tactile representations of pictures, maps, graphs, diagrams, and other images. A person with a visual impairment can feel these raised lines and surfaces in order to obtain the same information that people who are sighted get through looking at pictures or other visual images.”

source: Paths to Literacy

tactile graphic: Eiffel Towel

There are a lot of Braille books available to the low-vision group, but the idea of tactile graphics is still a nuance.

I noticed an interesting fact during my first visit. Being the largest library that provides Braille books in New York city, the entire second floor of Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library is dedicated to Braille books. However, there is only one shelf that store books with tactile graphics. While the subjects of the braille books range from computer science to leisure reading, books contain tactile graphics are limited to children’s story books, maze puzzles, and a tactile sample book made by the library.

a Braille Children's book

Tactile Mindfulness vs Tactile Acuity

There are two terms that describe blind people’s engagement with braille: tactile mindfulness and tactile acuity.

Floor plan in tactile graphics. Created by Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library.

Two Workflows

Maze in braille and tactile graphics. Created by Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library.

Who Goes to the Library?

braille alphabet study card used during the study session


About Me

I am Miki Bin. I study Interactive Media Arts.

NYC Design

A publication for designers in New York and followers all around the world. Design thinking is what makes us write here on Medium to share with the designers of the world.

Miki Bin

Written by

Miki Bin

https://mikibx.com/

NYC Design

A publication for designers in New York and followers all around the world. Design thinking is what makes us write here on Medium to share with the designers of the world.

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