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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

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Basic Principles for Preparing Tactile Graphics

  • Make the tactile graphic as clear as possible. Always keep in mind the point of view of the braille reader. It is up to the producer to present the information in a clear, concise manner for the student.
  • Know the important facts to be kept in mind when creating the graphic.
  • Determine if the original shapes and textures are necessary to convey the concept, or can simple geometric shapes or braille signs be used to illustrate the concept.
  • Omit unnecessary parts of the diagram (i.e. unreferenced or irrelevant sections of a map) so that the original shapes and textures can be presented on a larger and clearer scale.
  • Keep in mind the knowledge level, skill base, and age level of the reader. Use age appropriate language.
  • Determine if the text requires measurements to be made or an operation to be performed, or if the original shapes, textures and total form are necessary to convey the concept. If so, the lines and angles are reproduced retaining a proper scale.
  • Remember to keep it simple; unnecessary information, clutter, may prohibit the student from gaining relevant information therefore making the graphic useless.
  • Edit/proofread the graphic with your fingers, not your eyes, before showing it to a student. Beware, if someone says your graphic is "pretty" or "beautiful", take a second look, your student may not be able to understand it at all.

Source: American Foundation for the Blind Braille Literacy Mentors in Training: The Next Generation - Teaching Special Codes: Nemeth, CBC, and Tactile Graphics - Workshop in Fremont, California (August 7-9, 1997) and Atlanta, Georgia (September 11-13, 1997). Diane Spence and Susan A. Osterhaus

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