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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Help for design project

My name is Kim and I was wandering if anyone could help me with my Design project. For this i have decided to design a product for the blind but am having trouble choosing one area to focus on. This is why i would like your help to decide whether i should design something to be used by the blind in their homes, something for when they travel or just simple something that they wish they had for entertainement for example. Therefore, if you could simple tell me what you find more difficult or what you wish existed in order for me to progress on my project.

Many thanks,
Kim Beard

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Re:Help for design project

Another point I'd like to add is that before you start designing a brand new device to do something, find out what tools were used previously to accomplish the same goals. I was working with someone who had wanted to design a GPS-based system that would replace a white cane. While GPS is great for navigating... it doesn't do anything to tell you about where curbs are, where trees and people are, and whether there is a hole in the sidewalk in front of you. No matter how advanced the GPS system was, it couldn't replace a white cane to check ahead.

Re:Help for design project

There seem to be a lot of people whose instructors have asked them to design products for the blind. Many of you seem to have little knowledge of what already exists as aids for those of us with low vision (legally blind) and those of us with no vision at all. Products range from expensive braille displays for computers, speech software for computers, and specialized products for use in the kitchen. Rather than designing a "product for the blind", you will do better to concentrate on how an already existing product for mainstream (sighted) use can be made accessible. The advantage to us as blind and low vision folks is that mainstream products with access built into their design tend to be less expensive than products designed for the much smaller niche market of "the blind". Please therefore strive to design access into mainstream products. A good example of such thoughtful design is Apple and its iPhone and iPad which totally blind people can use "out of the box". Designing to bring us into the main market place rather than keeping us in a niche means more products will be designed which blind folks can actually afford to buy.

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