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for the Blind

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Project about blind people life, breaking stereotypes

Hi, my name is Milya, I’m a third year BA Product design student from Central Saint Martins college in
London. Yeah, it’s a bit far from US but thanks to technology I can talk to you from another country :)

My final year project related to blind. I’m aware about main issues you have. However I wanted to focus
on changing stereotypes about blind in society. I was amazed with Helen Keller and other examples.

There are six questions in my survey. I apologize if any of the questions seems not appropriate for you.

I’ll be happy to know more about your life. If you feel like talking to me too, or you are curious about
student life in London – let’s Skype or email.

So, here is the questions:
1. For how long are you blind:
a. Congenitally
b. Since childhood (1-15 years old)
c. Since youth (15-20 years old)
d. Since adulthood (20-50 years old)
e. After 50
2. What are the three main problems for you?
3. What are the most useful product/products for you?
4. What would you love to see if you had a chance to?
5. What are the biggest misconception about blind people?
6. What full sighted people do wrong/silly from your perspective? (for example pictures of food in

Thank you for your time. I really appreciate your answers.

There are currently 6 replies

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Re: Project about blind people life, breaking stereotypes

Thank you Jadwiga for your help and advices

volunteering for RNIB

I found this. It seems pretty straight forward to me. The sooner you start the security check, the sooner you will be able to start. For now, you can begin by going online and signing up.

links to start you off doing research on the net

As far as the transportation problems, difficulty finding buses is the least of it. The difficulty is buses or trains or cabs which actually go to where the non-driving person wishes to go.
Europe tends to have much better public transportation compared to the United States.
Europe is also a lot smaller geographically compared with the US and Canada which does impact how transportation functions.
Personally I don't have trouble finding the bus or finding directions in subway systems. Good mobility skills training as a blind person helps me a a lot. So does new GPS and crowd-sourced technology for IOS iPhones. You will find ways you can perhaps contribute to the databases below.
Please continue to ask questions. But please, before the questions, do some research so you can learn things without individuals writing to you directly. Really, the information is out there. Being a good designer means being a good researcher. The best research is the least intrusive. Here are some things to get you started. Please read these messages and follow the links when given.
Note there are some things you can actually do as an individual if you know how to use technology. Your contributions will assist people without you ever having to meet them
Blind people both as individuals and as organizations get approached by a lot of people. Some of you are scammers. Some are simply oglers and voyeurs. Very few of you are actual inventors.
If you want to volunteer for blindness organizations, you need to abide by their safety rules out of courtesy. If you are honorable, you will understand this kind of thinking. Frankly, blind people as individuals get stalked. Blind and low vision women are subjected to violance by people who get angry when the "disabled" woman won't date them. Of course people need to be careful.
Giving out email addresses invites unwanted attention from people I don't know.
Whatever you are doing, you can find out lots on the net without pestering individuals for their email addresses.
Here are more techie links. Please use Search Engines. Blind people are all over the net.
If you are a programmer, perhaps you want to help with ongoing development of NVDA which is an open-source screen reader brought to the world by the same folks who brought us FireFox.

Re: Project about blind people life, breaking stereotypes


I so agree that the best way to help as designer is to meet face to face, instead of asking people on forums and then give solutions, but at the moment I haven't find yet opportunity to make this observations. And that's sad, because I'm sure there are thousand ways how young designer can help.

Re: Project about blind people life, breaking stereotypes

Jadwiga, thank you for your reply.

I agree with you about stereotypes and necessity of blind and visual impaired people geting out into the community more.

However, I found not so easy at the moment to have a dialogue with blind society in London. RNIB and RLSB answered me that without criminal check (what takes months to get) there is no way for me to talk to blind society. I understand it's done to protect 'vulnerable group of people', but it doesn't help to build inclusive society at all. That's why I'm talking on American forum.

I aware about public transportation issues. If you don't mind I would love to know more about transport related problems. I read about difficulties to find which bus is coming, difficulties in finding direction in underground (metro). What's the main problems there for you?

Re: Project about blind people life, breaking stereotypes

Let's start with Helen Keller. She has been dead for over fifty years. Her experience being blind as well as deaf is significantly different from the experience of a person who can see some or somebody who is totally blind but can hear. Now for the questions. I am going to give you information about blind people rather than just about myself. The biggest stereotype blind and low vision people face is other people's belief that we can do very little. Computers are something many blind people use, including people who are totally blind and have been totally blind since birth. We often touch type. For instance, I could touch tuype by the time I was ten and this was twenty years before the first talking computers came out in the early eighties. We need good public transportation. That would help more than any gadget you can invent. Good transportation could mean we can get interviews for employment and actually be able to get to the job once the employer realizes we are capable enough to get hired. We need web sites which are accessible so we can order things online with the money we will make when employed. Ordering online and having things sent to my door beats shopping for them and carrying them home in my backpack on a bus, assuming the bus actually goes from where I live to the store in question. Rather than special treatment, we want people to hire us, to make the culture in general more accessible by increasing transportation options and to take the time to learn about how we are capable. If you read information on this site, it will give you ideas. Try checking out Career Connect and AccessibleWorld and the blogs for starters. Also, there have been several students who posted about school projects on these message boards over the past month or so. Please read the message boards and read the answers people have sent in. Also, there are lots of blind and low vision people in London. If you meet some of them face to face you may start to know us better. You can try Royal National Institute for The Blind for a start. As for instagram, I have never been on it. I cook well and have for over forty years. Lack of pictures of food have never been a problem for me. I have lots of recipe ideas on the net. My computer is probably the most important piece of technology I own. There is a lot about computers and blind people on the AFB site which may interest you. Rather than inventing something, find something mainstream you can change such as your community's willingness to find internships for blind college students or something which increases volunteer opportunities for blind and low vision people in your community. Once blind and low vision people get out into the community more, they are perceived as capable and get hired. Please remember that the jobless rate for blind and low vsion people between the ages of 18 and 65 has stayed pretty much constant for years, despite our high educational level and computer skills. That is the big problem. Who wants to be unemployed because people think you are inept?

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