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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

User centered Braille Learning aid research. Designing a product to help.

Hi, I'm designing a product that aids beginners how to learn (read and write) uncontracted Braille. The device asks the user (who will have no prior knowledge of Braille) to spell a word. The user inputs the letters via buttons arranged in the 6 dot cell - not a row of keys like a conventional Braille typewriter! This is potentially difficult for new users to grasp. My target user group was intended to be sufferers of Glaucoma. Does anybody know whether Glaucoma sufferers learn Braille? And at what point do they learn Braille if so? Thankyou for any input into this in advance.

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Re: User centered Braille Learning aid research. Designing a product to help.

It depends on many factors. Generally speaking, glaucoma causes peripheral vision loss first, so oftentimes they can continue to read print for a while. However, once they lose a certain amount of their visual field, magnification doesn`t help, because the magnified letters are larger than their fields.

Another issue is that not as many people who lose their vision later in life are learning Braille (I`m not saying no one is, but much less). Technology has made it easier for computers and mobile technology to read things off the screen for them.

Why would learning the letters arranged as a six dot cell make learning easier? ILS teachers often use egg cartons with golf balls initially to teach how the cell is laid out, but move away from that once they start using Braille devices because that is not an easy shape to use.

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