Lois’ visual impairment group met with Glenda Blacker on the 20th and I decided to sit in. Glenda is a tactile artist for the CNIB Canadian National Institute for the Blind and she creates 3D art for the visually impaired and blind. She uses a similar process as thermoforming to create her art and educational pieces. She makes a mold out of wood or clay and vacuum forms a sheet of thin plastic over the mold to create a hollow 3D picture. She also does overlays for event brochures so seeing and blind people may read the same brochure.
Points from the meeting:
Blind people are as aware of the world as we are
Design boards are used by the visually impaired to draw with a stylus
9 year old blind boy drew a picture of a horse from his touch and understood proportion
Perspective is often difficult to portray by the visually impaired
Communicate via orthographic views
Unnecessary detailing confuses the user
Don’t be different to be different, be purposefully different
She also gave us some tips on how to interact with the visually impaired:
Speak to the person, not their associate or interpreter
Today, we met with a few visually impaired people from the Paul Menton Centre. Dean, David, and James all talked about their reasons for participating in our meeting and answered some of our questions.
They first commented on common misconceptions seeing people have about the visually impaired:
Our other senses aren’t heightened, we just use them more carefully
David encountered some giant braille in a building one time because people assume the partially seeing need large print, and therefore the blind need large braille
People think the visually impaired can’t do anything without help
The only thing the visually impaired can’t do is see
What are the barriers with social interaction as a visually impaired person?
When you’re sitting and someone sits beside you, you may not know and therefore miss an opportunity to strike a conversation
Unable to recognize people from afar and approach them
Rely on seeing people to approach them
How do you become familiar with a new area?
A seeing person can describe the area; the details are memorized
A crowd or obstacle can easily disorient
It was easier for the guests who had been able to see before to visualize a space
Uses smells, feelings, audio, a little vision to recognize a place
Technologies for Visually Impaired
Dean prefers android because it’s available on everything and it’s customizable