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This course focused on the tactility trialing approach: exploring materials to inform tactile experience design in the context of public navigation for visually impaired people

UX Design 
from a material
perspective for 
visually impaired 

Course Project
Tactile Experience


Simone de Waart

project members: Fabienne Crans & Niki Efstratiou


Simone de Waart & Karin Niemantsverdriet

in short

Design challenge around Roomy

In this project we got assigned to designing for an 'orderly' experience, which we first had to define and discuss in the design process. The design of Roomy centers around a navigation tool for visually impaired to find their way within public areas and rooms. Roomy is basically a tangible "roommate" for people within this target group to take along and provide an orderly navigation experience.


To get an orderly experience, according to our user test with a visually impaired person, contrast and quick stroke-ability is important in the design of a tactile public navigation tool. To keep our product as simple as possible and to avoid an overload of information, we only used two materials: the knobbed hard plastic (white) and the knobbed rubber (black).  

The knobbed hard plastic came out as most orderly material and was most quickly stroke-able; the soft knobbed rubber material made your fingers stop while stroking and was not experienced as orderly at all. These two materials therefore created contrasting stroke-ability, contrasting coloring and contrasting orderly experiences. That is why these contrasting material tactile experience qualities were used within Roomy to provide feedback on where can be walked (using the quickly stroke-able and orderly hard knobbed plastic) in the public area/room, and where obstacles are positioned (using rough stroke-able and non-orderly experienced knobbed rubber). 

A visually impaired person simply grabs a Roomy floorplan that is hanging on the wall just outside the room he/she wants to enter. On the Roomy floorplans can be put around the neck as a keycord. Moreover, the entrance  is represented which makes it easy to position oneself in the public space to enter through the basic map. This way he/she has a clear orientation point, namely the entrance. After stroking it shortly and feeling the rougher surface that represent the obstacles in the room, he/she knows exactly where to walk and enter the room. All in all, Roomy gives visually impaired more control while navigating in public areas, and therefore an orderly tactile experience.



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