I’m currently designing some kind of keybord for the visually impaired. it’s supposed to serve them as a replacement for the buttons you can find on “word recognition systems” (=scanners that read out the words on a paper/book etc.).
my intention was to develop a product that aims directly at a blind person’s way of perceiving his/her invironment; normally with hands.
Obviously such products are designed by people who are not blind and who, in my opinion, apply their imagination of blind people to the product. That usually results in devices with huge buttons in all kind of geometrical forms. but I question the necessity of that.
I grew up with a blind parent and think that I have an idea about how they cope with their environment. that’s why I wanted to do the exact oposite from what I’ve seen on the market so far.
Well, my professor didn’t agree-I have to alter my idea completely and I might just do something that is more acceptable for the seeing eye.
I’ll upload a few ideas asap.
Do you actually get my point?
Your empathy and primary experience with a blind parent put you in a good position to work on this.
What is your professor in disagreement with?
This needs to be a user-centered product, and you should follow UCD methods. Get out there and talk to and observe blind people. Have them show you products that they use, like and dislike. Your concept should flow from their needs and your observations, not from you or your professors opinions.
I presume you are familiar with this award winning device concept?
Also check out the ‘talking book player’ design contest from 2002:
This company is producing it, and has others like it:
I personally hate it when a professor goes so far as to make a student change their project direction b/c they don’t agree with a premise. Especially when it is a subjective decision. It doesn’t sound as though it is based on anything other than the professor can’t wrap their head around a concept. Sad, really.
Have you created a solid enough presentation of why this different approach to the physical manifestation is worthy of exploration? If you haven’t done the research (aka interviewed blind people) as opposed to just applying your interpretation to it your stuck in a subjective pissing match that, frankly, you will lose.
Gather empirical data (quotes?) from potential users as to why the current “seeing” interpretation of these devices is off target.
your advice have already been a help.
my professor managed to make me feel quite insecure about my project. probably my mistake to assume that other people are able to comprehend an issue that I am totally used to while they are not.
i’m planning to visualize two suggestions, a concept that could work for him, and one that applies to my ideas.
@cg: thanks for the links. I already knew some of the products. the image you uploaded is similar to the keybord I designed for my poject; differences in material, unobtrusive buttons/keys.
I still have to upload it, though.