An Insight into Sight uses methodologies from inclusive and accessible design practices, such as prototyping and user testing, to educate designers on empowering the visually impaired to see and read through a user-centred design. 285 million people worldwide are visually impaired, and with an ageing population, more and more people will experience reduction in vision. An Insight into Sight develops a highly functional “how to” kit that emphasises the beauty of capturing what the visually impaired sees and does not see. It gives the best practice guidelines on designing with empathy for the visually impaired and how to employ print design as a popular communication platform for this audience.
The toolkit consists of three stages: first, to educate and engage designers in the understanding of visual impairment; second, to cover all fundamentals in design such as type size, weight, colour and contrast; and lastly, only through continuous prototyping and user-testing will designers be able to truly understand the impact of leaving out this audience in their designs. A “Breakfast Omelette” booklet was chosen as an example to showcase its simple, accessible and colourful content and aesthetic. 2D iconography is used for the ingredients and materials. This is coupled with a large font size, plenty of clear space and a set of cutout goggles to create interest, empathy and immediate engagement between user and designer.
An Insight into Sight is a set of design knowledge that helps the visually impaired see, read and understand communication that were previously just a haze or a blur on the page. Overall, the project recognises that by getting designers to extend the scope of their skills, they are able to create designs that will improve the quality of life for this group of the community. The visually impaired can be empowered to see and read materials without unnecessary technological assistance.
Nga Pae Mahutonga - The School of Design, Massey University, New Zealand