Sensory Exercises and Designing with the Blind in Mind…

As part of today’s exercises, a group of nine of us volunteered to be blindfolded, we were then lined up and handed various items to identify. The challenge was to test the restriction of the senses, one of the items handed to us was a plastic bag, but the texture revealed it to be a biodegradable, non-plastic bag. We then went on to link hands and tour the campus without sight, and while the most obvious difficulties were the disorientation, co-ordination and the confusion of being connected in a train, one of the surprising experiences was recognising what your other senses take in, for instance the smells of wet paint and ceramic, the feeling of cold walls and the general excitement in the voices of people around you. I have heard on numerous occasions that people who are blind have sometimes developed more sensitive senses of hearing to overcome these issues, but the exercise itself brought to light how true this is. This exercise put me in mind of a TedTalk I listened to recently, titled: Chris Downey: Design with the Blind in Mind, this expanded on the sensory needs of blind people, and how the considerations of these needs could inform better design for all of us.

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