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Transcribing Across the Senses: Community Efforts to Create 3D Printable Accessible Tactile Pictures for Young Children with Visual Impairments

Abigale Stangl, Chialo Hsu and Tom Yeh

The 17th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS 2015)
Lisbon, Portugal, October 26-28, 2015


The design of 3D printable accessible tactile pictures (3DP-ATPs) for young children with visual impairments has the potential to greatly increase the supply of tactile materials that can be used to support emergent literacy skill development. Many caregivers and stakeholders invested in supporting young children with visual impairments have shown interest in using 3D printing to make accessible tactile materials. Unfortunately, the task of designing and producing 3DP-ATPs is far more complex than simply learning to use personal fabrication tools. This paper presents formative research conducted to investigate how six caregiver stakeholder-groups, with diverse skill sets and domain interests, attempt to create purposeful 3DP-ATPs with amateur-focused 3D modeling programs. We expose the experiences of these stakeholder groups as they attempt to design 3DP-ATG for the first time. We discuss how the participant groups practically and conceptually approach the task and focus their design work. Each group demonstrated different combinations of skill sets. In turn, we identify the common activities required of the design task as well how different participants are well suited and motivated to preform those activities. This study suggests that the emerging community of amateur 3DP-ATP designers may benefit from an online creativity support tool to help offset the challenges of designing purposeful 3DP-ATPs that are designed to meet individual children with VI’s emergent literacy needs.

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