Cross-modal design research
Helen Hamlyn Research Centre
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Sensory impairment is usually treated as a negative condition that requires inclusive design for correction or compensation. However, such impairment in one sense should be seen positively in terms of a greater awareness, and use, of the other senses. This suggests another form of inclusive design in which sensory enhancement can be extended to a much larger population. In this paper we discuss both approaches as different forms of cross-modal design research. We do this in relation to an inclusive design exercise on multi-sensory memorabilia for visually impaired people (Higgins 2003). This exercise was carried out to understand the needs and requirements of visually impaired people for future digital photography products and to take inspiration from these people regarding non-visual memory triggers for fully sighted people. Hence the findings of a user study were used to generate a series of inclusive design concepts of relevance to both visually impaired and fully sighted people alike. These included embossed or tactile photographs, a china tea service for recording special conversations, a shelf for curating stories with objects, and a book of maps representing special walks. The implications for transferring these ideas within HP will also be discussed. Higgins J. (2003) Multi-sensory memorabilia. Helen Hamlyn Research Centre Technical Report, Royal College of Art.
International Conference on Inclusive Design;Include 05
Frohlich D.M. & Fennell J. (2005) Cross-modal design research [Poster]. Proceedings of Include ’05. Royal College of Art: London. 5-8th April, 2005.
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