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Title:Design beyond the eyes: a web-based tool for designers working with people with visual needs
Author(s):Hadinezhad, Shafagh
Advisor(s):Weightman, David
Contributor(s):McDowell, Kate; Ruecker, Stan
Department / Program:Art & Design
Discipline:Art and Design
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:M.F.A.
Genre:Thesis
Subject(s):vision loss
design process
sharing personal journeys
journey maps
a web-based tool
Abstract:The proportion of the global population who are elderly is growing which will lead to more people with physical conditions including vision loss. Every person with visual needs has different lived experiences considering their living condition, vision condition, and how long they have been living with vision loss or no vision. There is a gap between the needs of adults experiencing vision loss and the addressing of those needs by existing products and services, due to the lack of a deep understanding of their needs and challenges by designers. Designers who are not familiar with working with people with visual needs have to gain a deeper understanding of their lived experiences and their variety of needs to be able to design for them effectively. Designers need tools and techniques that will prevent them from generalizing the experiences and challenges of their user group, which can lead to considering only one solution for everyone without understanding and considering their individual and different needs. Although the focus of this project is on the communication between designers and people with visual needs, the individuality of each participant as a human being with different characteristics and experiences played an important role in the path of this project. The primary research included several online interviews and co-creation sessions with people with visual needs and those who have daily communication with them to understand their needs and experiences comprehensively. As a result of the experimental phase, the author realized that there is a need for improving the interaction between designers and individuals with visual needs which would result in a deeper understanding of the real needs of the users to be considered in the design process. To meet this goal, journey maps (explained below) were found to be the most effective tools that would give the opportunity to the participants to share their experiences safely, openly, and in detail. Therefore, a web-based tool was created for use by designers who are new to the area of visual needs. It provides them with the required information about this area, as well as guidelines for how to proceed with the design process to produce flexible, adaptable, and accessible journey maps that would give space to everyone to share their personal journey. The components of this tool help designers in the process of creating journey maps with participants with low or no vision. First, designers get familiar with the common definitions that they need to know before starting the interaction with participants including the kinds and causes of vision loss, and existing assistive technologies. Then, they receive guidelines about how to identify their user group by asking the right questions, as well as guidelines for conducting the interviews which would lead to creating the journey maps. The guidelines for creating the visual and non-visual journey maps provide the designers with the characteristics of the maps and how to make them accessible for the participants considering their vision level and their accessibility to technology.
Issue Date:2021-07-22
Type:Thesis
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/113074
Rights Information:Copyright 2021 Shafagh Hadinezhad
Date Available in IDEALS:2022-01-12
Date Deposited:2021-08


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