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Title: Blind Body Language
Authors: Herssens, Jasmien 
Heylighen Ann
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: University of Cambridge
Source: Clarkson, P. John; Langdon, Patrick; Robinson, Peter (Ed.). Proceedings of the 5th Cambridge Workshop on Universal Access and Assistive Technology Cambridge, p. 109-118
Abstract: Inclusive designing is a design process aiming at creating better design of objects and environments which are desirable to own and satisfying to use for as many people as possible (Clarkson et al. 2007). Obtaining this ideal requires involving users in the design process. Regarding architecture we argue that as architects are trained to know, think, and work in a visual way, visual qualities are dominating the built environment. As a consequence perceptual accessibility is often lacking and spaces with multisensory qualities are scarce. As the built environment is experienced with all our senses, we chose to learn from people who are congenitally blind (born blind): they are much more aware of non visual experiences and are consequently the ideal users/experts to investigate multisensory spatial qualities and constraints. This paper reports on part of our research into haptic qualities of the built environment, using a qualitative visual research methodology: video ethnography. Twenty-two blind people agree that we visit them at their home. The visit consists of an open in-depth interview on the living environment, followed by a video walk through their home with the participant as our guide. In this article we zoom in on the guiding tours. Although the majority of the participants state in advance that they do not rely on touch, they all notice their haptic habits and tools while guiding us through their living space. The conducted tours are videotaped and analysed regarding haptic movements. We start by explaining the background and methodology of our study, after which we present our findings. We conclude with a discussion on the haptic experience of the body in architecture compared to our daily visual impression and the implications for designing inclusive environments.
Keywords: video ethnography; architecture; blind; senses; universal design; inclusive design
Document URI:
Category: C1
Type: Proceedings Paper
Validations: vabb 2015
Appears in Collections:Research publications

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