Tactile Technologies

Tactile Technologies is a curriculum product that introduces learners to 3D printing technologies and accessibility principles. Modules and interactive workshops help learners  gain the skills needed to transform 2D media into a 3D learning experience. Participants choose their media (usually a children's book), adapt the story into 3D, design/edit 3D models, and create a tactile learning experience.

Role: Lead Designer, Instructor

Responsibilities: Research, Analysis, Storyboarding, LX Design, Prototyping, Graphic Design, User Testing, Evaluation

Target Audience: Beginner to Intermediate learners for 3D technologies, university students

Tools Used: Autodesk, Cura, Thingiverse, SketchUp, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Fusion 3 Printer, Ultimaker

PROBLEM

Most children's books are sight based, which can make learning words or reading popular stories difficult for visually disabled kids.

3D printing offers an affordable, innovative way to redesign books as tactile learning experiences.

CONTEXT

CU Boulder started a Tactile Picture Book project in 2017, partnering with schools and maker labs. After consulting with CU, I designed the Tactile Technologies series to help participants learn 3D modeling skills and produce new tactile projects.

PROCESS

I designed Tactile Technologies first for a Girls Tech Camp and then for use in university classrooms. I created sequenced activities for learning 3D modeling and created tactile 3D redesigns for several children's books. 

RESEARCH

  • Consult Users - visually disabled readers

  • Review accessible design principles

  • UX/UI Audit of Tactile Picture Books

  • Evaluate the content of 2D media

  • Analyze 3D redesigns

  • Inventory available skills/tools

  • Create learner profile for users/makers

 

To create a learning experience for people new to 3D, I had to 

- blind people

partnered with the public library

interviewed visually disable people

Consulted with Colorado

Worked with computer engineers, science and technology experts, and disability scholars

Determined the best program - Autodesk, Tinkercad - free, easy to use

I had to create stuff first - figure out the kinks - user test the programs and the sequencing of activities: identify commonly used shapes in 3D designs, familiarize yourself with the tools/workplane, create a nameplate, import a design and alter it, pick your page and design your tactile experiences.

Learning Experience Design - Off the Page

My designs - page with Braille, but also different experiences that were no longer bound to a page format

GTC - went through the modules and then created a tactile version of each page of Very Hungry Catapiller

Learning goals: Throughout the project, learners work to analyze visual elements, recognize adaptable features, XXXXXX.  user test redesigns,  

Workshops also helped have instructor on site

INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN

  • Introduce learners to 3D technologies

  • Practice 3D modeling skills

  • Evaluate accessibility principles

  • Analyze story elements

  • Produce 3D redesigns

  • Develop new accessibility principles for 3D printing technologies

LX DESIGN

  • Engage Users - visually disabled readers

  • Review accessible design principles

  • UX/UI Audit of Tactile Picture Books

  • Evaluate the content of 2D media

  • Analyze 3D redesigns

  • Inventory available skills/tools

  • Assess makers/learners

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DEVELOPMENT

  • Mockup 3D redesigns

  • User test activities

  • Prototype program

  • Print out sample redesigns

EVALUATION

Tactile Technologies

 

The Tactile Technologies program has been incorporated into Girls Tech Camp curriculum and was rated the best overall learning experience by participants.

After the Tactile Technologies program, learners took a short survey - providing feedback on the learning experience and instruction. Participants also completed peer evaluations of their work, assessing the design skills and accessibility principles incorporated into the 3D projects.