Warning: This post contains no baseball references, while Paul and I take a break to recover from our teams’ sudden departure from the postseason. (At least the Yankees didn’t get beat by a wildcard team empowered by a squirrel.)
For some time I have wanted to write something about designing for those with disabilities. As with most things I write, I have the concept but no specific direction. If you regularly read IBD, you know this already. During this pensive time of reflection (or procrastination as my wife calls it) I received an email link related to a different twist on the classic Rubik’s Cube toy for blind persons. While trying to learn more about the thought processes behind this modern twist, I came across someone else’s idea of designing for those with visual impairments (or other disabilities), that I had to share. I think you will be happy, for once, since I didn’t write it.
It seems as most of the buzz online began with German designer Konstantin Datz’s version at the Museum of Modern Art. According to the MOMA website:
Datz has reimagined the popular Rubik’s Cube for people who cannot see the toy’s original colors. Datz stuck white panels embossed with the Braille words for each color over the squares, transforming the game from a visual puzzle into a tactile one.
For those with normal sight, the design is simple and striking. This is an excellent reminder that keeping a design simple and clean is always a great approach.
As I mentioned above, I came across a perspective that was so well written I had to use it here. The website is Drawar, The Imagination Community, a unique approach to a design blog (very different from IBD that could be categorized as unique for very different reasons).
In the post about Datz’s cube the following statements were made on Drawar:
When you are designing something there is a chance you have the luxury of being able to see it, hear it, feel it, or taste it. I know I often times forget that having all of these senses is a luxury and that there are millions upon millions of folks who aren’t afforded such things. How will they interact with the stuff that I design? When you start to consider this for even a second you see that your perspective on a design changes just a little bit.
It can be almost impossible to provide the exact experience for everyone in the world, but that doesn’t mean the experience for people with disabilities shouldn’t be as fulfilling to them as it is to someone else. Whenever I write I want everyone to be able to access and read my words. People without sight won’t be able to see my plain sense of design, but at least they will get to the real experience which is the words.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Well, maybe I could have but it would have involved at totally unrelated story in a weak attempt to create an analogy and would have involved many more parentheses.