Así se siente mi barrio (This is what my hood feels like) is a participatory-action research project that tackles the lack of inclusive information in the cities for people with visual impairments. The approach consisted on the implementation of a specially designed methodology that included a co-creative approximation with congenit blind people and the installation of an interactive multisensorial module that was on exhibit at the Library for visually impaired user, part of the National Library of Mexico, inside the Citadel of Mexico City.
The collaboration started by inviting a group of users to participate in a workshop as artists and creators of drawings; their ability to generate graphic representations of their perceptions of spaces and objects proved to be extremely valuable, as they are completely based on tactile and auditory stimuli and thus, include and process information that would be impossible to show in a traditional image. Simultaneously, their creations are intelligible to other visually impaired persons; the textures and high reliefs are contextualized by previous experiences and produce a tactile interface system that can be understood by this segment of the population.
The module is conceptualized from the need of showing these co-created haptic images using a device that allows any person to interact with the contents, understand the process of creation and get to know the stories and experiences behind each one. Therefore, the design is entirely based on the requirements and needs of people with visual impairments and considers its whole process of use in order to achieve a meaningful experience of interaction with the information. The high relief drawings are displayed on a set of wooden tablets that include a braille explicatory text and a RFID reader, so when the user places any of them on the marked surface, they can hear the story or experience that inspired it from the voice of the creator, while a hands-on exploration and interpretation of the volumetric composition takes place.
Besides the research objectives, the possibilities for this tactile interactive information system to permeate the city environment and the analysis of new understandings of spatial perception, the installation aims to invite the spectators to experience the contents of the collaborative project from different perspectives and sensorialities with the objective of bringing the different communities that visit the Citadel together and help integrate, through this inclusive experiment, a segment of the urban population that usually remains isolated.
The project was developed by a multidisciplinary group of four people, that included the participation of a PhD academic that first applied this haptic methodology and approach in her doctoral research. My specific tasks in the development included a deep analysis and understanding of the participants and target users from a cognitive, anatomic, ergonomic and contextual perspective in order to craft the best usability experience possible, as well as the integral design and prototyping of the physical module and conceptual ideas and proposals for the interaction with the information.
- Awards: Honor Mention at the National Design Award Diseña Mexico 2019
- Collaborators: Angelica Martinez, Cristina Rivas, Pablo Sotres
- Client: Centro de la Imagen, Ministry of Culture
- Date: 04/2018 - 12/2018
- Website: cultura.gob.mx