Wireframing and the Purpose of Ugly Prototypes

For the last few months, I have been working on a bunch of projects that cannot be published or shown yet, and it’s probably going to stay like that for a while longer.

Given the circumstances, this project is quite chaotic at the moment, but the screenshot below seems fitting.

The first model for testing.


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SocialTech

Accessibility is a social issue that is often framed in technical terms. Rather than separating accessibility, diversity and inclusion, we want to think them as interconnected aspects of human interaction.

“Finding Useful Questions” is an annotated list of questions a lot of people would like answers to, but often don‘t get to ask for a variety of reasons. It is supposed to serve as an entry point to facilitate inclusive and accessible interactions, events, and everyday communications.

Title page of a document called "Finding useful questions" That is supposed to be a resource for people to learn about accessibility and inclusion

The first version of the “Finding useful questions” document.

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Das Klo.

Diese Animation zeigt die komplette Funktionalität des Modells

Im Sommer 2018 hatte ich die Gelegenheit, an einem besonders interessanten Projekt zu arbeiten. Im Rahmen eines Erasmussprojektes das sich mit der Erarbeitung 3D-gedruckter Lehrmaterialien für blinde Schüler*innen befasst, habe ich für das BBI eine Toilette entworfen, die dann in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Medienproduktionsteam von Sebus gedruckt wurde.

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3d printing

Gif of a model toilet. It's 3D printed and grey. In the gif, the toilet lid opens and closes

I made a 3D model toilet.

Maybe I’ll write more about it when I get around to editing the pictures, because it was actually quite a cool project. I made the 3D Model, Photos and GIF – I didn’t print it myself.

And it’s very functional ;)

Tactile Test Prints

3 Pages swell paper with maths graphics and formulas on a black background.

The first few pages.

Not much to add to the previous posts, but we have a bunch of actual pages for the braille project ready, and we got some of them printed for testing.

Pages of a tactile maths book, chapter polynomial functions

Close up of the polynomials maths page.

It’s still hard to get the puffed up parts to show. I had to turn the contrast up a bit, but I hope it’s clear.

Some of the pages have been printed in all black on accident – which is the usual mode for tactile pages. While it was a bit annoying at first, it made us aware that we need to be very clear about communicating the intention of the red text, and add printing instructions accordingly.

Close up of a page of swell paper, showing graphs with several different textures

Viele Schraffuren.

Stage 2: Experiments

Now that I understand how microcapsule paper works, it’s time to get a bit nerdy with material science.

Most blind students in Austria attend regular schools, so they will have sighted people around them. This is why we decided to try and make the materials work better for this integrative approach by including the text in schwarzschrift (literally black print, I don’t think this term exists in English so I’ll stick to the German) too. Schwarzschrift here, for us, is red though. There’s technical reasons for that, but maybe I need to explain how swell paper works first.

Pages of swell paper with test lines in different line styles and red writing in different shades that has stayed flat in the swelling process

Testing different shades of red by applying different heat settings.

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How to read Braille

Pages of swell paper with different surface patters consisting of dots, lines and crosses

A number of pages with different surface patterns and intersections of lines and patterns

My new design project is interesting. It mostly consists of maths and programming, combined with social research. After that, finally, some layouting and typesetting – but the final product will not necessarily look pretty. That’s alright though, since it’s not made to be looked at: We are working on teaching materials for blind and visually impaired students. More specifically, a graphics catalogue to be used in high school maths education.
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