3D printed maps and icons for inclusion: testing in the wild by people who are blind or have low vision

Leona Holloway, Kim Marriott, Samuel Reinders, Matthew Butler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The difficulty and consequent fear of travel is one of the most disabling consequences of blindness and severe vision impairment, affecting confidence and quality of life. Traditional tactile graphics are vital in the Orientation and Mobility training process, however 3D printing may have the capacity to enable production of more meaningful and inclusive maps. This study explored the use of 3D printed maps on site at a public event to examine their suitability and to identify guidelines for the design of future 3D maps. An iterative design process was used in the production of the 3D maps, with feedback from visitors who are blind or have low vision informing the recommendations for their design and use. For example, it was found that many representational 3D icons could be recognised by touch without the need for a key and that such a map helped form mental models of the event space. Complex maps, however, require time to explore and should be made available before an event or at the entrance in a comfortable position. The maps were found to support the orientation and mobility process, and importantly to also promote a positive message about inclusion and accessibility.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationASSETS ’19 - The 21st International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility
EditorsShiri Azenkot, Shaun Kane
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781450366762
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventACM SIGACCESS International Conference on Computers and Accessibility 2019 - Pittsburgh, United States of America
Duration: 28 Oct 201930 Oct 2019
Conference number: 21st


ConferenceACM SIGACCESS International Conference on Computers and Accessibility 2019
Abbreviated titleASSETS 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
Internet address


  • 3D Printing
  • Blind
  • Low Vision
  • Maps
  • Orientation & Mobility
  • Vision Impairment

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