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Design Science Journal
Papers

Architects and Visually Impaired People: Analyzing Two Ways of Talking

Architects and Visually Impaired People: Analyzing Two Ways of Talking

Year: 2009

Section: Design Processes

Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.

Author: Vermeersch, Peter-Willem; Strickfaden, Megan; Herssens, Jasmien; Heylighen, Ann

Section: Design Processes

Pages: 495-506

Abstract

While architects think and work in a visual way, people who are visually impaired may pay more attention to other senses and, as a result, are able to appreciate other spatial qualities. Because of this particular ability, our research explores how to enhance communication between architects and visually impaired people. While there may be significant disparity between how architects and visually impaired people talk, this paper seeks points of connection that support enabling a genuine dialogue between these two groups. The study reported here aims to gain insights into how both groups talk about the built environment by comparing two independent data sets: four in-depth interviews with architects, four with visually impaired people. Through analysis of the spoken word, we identify common ground and central differences between both groups. On this basis, we discuss potential elements that may challenge or facilitate developing connections towards deeper conversation between architects and visually impaired people. While the study focuses on architectural design and visual impairment, the findings may be transferable to communication between designers and non-designers in general.

Keywords: architectural design, communication, non-designers, spoken word, visual impairment

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The Design Society and the Stanford Center for Design Research cordially invite you to participate in the International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED'09. The venue will be Stanford University’s verdant campus in the heart of Silicon Valley, a short 35 miles south of San Francisco, California. Research papers and case studies are solicited on any topic related to design thinking, theory, and practice, with a premium placed on evidence-based research. Topics and Themes include: *...

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