Co-Designing Audio-Tactile graphics with School Teachers

Summary of Project


While traditional tactile graphics are commonplace in education, the potential of audio-tactile graphics remains underutilized in classrooms. We know from prior research that few reasons for this underutilization is because of a: 

This exploratory study aims to address this gap by exploring how educators can effectively incorporate audio-tactile graphics into teaching methodologies, uncovering emergent pedagogies in a co-design workshop setting.

Research Question: 


I conducted co-design workshops with educators who teach blind and visually impaired students. During the workshop we produced audio-tactile graphics for a prompt provided to them. We produced the graphics in their schools using the tactile graphics tools they currently use, and brainstormed how to teach using audio-tactile graphics.


The study summarized following insights that inform ways in which we can further utilize audio-tactile graphics in school:

My role:

UX researcher responsible for end-to-end research plan, including conducting the co-design workshop, and analysis.

Co-design Workshop

Why co-design workshop?


Transcribers, Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TVIs), Access-Tech Specialists, Tactile-Graphic Artists.  


Intermediate School District Offices in S-E Michigan where the participants typically designed tactile graphics. 

Co-Design Prompt:
Participants were provided with a prompt discussing the onset of hurricane Ian, and how the classroom teacher planned to go over the details of events. For this lesson, they would be creating an audio-tactie graphic of the path map based on the provided prompt, for a fictional blind high-school student - James, who has over 6 years experience reading tactile graphics.

Photos in the prompt for co-design workshop were based on the NOAA maps depicting hurricane Ian.

Key Insights


"can we add a question to quiz them on what they’ve just read?...that would be a good form of reinforcement.” 

TVIs imagined reusing one tactile overlay with different audio-label configurations as a good reinforcement for students. We encourage designers of audio-tactile access technologies design means to support reusing overlays with different audio label configurations.

"the starting announcement would be just to familiarize the reader ... in the way that they can relate that to what they already know"

Authors of audio-tactile graphics should consider ways in which the audio labels can complement tactile information such that it promotes easy interpretation, supports study and quiz version of the same graphic and similar classroom tasks.

“the conversation in class could change… they could be talking about different details on the spot”.

Participants saw audio-tactiles as an opportunity to involve classroom teachers in the design of graphics to produce graphics that complement classroom teaching strategy.