April 2012 Subcontracts Update
We are close to finalizing the fourth DIAGRAM Center subcontract. We will engage ViewPlus to conduct year-long study of audio-tactile graphics (i.e., text-tactile graphics) usability and to develop authoring guidelines for the creation of quality audio-tactile graphics via digital files.
A fifth subcontract is also in the works, also in the tactile graphics area. The work being done via the tactile graphics subcontracts represents an important step in the evolution of the DIAGRAM Center’s work. Although DIAGRAM’s efforts have initially focused on enabling text descriptions of images – in large part because text is highly portable, exchangeable, accessible, discoverable, and transformable – we have also recognized from the beginning that it is important for us to address additional sensory input mechanisms as part of the continuum of ways people access content. For instance, the DIAGRAM Content Model provides a mechanism for referencing tactiles along with image description. The work of these subcontracts bridges text and tactiles: Touch Graphics (with Smith-Kettlewell and Lucia Hasty) will help us understand better when tactile graphics are appropriate in addition to text; ViewPlus will help us provide guidelines for better audio-tactiles (i.e., text-tactiles); National Braille Press’ study will help us see into the future of 3D printing and emerging other tactile technologies. We look forward to the results of these projects in the coming year.