He was only 11 years old when the French Louis Braille took a code from the military and transformed it into a readable text for the blind and visually impaired. The code was originally intended to be readable in the dark for military personnel (accessibility.nl, 2017). Braille was called the ‘necessary “for true social equality”’ by Fredric Schroeder, the first vice president of the National Federation of the Blind. Truly, braille has helped so many VIPs in their daily life, from phones with braille to currencies; braille is everywhere (Sayej, 2016). However there are more developments for the VIPs in history.
That history starts in the old texts: Homer, the Greek poet, is said to have been blind. In any case he included a blind character in the Odyssey poem: Demodocus. During the age of enlightenment philosophers argued whether the blind would be less or more likely to believe in God. Now, with the design world becoming a more inclusive place and all kinds of initiatives focusing on new target groups there are more and more devices, programs and inventions out there.
In architecture there are people working on this ‘universal design’, Chris Downey set up ‘Architecture for the Blind’. In 2008 his world changed; he suddenly went blind and now uses this experience to talk about designing for the visually impaired. He even did a TED talk about this subject (Downey, 2015). The app store has a good number of applications specifically for the visually impaired and there are new products coming out every year. For example there is a watch that allows the user to feel the time named, accurately, the ‘Feel the Time’ watch by designer Anna Bieniek (yankodesign.com) or the enchroma lenses that help the colorblind see colors (enchroma.com).
It is obvious that there are more and more designers in all kinds of fields that want to include VIPs when designing, luckily so.