In creating graphics for the blind one has to take into account that the fingers' discerning ability is so much less than the eyes', that in most cases magnification will be necessary; and of course text in and around the drawings will have to be put into braille; but I think most graphic material will need more editing to make sense to the blind reader.
One might argue that editing is wrong, that the blind ought to be taught reading graphics that are basically the same as in inkprint; maybe there's a point in this, it's paternalistic, but I'm afraid extensive editing is often the only way of rendering a figure meaningful to the vision impaired.
Some of the other editing is a choice, because I think it's best to do a drawing this way.

For instance, while the seeing person will generally have an overview of a picture at first glance, the blind reader has to go through most of the details in a picture to understand what it's all about: so adding a good title to a drawing is absolutely essential, as a surrogate for this overview-at-first-glance.

Point out King Darius' heartland
As another example, look at this historical map. There are no names, but the sighted reader will most likely recognize the area, and that will bring to mind other maps and data of the area that he or she has seen in the past; but to the blind reader it's most likely just a blur with some lines and dots.
I think we have to provide the information that's not obvious to the blind, but that's taken for granted by the mapmakers for the sighted.
So I have added a map 'Present-day Countries' in the same outlines, and I have identified some of the surrounding areas in the original map.

    orientation map: Present-day Countries (ca 80K)
    the historical map (ca 90K)

I thank my former and present department heads, Mr Leon Knierum and Mr Herman Philipsen, and my former and present immediate superiors, Mrs Nieuwpoort, Mr Van den Assem and Ms Hélène Vos, for putting and keeping me in this position and allowing me time to think and write about the development of the field; and I thank the members of my staff, especially Marlon Macville, Walter Smekens and Leen Verkijk for their examples and instructive mistakes.

One of the ideas on maps I got from from Colin McEvedy's beautiful historical atlases (Penguin); some inkprint graphs etc. were taken from The Economist.

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© 1989, 2002 Marco Schuffelen All rights reserved

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Last modified: Thu May 15 10:25:17 PDT 1989