As a blind person won't be able to discern two points as separate
entities if they're closer together than 2.5mm, this 2.5mm is about the
minimum distance between different items in relief drawings.
THE FINGERTIP WINDOW
Also important to keep in mind is the concept of the fingertip 'window',
about the size of a Braille cell. Cut a hole about this size in a piece
of paper, move that over a drawing to
get an idea of a blind
Also, if for instance you have to show that a line is interrupted, the
break shouldn't exceed this window.
Keep your drawings clean, free of stains: the blind reader won't
recognize smudges for what they are, but will think they're part of the
Strive for excellence in draughting: either make a good drawing or none
at all: no halfway house. Understanding graphics will never be easy to
the blind, and an unintelligible drawing will put our readers off and is
going to amplify the notions about the usefulness of our work. If you are
not sure whether a particular drawing makes sense, consult a blind
reader, and when still in doubt abort or try a radically different
Ideally one should ask oneself at each figure what its meaning is and how
best to represent that to our readers. Of course in many uncomplicated
drawings that won't be necessary, but one should be wary of unexpected
unclarities and have possible elucidation in mind all the time. One
should never unthinkingly copy inkprint, but look for the best way to
render the subject to our readers: put things in or leave them out,
change, separate, comment, go for a partial or complete description.
Consequently the drawings I find hardest to re-create are in the fields
that I do not understand the method of, like psychology or economics (I
was raised in physical sciences): as I do not understand clearly what
their schemes mean I do not know what's important and what isn't, so I
don't know which things are to be displayed prominently and which
elements might be left out, and I cannot really describe these drawings
So otherwise one has to be careful about editing drawings from subjects
one is not familiar with.
Only a few drawings need no magnifying. Sometimes, when recognition of a
specific form is asked for, a small figure will do better; but in general
draw your graphics as big as possible. If text and key might take up
space needed for your graphics, don't hesitate to transfer them to a
Not only should your drawing be large, but also have its elements
contrast as much as possible, thin lines and fat lines, no hatchings that
look about the same.
I think drawings that have a bold, solid look are best.
Some drawings contain small real-life parts, unrecognizable to a blind
reader: simplify these figures and explain them in key or with an
- Formalize, Reduce to Essentials
- Example #1
- Example #2
- Example #3
- Example #4
- Example #5
Graphics being hard for the blind anyway we had best ease the burden by
striving for uniformity. If our readers are able to recognize quickly the
kind of drawing and its usual items, they only have to touch these
lightly, saving time to focus on the particular elements.
The sighted take in pictures at a glance, but to the blind reader it is
always a matter of minutes, a series of maps might take some ten to
fifteen minutes; so the draughtsperson should ask himself if this amount
of time taken is justified in view of the kind of information provided in
these graphics. Imagine a blind student poring over some maps for twenty
minutes to answer a petty question in an examination.
go to first page, previous
page or next page
© 1989, 2002 Marco Schuffelen All rights reserved
Questions? Comments? email
Last modified: Thu Oct 1 10:27:02 PDT 1998