Accessible Design – ZoomCase

In Spring 2017 I learned about accessible design and how to design for those with disabilities. As a group project for the class we had to pick a disability to design for and come up with a technology to improve the lives of those types of users. My group chose to tackle the problem of touch screen mobile phone use for low vision users

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For this project we took a co-design approach, meeting every two weeks with our design participant. Our design sessions started off by learning about our participants experience living with low vision while trying to use a touch screen phone and later evolved into getting his design ideas and feedback on designs our team came up with. Based on talking with our participant and observing him using his touch screen phone we came up with the idea for the ZoomCase. This design is a fold back style phone case with an array of buttons mapped to the layout of apps on the users phone. We found that our participant had memorized the lay out of his apps but couldn’t always accurately tap to open them. By having a tactile method to open apps we increased our participants accuracy when selecting apps. The buttons also could function as a way to zoom in on certain parts of the screen. By double pressing a button, a section of the screen in that area would become enlarged and a double press again would return the screen to normal. This helped our participant when he needed to identify an app or learn where a newly installed app was. We prototyped this project using an Arduino, 3D printed parts, as well as an app we created to allow for the inputs from the buttons and Arduino to control what was displayed on the Android phone.

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