Experiencing a short gist of moment on how a visually impaired person life would be, is an impactful and unforgettable experience. At first, there are hesitation and anxiousness due to the completely unfamiliar surrounding. However, there is a comfort knowing that my peers and the guide ,Elaine, were there to ease the journey.
Throughout the whole experience, I found myself to rely on my other 4 senses, especially the sense of touch and hearing. Sense of touch – to guide through the rooms by touching walls, railings, bench as well as the guiding stick which acts as a navigational tool for us. Sense of hearing – to listen carefully in order to know the surrounding’s environment, whether it is dangerous or to enjoy the place as it is.
Dining in the dark was one of the activity that further raise my awareness on how a visually impaired person is challenged by the daily obstacles in life, such as ordering food and paying the right amount. It never occurred to me on how a visually impaired person’s life would be, but to some extent, this dining experience makes me understand them better. Most importantly, I learnt to appreciate the little things in life that we take for granted – as we are able to see, hear, touch, smell and taste – which helps us to overcome the simple tasks that may seem easy to us but not for them.
Elaine also explained that there are existing creative applications that helps the visually impaired people to identify colors and apps that enable other people in other places to guide them through online. From this Dialogue in the Dark exhibition, designers may gained insights and information on how to design a better place for the visually impaired people, by designing useful applications, innovative public environment spaces- such as railings, braille, tactile ground surface indicators in transportation spaces etc, creative posters that makes use of different embossing techniques and many others.
As we designers immersed ourselves through this embodied experience of role-playing, we can discover other ways/methods to invent innovative things and sparks ideas to contribute to the development of design solution, not specifically for the visually impaired people, but for others who faced difficulties in overcoming simple tasks in life. Such as hearing disability, those with malfunction vocal chords, disorder in nervous system i.e. Parkinson disease and other disabilities.