Enjoy your weekend with the Inner Vision Orchestra!

21 October 2016

Suffering from poor eyesight or design? Some thoughts on web accessibility.

"Typography may not seem like a crucial design element, but it is. One of the reasons the web has become the default way that we access information is that it makes that information broadly available to everyone. (...)

But if the web is relayed through text that’s difficult to read, it curtails that open access by excluding large swaths of people, such as the elderly, the visually impaired, or those retrieving websites through low-quality screens. (...)

It wasn’t hard to isolate the biggest obstacle to legible text: contrast, the difference between the foreground and background colors on a page. In 2008, the Web Accessibility Initiative, a group that works to produce guidelines for web developers, introduced a widely accepted ratio for creating easy-to-read webpages.
To translate contrast, it uses a numerical model. If the text and background of a website are the same color, the ratio is 1:1. For black text on white background (or vice versa), the ratio is 21:1. The Initiative set 4.5:1 as the minimum ratio for clear type, while recommending a contrast of at least 7:1, to aid readers with impaired vision. The recommendation was designed as a suggested minimum contrast to designate the boundaries of legibility. Still, designers tend to treat it as as a starting point.
For example: Apple’s typography guidelines suggest that developers aim for a 7:1 contrast ratio. But what ratio, you might ask, is the text used to state the guideline? It’s 5.5:
Google’s guidelines suggest an identical preferred ratio of 7:1. But then they recommend 54 percent opacity for display and caption type, a style guideline that translates to a ratio of 4.6:1. (...)

So why are designers resorting to lighter and lighter text? (...)"

via/more Kevin Marks (Backchannel)

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Image via Pexels

"What you can hear, I can feel." The Sound Shirt.

Deaf people do not necessarily have to live in a world without music. The "Sound Shirt", a project of the Young Symphonic Orchestra of Hamburg, translates music, i.e. vibrations and aims to enable a deaf audience to experience a concert. A software converts sound into data and sends it to the Sound Shirt, vibration motors pulsate in line with the intensity of the music played. The Sound Shirt - because music should be for everyone.

A watch designed for blind people

"We started out thinking about what kind of watch would work for blind users and we struck upon this idea of using ball bearings rotating around a track to indicate the minutes and the hours on the dial."
David Zacher
"Designer Hyungsoo Kim was in a lecture hall at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in September 2011 when a neighbouring student asked him the time. "My classmate is visually impaired, and had been for 10 years," explains Kim. The student had a watch that could tell the time, but only by pressing a button that would make it speak out loud. Doing so in a classroom could be disruptive, so instead, says Kim, "I was his wristwatch."
"Manufacturers of accessible goods for blind people have discovered that producing something functional isn't enough - blind people always ask what it looks like, even though they can't see. In some ways, this suggests that it matters more if you're trying to control what people might think of you."
Damon Rose
"The watch is named after Bradley Snyder, an ex-naval officer who lost his eyesight in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2011 and who went on to win gold and silver medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games."

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Image via Slice of MIT

Marginalisation of (skateboarding) youth in public space

Berlin's Museums: A Means of Integration for Refugees

"Museums in Berlin are helping to welcome refugees to the city and its culture with the programme Multaka—from the Arabic word for forum or meeting place—in which trained refugees from Syria and Iraq give free guided museum tours in Arabic to other displaced groups. The programme, started by the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (Berlin State Museums), offers visits twice a week in four museums: the Museum of Islamic Art and the Museum of the Ancient Near East, two separate museums housed together in the Pergamon Museum; the Byzantine Art Museum in the Bode Museum; and the German Historical Museum (which is not part of the State Museums). (...)
At the launch of the programme, 19 guides from Iraq and Syria were recruited by word of mouth among the migrant community in Berlin, and were given a four-day training session. There are now a total of 25 guides, who come from a variety of professional backgrounds, some related to the arts and heritage, others to disciplines like law and economics."
(The Art Newspaper)

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Photograph via Zwischen den Welten

Texas African American History Memorial

"The Texas African American History Memorial Foundation is created to raise funds for the construction and dedication of a monument honoring African American Texans and their contributions to our great state."(Texas African American History Memorial Foundation)
“We have walked these ground for years and talked about the lack of representation in terms of the monuments as it relates to the African American experience. We know in the beginning of the beginning that African Americans, even when they were in chains, helped to build this building.” Helen Giddings
"Denver-based sculptor Ed Dwight proposed the Texas African-American History Memorial to celebrate more than 400 years of achievements by black Texans. The sculpture, which will be 27 feet high and be 32 feet long when completed, stands near the Capitol’s main entrance. (...)
One side of the monument, which will be completely installed by mid-October, depicts 48 slaves and marks the moment that slaves were emancipated in Texas. The other points to the state’s abundant cattle, cotton and oil resources and the contributions black Texans made to those industries. Plaques and other features still need to be added to the monument.
Here's what the monument at the Texas Capitol will look like when it's completed. This model was on display at the Texas Capitol's agriculture museum. BOB DAEMMRICH A public dedication and unveiling of the monument will occur this fall after its completion, according to a spokesman for the State Preservation Board." (The Texas Tribune)

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Photograph via Ed Dwight

Planning Inclusive Cities

"Annette Kim of the University of South California gives a seminar as part of the World Resources Report on Cities Research Seminar Series. Even in centrally planned cities, informal markets reveal the housing demand preferences not being served by either public policy or formal markets. Dr. Kim distills lessons for a more inclusive planning paradigm from her research of rural to urban land use conversions in Ho Chi Minh City, Beijing's subterranean housing marketing, and Shanghai's overcrowded housing units market."