The building blocks of accessibility

04 February 2019

Introducing new technologies to our clients who are blind or have low vision can sometimes be a bit challenging. Some new devices don’t immediately lend themselves to being very accessible until months after release.

Tony Williams, one of our Access Technology Specialists, has come up with a simple and efficient way to introduce the iPad to some of our clients.

He has made a replica of the 9.7-inch iPad entirely out of LEGO!

Picture shows: Tony holding his LEGO iPad model.

Using square LEGO pieces as a representative for the icons on screen, and rounded pieces for the Home button and camera, as well as a representation of the dock, Tony has found that the idea has been a quick success with his clients in helping them conceptualise a device that is largely a smooth, flat screen.

In his own words, Tony elaborates on how the idea came into his head:

“I observed that the clients are performing the VoiceOver gestures using the iPhone/iPad but had an impression they don’t fully have a mental picture of the layout of the device. So I thought that if they can start by using a tactile model to have an appreciation of the layout and different elements of the home screen, before they start using the gestures, it may be a bit easier for them.

"So I created that model which it is really simple but covered the different sections of the home screen. I started to get my clients to identify each screen section by name and location and how to get in and out of it. And it worked!”

First and foremost, Tony’s model is designed to get clients comfortable with the device. Once they reach that point, he has found that their capability with the device increases exponentially.

“I believe clients can achieve a lot with these devices if they start by being confident in navigating the device without having a feeling of being inadequate. It is like having a fancy car that has lots of bells and whistles, but being in a foreign city without a street directory.”

Interested how Tony and the rest of Vision Australia's assistive technology team can help you? Find out all you need to know here.