HCD methodologies and simulation for visual rehabilitator’s education in oMERO project

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Isabella NevosoNiccolò CasidduAnnapaola VacantiClaudia PorfirioneIsabel LeggieroFrancesco Burlando

Abstract: The work presented originates in the context of designing for individuals with visual impairment, in the specific target refers to children from two to seven years of age. The study was conducted with the contribution of the UniGe DAD (Department of Archite- cture and Design) research group as part of the oMERO project, an Erasmus+ project funded by the European Community (2020–2023), with the aim of creating a curricu- lum for training the profession of visual rehabilitator for children. The article illustrates a case study carried out using the simulation technique at the University of Genoa’s Center for Simulation and Advanced Training. The approach intended to be applied to this course is innovative, involving the immersive and experiential participation of students and the adoption of the most advanced training technologies in the field of simulation. Expert designers, physicians, ophthalmologists, psychologists and visual rehabilitators were involved to proceed with the implementation of the experiment, resulting in a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary study. The ultimate goal is to pro- vide students with standardized criteria for assessing and appropriately intervening in the living spaces of the child with visual impairment. The preliminary phase involved the simulation of a home environment, specifically the setup of a child’s bedroom. The SimAv setup is based on a film set. Equipped with the most advanced techno- logy, it allows the recording and creation of digital content and the configuration of environments, such as the arrangement and number of furnishings and the variation of ambient brightness, fundamental elements to ensure the autonomy of simple and basic actions, provided in the educational modules. Specifically, the bedroom was set up with standard elements, recreating a real context. The front door and a win- dow were also simulated in the room. The placement of the various elements in the room was designed according to the needs of visually impaired and blind children, and the experimentation was divided into two moments characterized by two set- ups. The first set-up involved dazzling lighting and the selection of objects that were difficult to distinguish, then the environment was modified through the use of contra- sting elements, visual markers, and appropriate lighting through dimmable lights. The experiment was carried out by students from different European countries who parti- cipated in the two courses wearing glasses to simulate visual impairment. In addition, students were asked to complete certain tasks during the experiment. At the end of each route, the participants filled out an accessibility evaluation form through which they defined the level of difficulty of the tasks and made suggestions to improve the existing layout in terms of placement or choice of furniture, materials, lighting, color contrasts, pathways and tactility. Through this experimentation, the data collected allowed the research team to understand the possible modifications to be made to the environment and to identify the elements that could make the experiment reproducible in different home settings in order to define a protocol for adapting the spaces to the needs of the target audience.

Keywords: Inclusive Design, Visual Rehabilitation, Autonomy, Multidisciplinary Approach, Simulation

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1002923

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