Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Tom Yeh

Second Advisor

Calyton Lewis

Third Advisor

Ting Siu

Fourth Advisor

Bridget Dalton

Fifth Advisor

Ben Shapiro


The aim of this dissertation is to bring to light factors that affect how people who are blind or visually impaired (BVI) access, consume, design and produce with different types of tactile media for themselves or for others who are also BVI. Toward the goal of creating equity within the media and information landscape and beyond, this dissertation presents three interventionist studies to 1) identify the considerations and/or practices that people who are BVI engage in when consuming tactile media, producing (making, creating, designing) tactile media, and teaching with tactile media, and 2) identify design strategies that can be implemented to address the factors that limit BVI people’s tactile media consumption, creation, and instruction practices. Study 1 presents a user-centered design process that resulted in the creation of a 3D printed design probe, which solicited feedback from 28 parents, teachers, and other stakeholders about their familiarity with tactile pictures generally, and the prospect of 3D printing as a tactile media production technology. Study 2 presents a design ethnography focused on identifying how different stakeholder groups approach the task of designing tactile media; 67 community stakeholders representing six different stakeholder groups participated. Study 3 presents a Research Practice Partnership that designed and implemented three “Tactile Art and Graphics Symposia,” during which 41 BVI and 43 sighted individuals gathered to discuss the state of inclusion in tactile art and tactile graphics consumption and production. Findings from this study revealed five problems of practice impacting how people are positioned to engage in the consumption, production, and instruction of tactile media. This dissertation contributes important insights about the lived experiences and practices of people, BVI and sighted, who are using, creating, and instructing with tactile media for themselves and others.