Providing Tactile Tours to Increase Usability of Tactile Graphics


Presented at 2:00pm in Lakehouse on Thursday, November 21, 2019.



  • Brian Richwine, Senior Accessibility Strategist - Learning Technologies, Indiana University Bloomington
  • Mary Stores, Principal Accessibility Consultant, Indiana University Bloomington

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: General Conference


Presenters will introduce a special kind of figure description that we call a "tactile tour" for use in alternate media when tactile graphics are being used. The Tactile Tour description format increases the speed and confidence in which a tactile tour can be consumed by students with blindness by preconditioning and guiding perception.


Attendees will be provided various simple to complex tactile graphics encased in opaque envelopes so they will be forced to explore and perceive the tactile graphics by touch without the aid of their vision. The presenters will then introduce a special kind of figure description we call a "Tactile Tour" that is intended to speed a student's perception of a tactile graphic and increase the confidence in which a student with blindness can obtain the intended information from a tactile graphic. Several examples of tactile tours and the corresponding tactile graphics will be presented along with a discussion of a tactile tour's features and guidelines for their development.


  1. Direct experience in the challenge of consuming a tactile graphics without vision
  2. How a tactile tour provided via text along with a tactile graphic increases the graphic's usability
  3. Features of and development guidelines for creating tactile tours

Disability Areas


Topic Areas

Accessible Educational Materials, Alternate Format, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Brian Richwine

Brian has a BSEE from GMI Engineering & Management Institute (now Kettering University). He has worked with assistive technology, alternate media, and web/IT accessibility at while supporting the accessible use of learning technologies (LT) at Indiana University for 22 years.

Mary Stores

Mary Stores has worked at the Assistive Technology and Accessibility Center for almost 19 years. She is currently a Principal Accessibility consultant. She helps coordinate the braille transcription and alternate media production at the center.

Mary enjoys living in this time of technology advances. 20 years ago, she never would have thought that people who are blind could take pictures. However, thanks to the smart phone and a book from the National Braille Press, she was able to learn how to successfully take pictures of quite a few things to share with her friends.


Providing Tactile Tours to Increase Usability of Tactile Graphics - Accessible eText Version - Answers Embargoed