Translating Visual Information into Tactile Information

Handouts Media

Presented at 9:15am in Meadowbrook I/II on Thursday, November 17, 2016.



  • Nicole Johnson, Lead Alternative Media Technician, Central Washington University
  • Vernée Hemphill, Cetnral Access Program Coordinator, Central Washington University

Session Details

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


This presentation will focus on the methods used for processing visual images in alternative media.


The main focus of this presentation will be looking in depth at tactile graphics and give insight into processing them. We will look at the process of translating a visual graphic into a tactile graphic using a library of textures and line weights. For every textbook processed at Central Access, we gain valuable insight and experience on a range of material. By working directly with blind students, our processes are constantly evolving in order to provide the best product. We will look at examples of changes made in technical details that provide better tactual distinguishability. We will also look at examples of extreme cases (anatomy diagrams, astronomy images, campus maps) and problem-solving strategies for how to handle them.


  1. How to handle images when producing alternative media
  2. Conveying the relevant information when making tactile graphics
  3. Methods and tips for producing tactile graphics

Disability Areas


Topic Areas

Alternate Format, Assistive Technology

Speaker Bio(s)

Nicole Johnson

Tactile graphic technician at Central Access pursuing long-term academic research focused on developing resources and refining standards for tactile learning materials.

Vernée Hemphill

Vernée Hemphill is a Program Coordinator for Central Access at Central Washington University and oversees the fee-for-service alternative media production lab. As a student Vernée began working as an alternative media technician with a focus on STEM and braille content. This introduction to accessible media led to a growing passion to improve the quality and availability of alternative media. At present she works with students to produce and improve alternative media for both students at CWU and across the country.