4 The blind-friendly space as universal space
The article is based on my 40 years’ experience of work as a typhlopedagogist. For several decades, I have been dealing with adapting space – once only the physical, and for a few years now, due to the increasing technological possibilities, also the virtual one – for persons with sight disfunctions, the blind as well as the visually challenged. I present the concept of objectives for optimal adaptation of the virtual world and the physical space alike. I have collected most of the possible actions to be taken. Although it would be ideal to implement them as a whole, it is not always possible for many reasons. I would like to present the possibilities to choose from by those who have influence on them, but also to ignite a discussion about planning of a particular space. The discussion is foremost to involve people who will be the direct users of this space – that is, persons with sight disfunctions. What I consider as space are the public utility objects (such as offices, schools), objects of culture (museums, exhibitions), all kinds of means of communication, but also – parks, cities, gardens, touristic routes etc. Moreover, I consider space to be (in contrast to the previously mentioned “large” space) also the “small” space – the immediate surroundings of the blind person: books, technical equipment etc.
Keywords: universal design, blind-friendly space, Internet for the blind and the visually-challenged, typhlographics, relief graphics