Blind tennis: extreme users and participatory design

Matt Ratto, Isaac Record, Ginger Coons, Max Julien


We explore questions related to materiality, participation, and inclusive design that arise from a series of events involving the design and prototyping of a tennis ball for use in 'blind tennis.' We observed that the blind user-designers were full participants in the design discussion and testing phases, but were less able to take part in the construction of the prototypes. This prompted us to examine the role material engagement plays in participatory and inclusive forms of design and, as part of our explorations, to create an experimental circuit design workflow that accommodates blind prototypers. We use this experience to probe the role materiality plays in processes of participatory design.

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