Touch and Go

I was recently asked for some advice on how to create inclusive 3d models. Drawing on personal experience of handling model buildings, villages, townscapes and other sites, (that goes back many decades!) plus tips provided by local visually impaired people, I produced the following: –

To be inclusive, models must be useable by people with widely differing ages and abilities (physical, sensory and intellectual).

Before you start, be clear about your aims and objectives/outcomes for the model. That is to say, ask yourself why you want to create it and what visitors will be able to do with it.

Then, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will the model be located inside or outside?
  • What material/materials should you use?
  • How will visitors make sense of it?

Inclusive models must:

  • Look good
  • Be well lit
  • Be strong enough for people to touch
  • Be small enough for people to be able to reach all of it (though they may have to move round it)
  • Be placed at a suitable height for children and people who are seated.
  • Show the contours and key features of the site
  • Use different textures for buildings, roads/paths, grass,  trees and hedges, rivers/lakes/ponds, etc

Suggested textures:

  • Roads/paths – a smooth surface
  • Grass – a rough surface like rough sand paper
  • Hedges – raised lines with a rough texture
  • Rivers/lakes/ponds – a wavy surface

Model trees, lamp posts and other structures can also be used.

All features must be firmly fixed to the base.

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