Unveiling the Unseen
BlindWiki is a community-based smartphone project that invites citizens who are blind or partially sighted to share their own experience on the difficulties and facilities they find in their day-to-day lives.
Beyond Barriers: Telling Stories of People and Place
As a sensorial and locative map of the unseen BlindWiki holds not only information on barriers and accommodations, but also a repository for storytelling posts. Designed to build a more nuanced location-specific overview of the cityscape -as experienced by people with vision loss who interact with it on a regular basis- BlindWiki fosters experiences and opinions in order to produce a collaborative and creative cartography.
BlindWiki App: Building on Mobile Phone Technology
The application for smartphones allows participants to record site-specific audio and to immediately publish it to the BlindWiki platform. Visually impaired and sighted participants have the opportunity to walk through their city with smartphones, receiving data that participants have previously tagged. BlindWiki app triggers geo-located audio descriptions and stories, tagged obstacles or chronicles. The app not only allows participants to share their findings, but it also raises social awareness on the daily routine and diverse perception of the visually impaired.
Beyond Telematics: Gatherings and Presential Workshops
BlindWiki is dynamized in weekly meetings and workshops. The face-to-face interaction of these gatherings allows the creation of permanent personal bonds between participants, that are complementary of the online day-to-day interactions. Participants are encouraged to go together for sound recording expeditions where they map the neighborhoods of their choice.
Replicability and Network Dissemination
The experience acquired by the group in the initial workshop is the starting point from which BlindWiki expands through the city. Once the first participants are familiar with the app and the methodology, they can expand the network through their friends and associations, thus transferring their knowhow. In this way, each local project expands in space and time, potentially becoming a permanent node of an international network.
Towards an International Network
The BlindWiki website is organized as a citizen network allowing participants to map and comment on accessibility in the cities where they live. The site also enables participants to organize as activists and to lobby for increased and improved way-finding facilities. The BlindWiki project aims to become an international network where people with visual impairments have the opportunity to share, analyze, discuss and compare the accessibility situation of their home towns.