Development of Tactile Garment Design Strategies for Women with Visual Impairments
The purpose of this exploratory study was to understand the clothing needs and choices of women with visual impairments (VI) to understand their apparel preferences. Rosenblad-Wallin’s user-oriented framework (1985) and sensory compensation belief were applied to guide this study. The researchers collected qualitative data through focus groups interviews with eight women with VI. The data analysis included functional and symbolic values concerns. Functional value themes arose including mobility, tactility, donning and dofﬁng, utility, and recognition. The symbolic values themes that surfaced were social assimilation, a strong theme that indicated the need for clothing to conform to current social standards of dress and tactile sense, a theme that illustrated how fabric hand evoked aesthetic sensations in users. Based on these ﬁndings, the ﬁrst three authors each developed a garment that focused on speciﬁc themes resulting from the data and the participants evaluated the garments.