Enhanced Multi-Sensory Maps

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Case study objective

The purpose of this project is to enhance or modify visual monolithic map/way-finding for tactile, auditory, and/or other sensory interactions. The objective is to make an accommodation for the greatest number of mismatched interactions as possible. One of the main points is to address the lack of accommodation for those who are visually impaired as they are unable to use maps and way-finding that are visual-based. 


App & kiosk interface samples


Checkpoint is a multi-sensory map kiosk enhancement and checkpoint navigation app. It assists how people, especially visually impaired people. The solution helps visually impaired people by enhancing map directories and wayfinding signs with sound, haptic feedback, textured surfaces, and tactile pavement. 


User flow and first interface iteration layout


How it works

Permanently Blind person navigating alone with a walking cane/service dog

  1. User setup their wearable device beforehand, selecting a sound from the sound database of the device that they would be accustomed to and can easily recognize for navigation.

  2. At the entrance of these public space, users and their destination on a Map board by reading through braille or click the sound button to have its name spelled, and register the location's ID to the wearable device by scanning the NFC chip that can be felt through texture.

  3. As user embark on their path and reach within the proximity of a "hotspot" (directions board), the wearable device will exchange a signal with the board and confirm whether user is on the right path to their destination or not by haptic feedback.

  4. If user needs guidance on the direction, they can use the wearable device to signal the hotspot's speaker to play a sound. As the sound guide them to the post, they will walk on a texturized surface that will guide them directly to the post. User can use braille/sound to feel the direction of their destination.

  5. If user is at one of the hotspots and decided to change their destination, they can register for a new location by scanning it with their wearable device.

  6. When user reaches their destination, the wearable device will provide them with haptic feedback


Trail’s hotspot direction board


Direction boards are often placed at crossroads where there are multiple directions to navigate. These boards serve as hotspots that will help user know whether they are on the right track to their destination. To make them more accessible for visually impaired people, these direction boards have a speaker, the direction sign is supported in braille and a texturized surface on the ground that leads to the post.


User interface samples



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The project developed through iterative research, design and user testing, as well as feedback from peers and wayfinding experts. The interactive map kiosks and app addresses the accessibility needs of people with impairments, and improves all users' wayfinding experience. Checkpoint applies the 7 Universal Design Principles, focusing on “Flexibility in Use” to serve the broadest range of human diversity, regardless of age or ability, and preserving the dignity of people with accessibility needs by offering users choice in methods of use.





“Michael’s unceasing positive force has amazed me since day one. I have been working with Michael for the past four years at Sheridan College, collaborating through the pursuit of Sheridan’s Certificate of Creativity and Creative Problem Solving, in addition to the 2019 Design Exchange Boundless submission. Michael has never failed to amaze me, committing himself fully to the production process during a project, while maintaining committed to both the target audience and project goals. He frequently uses his expert knowledge in creative problem solving to facilitate the generation of novel and unique ideas, suited for any project. As accessibility officer on the 2019 Design Exchange submission, Michael took persona avocation to the next level, ensuring that project proposals met all original goals while being accessible to the greatest number of people. Michael is a unique asset to any team seeking facilitation of ideas, rapid prototyping, and a never-ending positive attitude, and comes with my heartfelt recommendation.”

Katlin Walsh, Project Coordinate