Cooperative Project - The Hong Kong Society for the Blind

Redesign of Interactive Spaces for the Visually Impaired

The Hong Kong Society for the Blind (HKSB) offers a wide range of services to help maximise the capabilities of the visually impaired, facilitate their equal participation in society and improve their quality of life with the aim of achieving a harmonious and inclusive society. The HKSB engaged students in this project to design interactive spaces for people with multi-disabilities and visual impairment (MDVI), and to renovate the interactive training room and multi-purpose room at the Morning Glory Day Activity Centre cum Hostel in Shek Kip Mei.

The students had to understand the needs of the diverse range of clients for rehabilitation training, learning and entertainment; propose interior design and room renovation concepts with furniture and equipment; and design internal navigation improvements.

The student team first paid a site visit to the activity centre and arranged interviews to gain a better understanding of the use of space, take note of existing equipment, identify staff and users’ needs and generate a holistic user journey map of the space usage. The students made an extra effort to learn how to sensitively interact with and observe people with MDVI before the visit; they also carried out extensive secondary research on supporting products and appropriate colours for the visually impaired, and on designing well-suited spaces and facilities for people with MDVI.

After identifying the problems with the existing space and further analysis of visibility and furniture flexibility, the students reimaged the multi-purpose room with new user scenarios and design objectives to connect the space with nature and natural light, maximise space usage and reorganise storage to better accommodate new and existing activities. The final design of the space was envisaged to facilitate more interaction between users, while the re-layout would provide a wider passage for better accessibility, custom-designed multi-purpose stations and flexible storage options.

The interactive training room was redesigned around a concept of time and space to create a novel experience for all users, encourage exploration, facilitate play and provide interactive training.

The designs of the two spaces were licensed to HKSB in 2021. 

Participating students include —

Environment and Interior Design Year 4 students

CHAN Mei Wah, CHAN Yuen Lam, HO Po Yu and KAM Lai Man

Product Design Year 4 students

CHAN Si Jin, LAM Sze Yu, LAU Tsz Chun, LEE Pak Long, TSE Hong I and ZHAN Wen

Social Design Year 4 students

NG Hok Him and YU Wing Kei

Project Tutor —

Tulio Maximo, Assistant Professor
School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Work-integrated Education in PolyU brings students together with real-world clients both inside and outside the classroom. Students’ fresh ideas, energy and passion lead to exciting opportunities for clients and collaborators. 
The Cooperative Project is undertaken as a compulsory subject in the first semester of students’ final year of study. Collaborators ranging from commercial enterprises to government departments and non-profit organisations work together with tutors to come up with design briefs that meet the needs of their target audiences.