A new kind of business card: Information accessibilty #

February 20 2011

Usually business cards by creatives communicate their message or content visually, and are praised for that. In fact they are very appealing and make most people say “Wow!”.

The problem remains for those who can’t! In the web we are constantly thinking about improving accessibility and experience for our web applications. How do we make this app accessible for the visually impaired?

That’s why on the web there is WAI-ARIA and Section 508, though very few implement them (this is why also we at pmworks Research are working on Kudite and AEI).

So here is my prototype business card. As we can see, I’ve adapted the Zoom-UI principles to present the data (sort of typographic hierarchy in print): the main and most important data are bold and big, clearly legible; as we zoom or look a bit more in depth, you can see my age, my experiences, a more detailed expertise (the order I acquired them Entrp->IxD->HCI), and a list of my companies or projects.

Zoom in #1

Step 1: Braille as an alternative

We now have a very informative business card, but what about accessibility to that information? This is why we need an alternative way at communicating our message.

I decided to use the Braille system as an aid to the visual presentation (just search, there should be at least one English to Braille converter). The red dots you see, is the embossed braille code.

The meaning of them is:

  1. Pasion Mura
  2. Telephone number with international prefix
  3. white space to separate paragraphs (Contact details and Expertise)
  4. Entrepreneur
  5. IxD/UX Designer
  6. HCI Research

Step 2: qrcode

On the back there is a qrcode encoding in VCARD all the data presented visually in the printed card. I plan to emboss in braille on the back, “Scan qrcode”, or emboss the qrcode bits (this is not recommended since the embossed black ink, can fade with time, corrupting the code).

I’m finishing the post by inviting designers and engineers to include usability in their think process, for whichever device or media they design for.

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