Frank Welte, Lighthouse Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, tests the map and provides his input on the tactile design elements.

Frank Welte, Lighthouse Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, tests the map and provides his input on the tactile design elements.

UC Davis Univeral Tactile Map


The UC Davis Universal Tactile Map is a layered wayfinding solution, integrating high contrast graphics, unique tactile patterns, and integrated audio files to allow users of all abilities to navigate the UC Davis Campus.

Working with the UC Davis Center for Student Disabilities and the Center for Design in the Public Interest, I designed a map of the UC Davis campus with a tactile component. Although the map features Braille and raised markings for visually impaired students, staff, and visitors, it also features an audio component and high color contrast. It is a universal map, allowing all people of different background and abilities to interact and use the map.

A key component to the project was the input of a panel of blind and low vision students. We continually prototyped various designs of the tactile component to the map, and tested those designs to ensure the tactility of the map was understandable for those without strong vision. 

The map is integrated with SmartPen technology, allowing low vision students and visitors to use their SmartPen to access audio information including building names and department information.