Despite the promise of the maker movement as empowering individuals and democratizing design, people with disabilities still face many barriers to participation. Recent work has highlighted the inaccessible nature of making and introduced more accessible maker technologies, practices, and workspaces. One less explored area of accessible making involves supporting more traditional forms of craftwork, such as weaving and fiber arts. The present study reports an analysis of existing practices at a weaving studio within a residential community for people with vision impairments and explores the creation of an audio-enhanced loom to support this practice. Our iterative design process began with 60 hours of field observations at the weaving studio, complemented by 15 interviews with residents and instructors at the community. These insights informed the design of Melodie, an interactive floor loom that senses and provides audio feedback during weaving. Our design exploration of Melodie revealed four scenarios of use among this community: promoting learning among novice weavers, raising awareness of system state, enhancing the aesthetics of weaving, and supporting artistic performance. We identify recommendations for designing audio-enhanced technologies that promote accessible crafting and reflect on the role of technology in predominantly manual craftwork.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Human-Computer Interaction
- Computer Science Applications