A puzzle for ophthalmology waiting rooms that inclusively offers pleasant interaction with strangers.
Research demonstrates that individuals with visual impairments report higher levels of loneliness than those without. Following the desires of those interviewed and the methods advised in published social science literature, I identified the waiting room in a Pittsburgh ophthalmology clinic as a space with potential to address these issues through a design intervention. CONNECT is meant to be playful, inclusive, and enabling. Rather than forcing interaction on someone in a space they may not be comfortable, it gives them the option. Nina Simon's book, The Participatory Museum, deals with this idea. It suggests that putting an object or task between people initially takes attention off those involved and gives them something in common. Once you provide such a context, it is up to the participants to decide what degree of interaction they want. CONNECT does this without requiring visual ability. The puzzle is designed so its users can rely solely on auditory and tactile cues.
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