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Intuitive Tactile Alphabets

'ELIA Frames' are Faster to Read and More Intuitive Than Braille

— April 25, 2018 — Social Good
ELIA Frames is a new typeface currently looking for funding on Kickstarter. Like Helvetica, it's hoping to become a near-universal standard in legibility, though at first glance it looks far more like Wingdings. That's because the font isn't meant to be looked at — it's meant to be felt. ELIA Frames claims to be a faster and more intuitive alternative to braille, and it hopes to replace that historic tactile typeface to improve accessibility for people with vision impairments.

There's no question that the invention of braille was instrumental in creating a more accessible world for people with vision impairments. But since its invention in 1905, braille has remained essentially unchanged. Because of the technical limitations that the typeface was subjected to at the time, including limited tools for creating the raised dots in a scalable fashion, braille has proven very difficult to read (though stilll an improvement over nothing at all).

ELIA Frames makes use of modern technology to engender a more intuitive system that vastly improves upon tactile typefaces. It translates the Roman alphabet, just like braille does, but while braille takes 10 months to learn and upwards of a decade to reach 23 words per minute, ELIA Frames can be learned in just three hours and read at speeds of 25 words per minute in as little as a few weeks.
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