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By : Halime Demirkan

The aim of the study is to determine and prioritise the characteristics of the built environment that increase the effectiveness of the walking surfaces for blind and vision-impaired people. Tactile walking surface indicators are installed on the floor of indoor and outdoor built environments for guiding blind or vision-impaired people. These people perceive the walking surface by a long white cane, through the soles of their shoes or impaired vision. Based on the relevant research and published standards there is a consensus on the characteristics of tactile working surfaces in terms of design specifications, visual contrast, material and installation requirements. In order to have the right decision while using the related knowledge, the designer of a built environment should identify and prioritise the characteristics of the users. The findings of factorial analysis showed that the individual characteristics such as shoe width, stature, gender, and frequency of leaving residence and experience alone, or with help, determine the effectiveness of tactile surface indicators as the primary factor. The second important factor that can be named as perceptual characteristics of the individual is composed of long white cane usage, time of sight loss and visual efficiency type. It is found that ease of walking on tactile surfaces as ease of change in direction, ease of stay on proper course of walking and transition from truncated domes to bars are third in priority as long as they comply with the standards.
Keywords: Tactile Walking Surface Indicators, Design For All, Blind, Vision –Impaired People.

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