Tactile colour pictogram to improve artwork appreciation of people with visual impairments

Jun Dong Cho, Luis Cavazos Quero, Jorge Iranzo Bartolomé, Do Won Lee, Uran Oh, Inae Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


A recent development in tactile technology enables an improvement in the appreciation of the visual arts for people with visual impairment (PVI). The tactile sense, in conjunction with, or a possibly as an alternative to, the auditory sense, would allow PVIs to approach artwork in a more self-driven and engaging way that would be difficult to achieve with just an auditory stimulus. Tactile colour pictograms (TCPs), which are raised geometric patterns, are ideographic characters that are designed to enable PVIs to identify colours and interpret information by touch. In this article, three TCPs are introduced to code colours in the Munsell colour system. Each colour pattern consists of a basic cell size of 10 mm × 10 mm to represent the patterns consistently in terms of regular shape. Each TCP consists of basic geometric patterns that are combined to create primary, secondary, and tertiary colour pictograms of shapes indicating colour hue, intensity and lightness. Each TCP represents 29 colours including six hues; they were then further expanded to represent 53 colours. Two of them did not increase the cell size, the other increased the cell size 1.5 times for some colours, such as yellow-orange, yellow, blue, and blue-purple. Our proposed TCPs use a slightly larger cell size compared to most tactile patterns currently used to indicate colour, but code for more colours. With user experience and identification tests, conducted with 23 visually impaired adults, the effectiveness of the TCPs suggests that they were helpful for the participants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-116
Number of pages14
JournalColor Research and Application
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
National Research Foundation of Korea, Grant/Award Number: 2018M3C1B6061353 Funding information

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Science Technology and Humanity Converging Research Program of National Research Foundation of Korea (2018M3C1B6061353). The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors. Color Research and Application published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.


  • accessibility
  • art appreciation
  • pictogram
  • tactile colour pattern
  • user experience
  • visually impaired


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