Exploratorium Tactile Dome

Rita Lei

Rita Lei

What was the activity?

Activity Link: Exploratorium Tactile Dome

How was the experience?

Although that was a rainy day, there were still a lot of visitors waiting for Tactile Dome excited. We arrived here around 10:15, but the first round of the tour was already full. We had to wait for another 45 minutes. It was no doubt that how attractive the Tactile Dome was lol 🤣

The long waiting burst our expectations even more. And when it was time to go, we were over-ready to follow the guide to come into the tiny room. The light in the lobby was a little bit dusky, creating a mysterious atmosphere in the first place. After a quick introduction to the history of the Dome, every 2-3 people were assigned to a small group and went into the total darkness in group order.  

That was a really different experience to explore the familiar world through unfamiliar senses. In the very beginning, I felt so scared that I pause a lot of times during the process due to the absolute darkness. My friends Kai and Yuan waited for me, giving me more braveness to keep going. I still keep my eyes open and felt like I was still trying to explore my surroundings through the familiar vision. Actually it did not work at all lol 🤣So I started to learn how to navigate myself through touching. I stretched my hands out around, maybe towards every direction I guess... The room was tiny and I felt like I was back to my mom's womb due to the similarity of "relatively limited space". The surface of my surroundings was covered with different types of textures: soft or hard, smooth or rough, flat or rugged. Gradually, I got used to the darkness and close my eyes to trust my tactile sense.  I crawled like a reptilian through a hole, climbed upwards, and went through a slide in the end.


Without the vision, I first felt like a disabled person, but later on, it turned out that my tactile sense became more sensitive and reliable. It also made me realized how was the world be like for people with blindness. As a user experience designer, it was significant for us to be more inclusive and design for accessibility.

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Rita Lei

UX  &  UI