How We See

How can we teach young school children to understand the diversity and spectrum of sight?


Only 3% of people registered blind are actually fully blind and consequently the other 97% have remaining useful sight. Having an invisible disability can affect a person’s’ everyday life and often also has a broader social, emotional and psychological impact on the individual. The aim of this project is to break the stigma and reshape the representation of someone who sees differently; to reshape how we see. This 18 month long design research project was conducted in collaboration with the Royal National Institute of Blind People and the Helen Hamlyn Centre of Design, Royal College of Art after the RNIB’s success with a viral video called #How I See (find below).


Commonly used design research methods in inclusive design, such as participatory design workshops with both the VI community and approximately 75 KEY Stage 2 primary school children, interviews with teachers and cultural probes and public engagements to gain insight of existing perceptions of general public, were conducted to obtain qualitative primary research to inform the design outcome. In addition an illustrative literature review informed the initial ideas of pathways to explore and discuss with the user groups.


The outcome of this How We See are a variety of resources, for both internal and external purposes of the RNIB. These resources include the following:

RNIB Volunteer Pack on ‘How We See’, 2019

Providing materials for a visually impaired volunteer to visit a school and facilitate a session on sight loss addressing the fact that there are many ‘blind’ people that have remaining sight, confusing language around the topic of sight loss as well as stereotypes and myths around blindness.

‘How We Sense’ , 2019

The resource provides materials for teachers that cover relevant topics within the syllabus whilst at the same time highlighting the underlying message of sensory diversity and sight loss. The content involves lesson plans organised by the subjects; Science, English, Maths and PSHE.

RNIB Briefing on Disability Narrative, 2018

Findings informed a brief set of guidelines that inform a more timely ‘disability narrative’ that moves away from traditional, deficit-based communication to contemporary, human-centred communication.


CLICK HERE for more information on this project on the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design website.