The ELIA FRAMES™ font is designed for maximum tactile discrimination by people who have a visual impairment. It is so easy to learn that it can be studied and applied in as little as 2 hours. And because ELIA FRAMES is based on the standard Roman alphabet, it can be read visually by those with full sight (teachers, caregivers or co-workers).
What is ELIA FRAMES?
ELIA FRAMES Tactile Font (ELIA FRAMES™) is the world’s most intuitive tactile reading system. It is designed to be understood by touch for those who have a visual impairment, and by sight for those without.
ELIA FRAMES leverages modern tactile printing technology and design principles to optimize each letter’s design and create easily identifiable characters. Each letter features an outer frame (circle, square, house) and interior elements that suggest the main characteristics of each standard alphabet letter.
We based ELIA FRAMES on the standard (Roman) alphabet because roughly 70% of the world’s population uses it to read and write (reference 1). This means about 200 million people with a visual impairment could benefit from ELIA FRAMES in its current design (reference 2). And the other 85 million could benefit from it, if customized to their standard scripts.
Practice writing ELIA FRAMES freehand with this free US letter sized download. Every page includes one example of each ELIA FRAMES letter and number followed by blank grids to complete. Please know that this product is not tactile, it is only intended for caregivers and rehabilitation professionals to learn the ELIA FRAMES alphabet.
The ELIA FRAMES alphabet explained
Counting with ELIA FRAMES™
The house frame is scientifically designed to be discernible to the touch between the square and circle frames found on letters.
The pros and cons of the current braille system.
Braille has been described as “liberating a whole class of people from a condition of illiteracy and dependency and giving them the means for self-fulfillment and enrichment (Reference 4).” We couldn’t agree more. It is extremely important for those who can read it. For example, people who are able to read braille have an employment rate of 90%.
Unfortunately, less than 1% of those who have a visual impairment can read braille. And, of those who lose their vision as adults (roughly 98% of the population), very few learn it. So braille is not a resource for the vast majority of those who have lost their vision.
Braille requires exceptional finger sensitivity and intellect, along with a lot of determination and time, because it was designed to be used with the technology of the 1800’s. Unfortunately, this means it is not intuitive or easy to feel. Today there are many commercial resources for creating tactile symbols at low cost. We hope to make those resources even more accessible in the home and the workplace.
What are the implications of ELIA FRAMES?
Because ELIA FRAMES is easy to learn, it will be less expensive and require less time to teach. Consider that an estimated 90% of the world’s visually impaired population live in low-income settings (Reference 1). ELIA FRAMES could create more opportunities for this population to gain fuller education, employment and independence, with fewer resources.
What about audio and text to speech technology?
A common question is about the use of audio learning and text to speech technology: “Can’t that replace the need for a tactile reading system?” The National Federation of the Blind rightly put it: “Literacy is the ability to read and write. While using speech output and recorded books is a way for students to gain information, it does not teach them reading and writing skills. Students who rely solely on listening as a means of learning find themselves deficient in areas like spelling and composition.”
- Latin Script. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved May, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_script.
- World Health Organization, 2014. Visual impairment and blindness [Fact Sheet No. 282]. Retrieved from www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs282/en/
- Nemeth, A. (1988), Braille: The Agony and the Ecstasy, The Braille Monitor, 324-328.