Braille bombers strengthen city signaling for the visually impaired during Knowledge Week

There are thousands in the city; attached to street signs and hidden in elevators. Small signs that are vital to some of our population, but go unnoticed by most.

Braille messages can be found on all street signs in the CBD, at bus stops and on a selection of maps, park signs and public art, with instructions and accessibility for the visually impaired.

Braille bombers prepare their signage.Credit:Luis Ascuic

Usually small and placed just below visual signs, the Braille messages contain a series of announcements, from simple directions to the numbers on elevator buttons.

The signs are typically regulated by braille organisations, but a ‘braille bombing’ as part of Melbourne Knowledge Week has shown people how to create their own signs to add to the city’s collection.

Participants learned to Braille their own names before creating labels to mimic printed signs around the Melbourne Knowledge Week event, such as names of exhibits and the presenting groups.

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They were also given ready-made braille to take with them, with positive messages to the visually impaired, such as: “Love braille”, “Love reading”, “Braille since 1829” and “Read more”.

The signs are written with styluses and slates. The letters are written backwards and read from right to left.

“It’s like writing a tweet, counting all your characters, but doing it backwards and in the mirror,” said Amanda Kwong, braille bombing contestant. “It was a bit of a brain teaser, but really an eye-opening experience.”

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