About the researcher

My interest in tactile/haptic illustration began during my undergraduate degree where it became clear that Illustration was not exclusively visual; neurotypical and neurodiverse individuals can benefit from this hands-on form of communication. As a third-year doctoral student, I find the theoretical and practical challenges it brings both exciting and rewarding.


Researcher interests

  • Illustration: narrative and educational
  • Communication design
  • Tactile/haptic books, toys, puppets, and models
  • Neurodiversity related to Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder and Visual Impairment

Sara Hougham-Slade PGR researcher profile picture
Sara Hougham-Slade PGR researcher profile picture

PhD abstract

Thesis title

A Practice-based study to examine the potential role of weight and correlative movement through non-digital 'Haptic Illustrative Devices' as textual aids


Haptic illustrations provide access to information through touch. Although texture and outline are mostly used as a textual aid, my research will examine the role of manipulated weight, perceived or physical, within the haptic experience. This practice-based study relates primarily to Illustration and Communication Design. Haptic Illustrative Devices (HIDs) refer to non-digital illustrative objects that can be interpreted by manipulation. As such, they may take the form of haptic models, books or toys. I aim to design and produce non-digital HIDs as models, books or toys, which can be interpreted in this way. Interaction with the HIDs will utilize the properties of tangible weight to add dimension to the subject they illustrate.