This client has a visual impairment and was using an iPhone as an AAC device. With a visual impairment is can be hard to use or find the soft buttons on the screen. Normally you would use a keyguard stuck to the outside surface of the case. This client was prone to picking and removing anything added to the outside of the case.
Any solution would have to be incorporated behind the screen cover of the case and would have to be clean so that caregivers could also use the case and iPhone.
How can we design an iPhone case that was watertight, and had a keyguard built into the surface in such a way that it could not be picked off?
The final design was a modified iPhone case. We removed the original screen protector, 3D printed a keyguard that matched the button pattern of the AAC application (Proloquo2Go) and used a vacuum former to mold a new screen protector with a keyguard underneath.
We knew we had to find a durable but malleable material for the replacement screen protector, so off to the art store, we went with our phone in hand. We found a few willing and helpful staff and using our phones and their knowledge of the material we found a few candidates. We knew that we going to vacuum form the solution so we made our vacuum former.
We took screenshots of the application button layout and used that to create our keyguard model in CAD. Then we printed the model on a 3d printer. In the vacuum former, we experimented with time, heat and materials, with a few epic failures until we found a combination that worked. From there we cut the screen protector to size and used adhesive to glue the new screen protector in place.