Next week, myself and Charles Veasey from the Open Exhibits project will be attending a week-long workshop focusing on accessibility issues in computer-based interactives held at the Museum of Science in Boston. The project, Creating Museum Media for Everyone is a National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored collaborative that involves the Museum of Science, WGBH’s National Center of Accessible Media (NCAM), and Ideum (the lead organization in Open Exhibits). Here’s a short description of what the Creating Museum Media for Everyone is about…
The project will demonstrate that the project team can design and develop digital interactive museum exhibit devices that work for visitors who have a wide range of disabilities. The outcome will be one “exemplar” exhibit based on an exhibit scenario where museum visitors learn STEM concepts by manipulating and analyzing real data. The project will also develop and test the efficacy of a prototype Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Toolkit that will help other museum professionals implement the digital interactive strategies.
The workshop is going to explore a number of topics, and small groups are going to explore different approaches to make computer-based exhibits more accessible to visitors who have disabilities. Groups are looking at haptic interfaces, data sonification, and strategies surrounding the personalization of computer-based interfaces (allowing for preferred formats of audio, graphics and text).
A group that Charles and I will be working in is looking at create descriptive audio layers that can be incorporated in multitouch and multiuser exhibits. We are going to demo a prototype of this feature and do some user testing. The idea is that a specific gesture, like a three-fingered hold on object would trigger and audio description. This new feature may find its way into the Open Exhibits framework in next few months. We will blog about the workshop next week and we will post some images as well. Let us know if you have questions or comments about the project or accessibility issues.
by Jim Spadaccini on May 18, 2012