Inclusion and Universal Access

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In the Collective Actions exhibit visitors select themes and stories of interest simply by pointing. Copyright Canadian Museum for Human Rights, 2014.

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) had the ambitious goal of implementing an approach to inclusion design that would set new Canadian and world standards for universal accessibility. Rapid technological innovations have equipped museums with an array of digital tools to cater for a special-needs and an ageing audience so that no group within society would be excluded from the activities of the museum.

A common scenario for people with disabilities is that they are required to use a parallel system, whereby much of the content and design is stripped down and information is accessed in a linear manner through menus (websites are a good example of this). Rather, Gagarin delivered installations that provided visitors with a near-equitable experience regardless of language or physical limitations (vision, hearing or motion). Visitors with visual and/or motion impairment had the option of using universal keypads that allow the user to navigate, listen to and select content. For the hearing impaired, all video and audio content have closed captioning (CC) features.

The technical complexities of both our Collective Actions and Defenders exhibits were considerable. As an example, every video in our Defenders exhibit needed to be accompanied by the following files: caption, subtitles, blue screen videos sign language and described audio - both in English and French. A visually impaired person would for example, have the Text-To-Speech (TTS) engine read out a description of a video from one soundcard, and then receive the Described Audio from another soundcard whilst the video is playing.

With inclusive design approach, museums become better equipped to serve its entire visitors and their needs. Universal design helps disabled visitors to receive an equally rich and rewarding experience so that they can also participate in dialogue as part of a museum experience visit.

Read more about the project here

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Our writing team composing storyboards based on the compelling and traumatic experiences of human rights defenders around the world. Copyright Canadian Museum for Human Rights, 2014.

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Experimenting with colours and textures for the Living Tree exhibit. Copyright Canadian Museum for Human Rights, 2014.

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The Universal keypad is an essential element in CMHR's approach to inclusion design. Copyright Canadian Museum for Human Rights, 2014.

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Copyright Canadian Museum for Human Rights, 2014.

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Defenders interface. Copyright Canadian Museum for Human Rights, 2014.

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At our final destination, Winnipeg, we were constantly intrigued by the museum's architecture. Copyright Canadian Museum for Human Rights, 2014.

 

 

Created 19 January 2015