Friday, 1 July 2016

ACCESSING INFORMATION: ONE BUMP AT A TIME


OBJECT OF THE WEEK

BY: HAYLEY MAE JONES

This might sound dull, but my objects for the week are actually some of the exhibit panels in the Canadian Museum of Nature's temporary exhibit: Ultimate Dinosaur.


Personal Photo: Hayley Mae Jones
I liked the panels because the lettering was very clear and easy to read. However, I was really captured by the fact that the panels have Braille embossed underneath the printed letters.

Personal Photo: Hayley Mae Jones
I liked the fact that the Canadian Museum of Nature made a conscious effort to make the exhibit more inclusive and accessible to those with impaired vision. The Braille was placed in the same location as the written information, meaning that those who need the Braille did not have to go to a separate panel to read about dinosaurs. I also enjoyed the fact that the Braille did not blur the information for those wishing to visually read the English and French texts, or for those wishing to take pictures of the panels.

The Canadian Museum of Nature also made sure that the accompanying children's activity was accessible to those who have visual impairments.

Personal Photo: Hayley Mae Jones
Instead of providing children with a sticker scavenger hunt (which is only exciting to those that can see the stickers), the Canadian Museum of Nature made children find different embossing stations. Children would push down on a lever and make a 3D imprint into their paper. These bumps, although not brightly coloured like stickers, allowed for those with limited visibility to feel the dinosaur prints. It also added another tactile element to the exhibit. 

Personal Photo: Hayley Mae Jones
In addition to being accessible, this interactive activity seemed to be relatively sustainable. The Museum would not have to continuously replace ink pads for stamps, or purchase new stickers. Once the embossing machine was built all they needed was the paper worksheet.

Overall it is a great exhibit, one that everyone should check out if you are in Ottawa this summer!

2 comments:

  1. This is amazing! You can also bring the embossed image home and draw over it with crayons. For kids who are sight impaired, it is fun and wonderful to "feel" the dinosaurs. I hope that this type of panel design catches on. I wonder how media like interactive screens can be designed for accessibility also?

    Interesting how the answer to inclusiveness, which takes a little creative brainstorming, can also address environmental issues *thumbs up!*

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment, and I am sorry for the late reply!

      One example of touch screen technology tackling the issues of accessibility is the use of VoiceOver (http://www.apple.com/ca/accessibility/ios/voiceover/). It would be interesting to see how a museum could incorporate this technology into an exhibit!

      Thanks again for your response. :)

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