Enhancing Inclusive Experience in Museums: results from a field study
Authors: Alessia Brischetto, Ester Iacono, Claudia Becchimanzi, Francesca Tosi
Abstract: Open access to culture and the possibility to experience and learn about art in museums are human rights that should be granted to everyone. However, very often the information accessible to users through the official channels of museums regarding independent visitation by individuals with a disability generally refers to accessibility in terms of mobility, and they also frequently provide incomplete information. Information related to independent enjoyment by people with sensory disabilities (visually impaired, blind, hearing impaired, deaf) is most often lacking, as the accessibility of the visit route is generally guaranteed in a pre-scheduled way and in the presence of mediators. This aspect limits the free enjoyment of the artworks by people with sensory disabilities and shows the lack of a real inclusive culture and adequate tools to guarantee the full right to visit independently, in their own way and time.This paper presents a part of the project “XAll - Tutta un’altra guida” (XAll - A whole other guide), funded by the TIM Foundation, which partners the University of Florence, the Polytechnic University of Milan, and the referents of 3 Florentine museums: Museo di Palazzo Vecchio, Museo Bardini and Museo Bargello. The overall objective of the project is to create an interactive, customizable and inclusive visit support, aimed at the overall population and designed to encourage a multisensory visit experience, realized by inserting tactile, sound and olfactory stimuli in the visit path of the 3 Museums involved and enhanced by the use of augmented reality. Specific objectives of the project are: to make cultural heritage accessible to visitors with all types of disability; to improve the quality of independent visitation in terms of engagement and customization of the experience; to encourage the dissemination of free applications in museum accessibility projects; and to provide an integrated framework and a set of open source tools for the development of applications in the same area.To achieve the overall objective, the project involved the application of the scientific and methodological approaches of Inclusive Design and Human-Centered Design. In detail, tor define user profiles during the preliminary design phase, the following researches were conducted: (1) On-site investigation of the three museums involved in the project; (2) Survey visits and field observations (in collaboration with experts from the museum institutions) at the three museums involved and with the associations ENS (Italian Association of the Deaf), UICI (Italian Union of the Blind and Visually Impaired), and HABILIA Onlus (Paratetraplegic and Motor Disabled Association); Collection and systematization of feedback and data collected during the observations, based on which it was possible to set up the development of the video guide project and multi-sensory stations to be included within the museums.The study of user profiles allowed to conduct early analysis of User-Museum interaction models through the following activities: identification of the requirements of mobile media and multi-sensory stations; development of User Journey Map and Scenarios; definition of the technical characteristics of the video guide.
Keywords: Inclusive Design, Human, Centred Design, Accessibility, User Research, Museums
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