How can Hong Kong museum environments be improved to enhance the visually impaired visitors’ museum experience? Visually impaired people (VIP) face major challenges particularly in highly visual-oriented environments such as museums. In this study, we conducted in-depth field observations and interviews of the eleven major visual arts museums in Hong Kong. We also conducted two phases of pilot studies and interviews to investigate the effectiveness of haptic (touch) activated integral auditory (sound) systems. These systems integrate exhibit information with tactile diagrams that are easily accessible to visually impaired people. The aim of the study is to support the VIPs to understand and to construct visual mental images of the two-dimensional exhibits. Our design goal is to create a prototype that adopts the cross-modalities interaction approach (combination of tactile diagram and audio description) and that provides multisensory feedback for VIPs to enable them to ‘see’ the exhibits and ultimately to enhance their museum experience. This study also explores cost-effective / affordable approaches that can be proposed to Hong Kong museums who aim to create more inclusive museum environments.
|Keywords:||Visually Impaired People, Cross-modalities, Museums|
Ph.D Candidate, School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Professor, School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong