Approaches to Accessible Apps: One Important Goal, Many Possible Paths

Annie Leist, Art Beyond Sight, USA

Ensuring that your museum’s app or handheld guide is useable and enjoyable by a diverse audience, including people with disabilities, is no longer just an admirable goal - it’s a necessity. But what’s the best way for your institution to achieve accessibility in your mobile technology, bringing your collection to the broadest constituency possible?

For over 25 years, Art Beyond Sight has pursued a mission to make art, art history, and visual culture more accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities. That timespan has witnessed dramatic evolution in the use of technology by museums - a positive change that has opened up myriad new ways for all kinds of people to engage with science, history, and art. Today’s portable devices and downloadable content hold the potential for an unprecedented level of access, choice, and personalization for the museumgoer, no matter how they interact and learn. ABS has studied, consulted for, and collaborated with institutions large and small, and has seen that effective accessible implementations of mobile technology come in almost as many flavors as the museums who create them.

Join ABS for a conversation highlighting three of the routes museums can take toward an inclusive mobile solution. You’ll learn the benefits and potential opportunities of each development method from panelists representing cultural institutions and their third-party partners, speaking from personal experience, using real examples, and sharing the decision process that led them to their chosen approach. We’ll consider which option might best suit various types of museums and budgets. But most importantly, we’ll discover that, though solutions may differ, there are fundamental commonalities and best practices that can help all museums ask educated questions and make informed choices regarding the development of a well-designed, accessible mobile app.