Inaccessibility Is Not An Option, from Demos to Contracts: Demonstrating the fantastic benefits of accessibility and inclusive design, then making your contracts match your beliefs

Sina Bahram, Prime Access Consulting, Inc., USA

This workshop, in three parts, aims to advance general awareness of inclusive design, convey a working knowledge of digital accessibility issues, and proffer actionable advice and tools to museum professionals who wish to join the ever growing community who are incorporating accessibility and universal design into their everyday practice.

The first part exposes all members of the audience to a screen reader user interacting with digital content. Said content will be interacted with on a laptop and an iPhone highlighting the accessibility features of both platforms. This section facilitates a gentle introduction to real world web and application-based accessibility, while wrapping the knowledge transfer in a fascinating and fun series of technology demonstrations.

The second part of the workshop will convey the basic tenets of inclusive design. From the standard seven principles, which have been adapted specifically to museums, to real world examples, the audience will gain a new appreciation for everything from an electric toothbrush to doorknobs. These principles are not only directly applicable to real world exhibits and digital presence, but also to the design process and should be adopted as a general strategy for addressing the creation or update of any institutional asset or artifact.

The third part provides the audience with actionable tools, such as RFP language, that can be freely used to enhance an institution's accessibility. It's easy to believe in accessibility and universal design, but how can we put the correct language into requests for proposals (RFPs) and statements of work (SOWs) so that external developers do not consider these critical concepts unimportant or worse, optional? The audience will be better equipped to understand how best to insure that we, as a community, work to advance our standard expectations of accessibility and inclusiveness, thereby enhancing the experience for all users, regardless of functional limitation.