Accessible Labels App for “The Senses” Exhibition

Client: Cooper Hewitt

Project Description

This collaboration with Cooper Hewitt enhanced the accessibility of The Senses: Design Beyond Vision, an exhibition of design objects and experiences that are focused on multisensory experiences. While working with Cooper Hewitt on other projects, PAC founder Sina Bahram was asked about the exact text appropriate to include in braille labels for the, then upcoming, exhibition. After considering the extensive information available, it was immediately clear that physical logistics wouldn't allow enough space to comprehensively convey the information about the exhibition objects in braille, so an enhanced accessible label system was born.

The Accessible Labels mobile application developed by PAC is available for iOS on iPhone. When visiting The Senses exhibition, a braille-reading visitor can read the name of the object and an invitation to use a particular sense such as "Smell" or "Listen" in braille, these labels are accompanied by a number as well. The visitor can type this number into the app, which provides an opportunity to explore the label text, extended wall texts, images of the object (which allow zooming to help those with low vision), and a visual description of the object.

All information is also provided in an audio recording read by a human voice in case one does not prefer to listen to the phone's screen reader. Because the object's name is in braille as well, the visitor can always be sure they are consuming the right content for the object in front of them. In order to include Android users in this offering, a web application version was created to provide access to all of this content for any mobile users not using iOS.

PAC was honored that this work received Gold at the 2018 MUSE awards from the American Alliance of Museums. You can read more about the 2018 Muse Award winners.

Project Images

  • Sina stands in front of a video screen in a gallery bending over slightly to read the braille on a label mounted on an angle coming off the wall.
    Sina reading the braille accompanying a visual display at the Cooper Hewitt Museum.
  • Sina leans slightly down to touch a small metal stand with his right hand while also holding his phone to his left ear.
    Sina explores features of The Senses exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt, including braille labels and a mobile app.