Touchable Objects

The National Museum of Mexican Art, in Chicago, not only has a great collection of Alebrijes and depictions of La Catrina, but has touchable versions as well as those behind glass. A great example of how when working with living and contemporary artists, when creating new experiences, there is ample opportunity to cost-effectively make artifacts and objects that can be explored through touch as well as sight. Multimodal interaction increases opportunities for inclusive accessibility, and deeper engagement among all audiences.

More Touch Experimentation at the OAG

This is the 2nd tactile art piece we’ve seen at the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) (see April 8 2020 for the previous piece we experienced there). Unlike the previous, this research project is based on an original artwork – Group of Seven member, Franklin Carmichael’s 1928 “In the Nickel Belt” oil painting. This work is interpretively reproduced as a rubber and wood tactile image with an adjacent iPad surfacing descriptions and sound effects. There is a substantial disconnect between navigating the iPad and the tactile image, going back and forth, which would certainly be a barrier to autonomous exploration for blind users, and the iPad was not set to access mode, meaning sight was required for on-screen orientation and navigation. Yet the interesting point for us with this work, is the dividing up of the paintings various landscape elements, the tactile patterning, and material selections and uses. We’d have more than a few notes for consideration within this experiment to render it more inclusively accessible, but we love that the OAG keeps on exploring various ways of making 2D artwork accessible to a wider audience.

The Return

Sina and I began this micro blog as a response to expressions of interest that we share those instances we come across, in our travels and across our projects, that present an interesting, unique, or innovative take on experience design. Given it’s us, you can be sure that whatever we chose to spotlight somehow surfaces concepts related to inclusion and access.

What we didn’t predict was a global pandemic stopping our travels the same month we decided to first publish Mosaic (#M4C). 20 months later and travel has ramped back up again. As such, we’re happy to begin picking up where we left off and sharing those notable examples of interesting and inclusive experience design that we come across . (Note: The Reading List and Glossary sections have been kept up to date this entire time).

It’s nice to be out in the world again and we’re looking forward to sharing those instances we come across that can help provoke discourse around meaningful, rich, and inclusive experience design.