Inclusive communication

Sign language video at the Science Museum Information Age exhibition Credit: Science Museum
Held as part of the Inclusive Heritage conference 2015, this workshop looked at inclusive communication – sharing best practice, learning styles and evaluation methods.

The workshop explored how heritage places and projects can be opened to more people through inclusive communication and how this can improve people’s interaction with heritage.

Presentations

Workshop presenters Katie Gonzalez-Bell, Freelance Access Advisor who worked on the Science Museum's Information Age gallery, and Lynsey Robinson, Inclusive Designer at the Sensory Trust, shared their experiences of creating new inclusive communication resources.

“It’s not good inclusive communications practice, it’s just good communications practice.”

Workshop discussions

Being innovative

The speakers presented a range of challenges to creating inclusive communication tools, they also talked about overcoming barriers to innovation. Creating communication tools that are reliable and enjoyable is important but it doesn’t have to achieve everything at once, you can usually add to it and improve it later. The basic standards for accessibility are important, but always look for opportunities to move beyond ‘good practice’ to deliver a whole new level of accessibility.

Design

When designing inclusive communication tools, you need to think about how they will be used. Whether designing an app or a tactile exhibition, the design may have other implications, for example, technology-focused tools might reduce the way people interact with one another. Challenges can often be overcome by encouraging talking or movement within a space.

User-led development

User-led development is needed to ensure successful inclusive communication tools. The Science Museum's Audio-Eyes app was launched after three years of in-depth engagement with a panel of people with visual impairments that were involved in identifying needs of the audience, best practice and resource development.

Engaging with users in the design and delivery of communication tools helps to create a more equal and inclusive approach.

Key principles of designing meaningful experiences

Effective inclusive communication creates meaningful interactions and experiences, where people feel welcomed and valued. It’s therefore important that we design for a range of senses.

“Start with inclusive thinking, rather than add it on.”

We must consider how to make sensory-rich communications the default approach. By demonstrating the value of sensory-rich experiences we can help to make heritage more accessible.

Read the full summary of the workshop written by Dan Sutch, Director at the Centre for the Acceleration of Social Technology below.

Children and families on a tour of the Information Age exhibition
Let Nature Feed Your Senses BIG Lottery project by Sensory Trust and LEAF
Let Nature Feed Your Senses BIG Lottery project by Sensory Trust and LEAF
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