Inclusivity: A Study of Hong Kong Museum Environments

By Meng K. Chan and Kin Wai Michael Siu.

Published by The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

How can Hong Kong museum environments be improved to enhance the visually impaired visitors’ museum experience? Visually impaired people (VIP) face major challenges particularly in highly visual-oriented environments such as museums. In this study, we conducted in-depth field observations and interviews of the eleven major visual arts museums in Hong Kong. We also conducted two phases of pilot studies and interviews to investigate the effectiveness of haptic (touch) activated integral auditory (sound) systems. These systems integrate exhibit information with tactile diagrams that are easily accessible to visually impaired people. The aim of the study is to support the VIPs to understand and to construct visual mental images of the two-dimensional exhibits. Our design goal is to create a prototype that adopts the cross-modalities interaction approach (combination of tactile diagram and audio description) and that provides multisensory feedback for VIPs to enable them to ‘see’ the exhibits and ultimately to enhance their museum experience. This study also explores cost-effective / affordable approaches that can be proposed to Hong Kong museums who aim to create more inclusive museum environments.

Keywords: Visually Impaired People, Cross-modalities, Museums

The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp.45-61. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.152MB).

Meng K. Chan

Ph.D Candidate, School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Meng K. Chan is currently a PhD candidate at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University—School of Design; it is also where he completed his Master Degree in interaction design. His research interests are user-centered design, assistive technologies, and cross-modality interaction design approaches particularly related to people with special needs. Chan’s current research project is focusing on visually impaired people in visually rich environments. Chan also teaches part time in the School of Design, and previously, he worked as a research project associate for the University.

Prof. Kin Wai Michael Siu

Professor, School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong

Kin Wai Michael Siu is Lab Leader and Professor of Public Design Lab, School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. His research interests are in design policy, inclusive design and user reception.