Museum Accessibility Week 3 Readings

Feb 16, 2020


Kat Holmes Article

Kat Holmes, a designer and founder of, talkes about 5 ways of how inclusive design accelerate inovation. She defines a signature trait of an inclusive solution as adabtability to the needs of a unique person, that is, applying new meanings to objects by adaptation (such as changing shapes, context, or purpose of an object) to solve problems. She also stresses that inclusive design has significant market opportunity in business by showing three examples, typing machine, PillPack, and Touchscreen.

Here are 5 ways that inclusion can fuel innovation.

  • Interrupt habits: Questioning the status quo and recognizing the exclusion around us.

  • Create constraints: Make the constraints clear by focusing on excluded communities. “Stronger constraints push designers and engineers to innovate”.

  • Leverage existing resources: Useing existing resources by applying a new lens and forming new combinations of existing solutions can work very well. Inclusive innovation does not have to be dramatic reinvention.

  • Increase customer engagement: “Inclusive design helps to remove obstacles, or mismatches, and reduces the friction in customer experience”. Sounds like, solutions that customer loves.

  • Minimizes risk: Start thinking about inclusive design from the beginning. “If teams treat accessibility and inclusion as an afterthought, products may end up not meeting legal standards for accessibility, or (inadvertently) discriminatory solutions may face public outcry, ultimately requiring significant investments to address”.

Smithsonian Guidelines

Overview of Guidelines

11 topics in total. They are about accessibility standards that must be met by every exibition presented at or by the Smithsonian.

10. Emergency Egress

Got interested in this section because I think this is the most important (life relevant) topic. Surprisingly there are only 2 pages without any visual description and I wonder if the information is enough or not. It says to refer to Smithsonian Guidelines for Accessible Design for Facilities and Sites, but I cannot find the link.

A: general
  • Must have fully accessible emergency egress from the exhibition spaces.
  • Number of fire exits should refer to the National Fire Protection Association's Life Safety Code (NFPA 101).
  • Provide areas of rescue assistance if the number of accessible exits is insufficient. (Like, safety waiting areas for people who cannot leave the building by using stairs).
  • Plan for emergency egress where lifts have been used for access.
B: design route
  • Design the exits from the exhibition to either lead back to the accessible entry route or to lead directly to another accessible egress route.
  • But, how?
C: notification
  • Signs with the international symbol of access.
  • Make available at key points that meets accessibility requirements for printed materials.
D: visual and audible fire alarm
  • Visual for people who are hard of hearing.
  • Need balance. Need to cover sufficient coverage by visual alarm but avoid too much coverage.
  • Flash rate is limited to 1Hz and 3Hz. More than 5Hz can trigger seizures in people who are photosensitive.
  • Do not set too many visual alarms in one area because they do not flash simltaneously and can cause more than 5Hz flash as a whole.


Museum Accessibility Week 4 Readings

Museum Accessibility Week 2 Readings