Quai Branly offers a number of mobile experiences for people of all needs and abilities. There are ‘traditional’ multimedia tours on loan on iPod touches; a multi-sensory iPad experience that includes captioning and French Sign Language interpretation, and an experimental NFC (near-field communication) mobile phone audio tour.
The museum ranks among the best for publicizing their mobile offerings, which you can purchase at the ticket kiosk or from desk staff. Just check out this great, highly visible signage, that says not only “we are mobile” but “we are accessible”:
For people with low vision, there is an audio-descriptor tour and tactile maps, as well as a seated listening station.
The museum’s innovative mobile offering even include bone-conducting headphones, so visitors’ ears don’t have to be covered by the headset. I don’t find them comfortable, but as their price comes down, these may be appreciated by visitors who feel ‘isolated’ when they wear traditional headphones or earbuds.
Sponsorship from technology companies like Philips and Orange has been critical to supporting the museum’s technology innovations.
I’m not sure how intuitive the icon’s specific meanings are, but Quai Branly’s examples of signage at objects for their mobile offerings is worth studying. At the very least, they say again, “We have mobile!”
In terms of concept, the iPad was the offering that gave me the most food for thought. It aims at universal design, so that all audiences are served by a single platform and product, regardless of their ability. This is a challenging goal, and Signes de Sens achieved a lot in this first major effort. The devices were a bit heavy, and the content a bit long, for extended in-gallery use while standing. But these are problems that are more easily solved now that the overarching solution has been piloted.