Integrate is a tool for users with learning disabilities, including cognitive disabilities, ADHD, and TBI, to personalize their learning experience of the David Owsley Museum of Art. I created this app to make DOMA more accessible while strengthening its mission to “cultivate lifelong learning.”

My Role

This project was academic-based. I produced user research, wireframing, prototyping, and UI design with the final result being a product presentation to the David Owsley Museum of Art stakeholders and Ball State Disability Services.

Problem

Visitors with learning disabilities, including cognitive disabilities, ADHD, and TBI, need a more accessible museum experience because they have unique learning needs the museum does not currently address.

Results

An accessible app that addresses the usability issues for individuals with learning disabilities by allowing users to view artwork in their preferred learning style and creating awareness of the conditions of each gallery.

Integrate Key Screens

421 of the 957 students who registered a disability through Ball State University had some form of a learning disabilitythat’s 44%.

Nearly 1 in 4 people in the United States has reported a disability as reported by the CDC. More specifically, according to the Ball State University Disability Services, 421 of the 957 students who registered a disability through their program had some form of a learning disability that’s 44%. The David Owsley Museum of Art, DOMA, states that the most important part of its mission is to “cultivate lifelong learning,” yet they haven’t taken into consideration the hundreds of visitors who need a wider range of learning capabilities.

Implementing various learning styles and sensory guides into an accessible app will allow all visitors to navigate the museum with ease and comfort because each user has the power to choose how they want to learn and where they feel comfortable learning.

Integrate wireframes

Accessibility setup screen

Students with learning disabilities rely on personalized curriculum and resources. 

As part of my research, I spoke with several Ball State students and faculty. Student A spoke about his experiences partnering with the Disability Services program to personalize his learning materials and how he learns best. Student B shared his experiences living with a service dog and how he pursues his daily life with visual impairment. He relies on screen-reading software and customized learning materials from Disability Services. 

I gained real-time feedback during a tour through DOMA with Facult Member C who shared her unique challenges like being unaware of what to expect as she approached a new gallery to navigating within the space largely due to her disability.

 

Customized Setup

Every interviewee that I spoke with had unique needs and preferred learning styles. There are multiple opportunities for users to select how they want to maximize their learning potential through the app, which starts with selecting which accessible features they’d like to enable from dyslexia font to slowed speech to background music.

Learning Styles

Referring back to my user interviews, I found that there are three primary ways in which users within this audience learn best. A visual storytelling feature allows users to view a narrated video with a museum staff member sharing information and insights about the selected artwork. An auditory concentration feature gives users the ability to focus explicitly on a narrator speaking about a selected artwork without any distractions. Users can slow down or speed up the narration to further customize their experience. Lastly, there’s a simplified text description where users can change the reading settings from enlarging the font to increasing the leading to make digesting the information easier.

Screens of learning options

Integrate sensory guide screens

Sensory Guides

A sensory guide creates awareness of a space for people with learning and cognitive disabilities. The implementation of this tool within the app serves as a reference to prepare visitors for the conditions of each gallery prior to or during their visit. The sensory guides include a breakdown of the lighting, noise, and crowdedness of each gallery. These sensory guides are also available as an online PDF on the DOMA website in addition to a sign at the entrance of each gallery.

Utilizing Color Theory for Learning Disabilities

While individuals with learning disabilities is the primary audience for this mobile app, I designed the app in consideration of all individuals no matter what their needs are or what modifications they may require. In addition to the variation of learning styles, the entire app is WCAG 2.0 AAA compliant.

Studies also show that color is a powerful design element that has dramatic effects on how we perceive information from both psychological and physiological reactions. This color palette was tailored to accommodate this audience. Blue has been shown to increase productivity, improve reading comprehension, and promote high levels of thought. It’s also best for learning situations which can be intensely challenging because it has a calming effect on heart rate and the respiratory system. Green is the most restful for the eye which allows it to improve concentration, efficiency, and focus. Orange increases the oxygen supply to the brain while loosening people’s inhibitions. It also leads to feeling invigorated and ready to “get things done,” which is why it tends to be used for emphasis to increase learners’ attention levels.

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