Accessible Maps and Welcoming Places

A presentation at A11yIRL in in Toronto, ON, Canada by Alastair Somerville

Maps help define the territories we can explore. In creating accessible spaces and turning them into inclusive places, maps can help many people with differing physical and cognitive capacities. This talk will use an international museum project to talk about the design of accessible maps, both as physical and information artefacts. It will show some ways information is reworked for multi-modal comprehension and how maps can assist people in more ways than simply finding their location. The talk will also discuss how such maps often fail and in what ways we can mitigate some failures. Accessible places need to be welcoming spaces. Maps help provide that good welcome: giving a sense of direction, an idea of what is valuable to visit and of how a person can be confident in the confusing excitement of new places.