The Audio Guide application, created by Mobile3D as part of the COME-IN! Project, is inspired by the simplicity of using an audio guide, a familiar and familiar tool to visit a museum. Starting from the accessibility needs of people with visual impairments, who have experienced the phases of realization of the instrument, Audio Guide is proposed as a universal aid to the museum visit.
Its essential graphics make it easy to use and facilitate the use of the smartphone’s system accessibility features, such as reading the screen (Voice Over for Apple, TalkBack for Android): by touching the different areas of a screen, the system provides the vocal information of the command you are about to give and then, with a quick double-touch, confirms the action producing the desired effect. It is a standard interaction mode, familiar to people with visual impairments, which allows easy access to the description of a museum room or a single object.
The textual content is transmitted by reading with a synthetic voice (text-to-speach), which people with visual disabilities prefer to the audio tracks recorded by an actor because it allows to control the reading mode, in particular the speed, and to scan individual lines of text, words and even characters.
The inclusiveness of this tool is determined by the fact that these properties remain hidden from the user who has not activated the accessibility features on the smartphone and can therefore use Audio Guide almost like a conventional audio guide. “Almost” because Audio Guide is equipped with automatic localization features: thanks to the infrastructure of the museum with Beacon technology, the app automatically provides content based on the visitor’s location.
For people with visual impairments, localization is an aid to orientation in exhibition spaces and facilitates the identification of tactile and multisensory workstations, offering a richer and more inclusive experience.
Inclusiveness is implemented by the presence of translations (audio and text) in Italian, English and French, offering an opportunity for assisted visits to foreign users and people with hearing disabilities. Finally, the museum tour and numerous Audio Guide contents are enriched by videos interpreted in the Italian language of signs.