Shedd Aquarium in Chicago is making a strong move toward universal design, to make sure that this amazing cultural and scientific resource is welcoming and accessible to everyone, including visitors with disabilities.
These new Talking Tactile Maps help visitors understand and navigate Shedd’s many levels and exhibit spaces. Each map depicts nearby spaces at a large scale, with more distant distant destinations and other levels appearing on small scale tactile key plans. Users swipe through Ann alphabetical index, and the follow a rising tone as they slide their finger closer to then index search target.
By placing the map on a floor stand, users in wheelchairs can easily pull up on three sides. The map’s horizontal orientation reduces cognitive load for blind users, who may find it difficult to interpret vertical, wall-mounted maps.
Shedd’s Talking Tactile Maps show the locations of every exhibit that includes tactile materials, such as the talking seahorse and penguin models, various skeletons and fossils, and the stingray touch tank. Those locations are marked with a hand-shaped icon.