Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) needed an application that would demonstrate best practices for presenting artwork to a community and an audience of varying abilities.
We got to work designing, developing and deploying an iOS-based iBeacon and mobile experience with an application called Access UICA. Universal Mind designed the app with five different types of users in mind: guests living with visual, mobility, hearing, and cognitive impairments, as well as those not living with a disability. The application functions as a way-finding tool and exhibition guide, responding to iBeacons located throughout the exhibit. The iBeacon technology guides guests through each venue and enables an iPhone or iPad to perform actions when nearby.
The use of iBeacons brings relevant artist content to each guest, as they move through the exhibition. By delivering relevant, contextual information to guests appropriate times, we can change the way people consume content. The guest experience is enhanced with audio guides, artist biographies, an interactive map, and details about the works on view, all designed with differently-abled users in mind. Guests can customize their own experience based on their abilities and needs.
The application has been an astounding success. The use of iBeacons has never been used in a museum setting of UICA’s caliber. It provides accessible information about the works included in the DisArt Festival, in use at three venues: UICA, the Grand Rapids Art Museum, and the Fed Galleries at Kendall College of Art and Design.