Museums and the Web 2005
Sessions: Abstracts
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Speakers from around the world present their latest work at MW2005.

Let's go mobile! Design issues in multichannel "accessible" applications for cultural heritage

Sebastiano Colazzo, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
Franca Garzotto, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
Paolo Paolini, Politecnico di Milano, Italy

Session: Accessibility

A 'traditional' Web application for cultural heritage (CH) is intended for use in a stationary setting, far away (or at least separated) from the space where CH material resources are located and can be physically perceived by visitors. Mobile technology enables the creation of challenging CH applications that support new on-site experiences for the public and simultaneously expose users to both physical CH resources (e.g., paintings in a museum or ruins in an archaeological park) and digital virtual resources. When "porting" an existing Web site for culture heritage to mobile devices, a number of design issues arise, as we discuss in this paper. We give an overview of both the potential and the limits of mobile technology, and note the implications for application design. We introduce the concept of multi-channel Web applications and explore, from a design perspective, the concept of interoperability. We discuss the issue of location awareness and its design tradeoffs. Finally, we consider the requirements of disabled users, addressing the issues of design for accessibility in mobile applications.