Mobility at the Cooper Hewitt

Project Overview

Through qualitative methods like photo voice, interviewing and survey research, this team is focusing on compiling information about the Cooper Hewitt’s exhibition layout needs for people that use wheelchairs.

For Whom? People with mobility impairments.

Mobility impairment refers to the inability of a person to use one or more of his/her extremities, or a lack of strength to walk, grasp, or lift objects. The use of a wheelchair, crutches, or a walker may be utilized to aid in mobility. Mobility impairment may be caused by a number of factors, such as disease, an accident, or a congenital disorder and may be the result of neuro-muscular and orthopedic impairments.

-usually need assistance(wheelchair, walker, accompany etc.)
-move relatively slow
-need more space
-lower eye level

Related Links:

Why You Shouldn’t Touch Disabled People (or Anyone) Without Permission


Big Problems

  1. The space and hallways are small…

maybe not too small for one wheelchair, but definitely too small for two

2. In term of space arrangement

Primary Research: Exhibition Layout Principle

Space planning:

…every path the navigator can take through the space. Opportunities for detours, side-tours, and exploration can branch off of this main path, eventually returning to resume the main story.


Don’t give the user too many choices in navigation

Interactive Media Access:


…strives to be among the nation’s dynamic art museums by exhibiting its permanent collection and special exhibitions on widely diverse subjects in ways that combine the highest aesthetic standards with engaging and intellectually accessible presentations.


The National Museum of Australia:

…This policy recognizes the national focus of the Museum’s role, and the need to deliver exhibitions through a network of venues and by the innovative use of new and emerging technologies, as well as by traditional methods. It also recognizes the importance of community involvement in the development and delivery of the Museum’s exhibition program.


Encourage group interaction and discussion. Since most visitors come in groups, and since visiting is very often a social experience, engagement can be increased if group members discuss exhibit content together.

-Process Lab design test!

In term of capacity


digital map:


week 9,10 – tour with users(playtest, interviews, observations), more research,

rethink our ideas, back to ideation and design

week 11 – design and prototyping

week 12 – prototyping and testing