NOTE: This site is still a work in progress.  It is being released at this point to recruit additional volunteers to help populate the site and to identify accessibility issues with this unusual format.  Anyone interested in helping with either aspect please write to us at [email protected]

This site has been designed to make one think of virtual/augmented reality which poses new challenges to accessibility.  So we have included features throughout to increase its accessibility and usability by people who use different interfaces to access websites.   It is new however and many aspects have not been tried before.  It also has a lot of different hands working on it, many not as experienced in accessibility, have been involved in entering data into the collaborative site. So the team welcomes any issues found or suggestions from users as to how to improve it.   Please send them to [email protected].

In addition to the normal features like keyboard access, alternative text for images etc, the follow specific measures have been taken to help make the site friendlier to people with disabilities.

Vestibular Disabilities

  • Some of us cannot deal with zooming images without becoming dizzy or experiencing other vestibular effects.  To accommodate them:
    • the entire site can be navigated without experiencing any of the zooming effects.
      • To come to the site, bookmark the Campus “home” view and use it instead of
      • Once on the site, use the handy menu at the top of the page to navigate about the site.  This will jump you from building to building instantly without any motion effects.

People distracted by motion

  • On any screen with animation, clicking on the background will freeze it.

Keyboard users

  • All of the site is designed to be keyboard navigable.  We have found however that some browsers do not put the focus into the page as they should. We recommend trying Chrome if you have trouble.  Again, if you have trouble, check back here for hints and report anything you cannot access.

Access without Sound

  • All of the videos and video clips generated by the FOI team and volunteers have open or closed captions on them.  All of them are played through YouTube so that the standards controls for speed, resolution and closed captioning are available.  All can be z00med to full screen as well to aid in lip reading.
  • All the videos in the Auditorium include a sign language interpreter.

No Vision Access

  • All images should have alternate text on them.  In addition, text on the page or on the link associated with the source of each picture should provide additional longer descriptions of the image and concepts.  Since we have many people of different experience contributing to the site, please report any images you find without alt text and they will be promptly fixed. ([email protected])
  • Each room/context has an audio description of it  available from the speaker icon that provides a verbal description of current room or context.
  • We have provided video descriptions for all video generated by the project that is not just talking heads.  For Workshop presentations that have people talking and showing things at the same time, we have provided ‘extended video descriptions’ where we pause the video and talking in order to be able to describe the visually presented information, and then resume it when there is no gap in the speech long enough to adequately describe what is being presented visually.   In addition we have preserved and posted any descriptive video that accompanied any of the material posted to the site.

Low vision Access

  • All of the videos and video clips generated by the FOI team and volunteers are played through YouTube so that they can be zoomed to full screen on any sized screen for better visibility.
  • Text contrast is 7:1 or better and large menus are 4.5:1 or better  (WCAG level AAA)
  • All of the pages are designed to allow the fonts to be enlarged using standard browser font sizing.  We put no limit on this – so it is possible to zoom the text size so that it is unusable on some screens. We did this however since some people with low vision use larger screens and these larger sizes remain usable to them.
  • As the screen text is zoomed – the menu at the top changes into a “hamburger menu” to make more room for the other text on the screen.
  • There is also a handy and free utility called Morphic that works on both Mac and Windows computers and provides handy screen scaling and magnifier buttons that may also be useful to people with low vision who do not already have screen magnifiers that they use.  It is a small, compact, open-source utility provided free by non-profit Raising the Floor and is available at

Deaf-Blind Access

  • In addition to the descriptive video, we have provided full text scripts of the videos generated by the project and are adding them to other key video segments in the Exploratorium as well.  A “text script” provides all of the audio and visual information from a movie in a text file that can be zoomed to any size, or presented to a user through their braille display. If a full script is available for videos in the Exploratorium, a “Text Script of Video” link will appear below the video.   Here is an example.  Text scripts are provided for all of the presentations in the Auditorium.  They are also available for selected videos from others in the Exploratorium.  More are being added as volunteers adept at doing Text Scripts are available.

Accessibility in the Virtual Future of Interface World

  • You will also find accessibility incorporated throughout the design of the FOI virtual world
    • No steps anywhere including access to the stage in the Auditorium
    • Wheelchair users can sit anywhere in the audience
    • Braille included on displays in the Exploratorium  (as well as audio navigation and audio description of displays)
    • People with different disabilities can be found throughout the space