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Thought Leadership

Welcoming the Widest Possible Audience

Sina Bahram challenges us to use the principles of inclusive design to open up our buildings, content, programming, and experiences

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A man with dark brown hair, a beard, and a mustache. He is wearing a blue button-up shirt and a dark jacket, and is standing outdoors.

Sina BahramPresident, Prime Access Consulting

TitleWelcoming the Widest Possible Audience

Published7/30/2019

Read/View Time54 min


What is accessibility? What is inclusive design? And why are they important? 

More than one billion people in the world have some form of disability, explains Sina Bahram, founder of Prime Access Consulting, in this keynote address delivered at the 2019 Tessitura Learning & Community Conference. Between 110 million and 190 million have significant impairment.

So the most important question is: how do arts and cultural organizations make themselves accessible to everyone, regardless of ability?

A bench in a video room at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Another photo of the same bench at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Sina discusses principles from universal and inclusive design, where the design process is not restricted to interfaces or technologies for which a product, service, or environment is optimized for a specific person with specific needs.

These principles range from equitable use to tolerance for error: Can people with different abilities get an equitable experience? Can people access and interact with your content in their preferred way? Can people appreciate your content without needing much physical effort or dexterity? And can people always return to a known starting point, no matter where they are?

Contemplating these questions can feel daunting. But, Sina emphasizes, inclusion leads to innovation. He provides examples from organizations such as MCA Chicago and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, among others, and offers practical advice for those unsure of where to start.

“You don't have to be an expert... You can influence how others feel.”
 

 

This talk was the keynote address at the 2019 Tessitura Learning and Community Conference in Chicago, Ill. in July 2019.

A man with dark brown hair, a beard, and a mustache. He is wearing a blue button-up shirt and a dark jacket, and is standing outdoors.

Sina Bahram

President

Prime Access Consulting

Sina Bahram is an accessibility researcher, speaker, and entrepreneur.

In 2012 Sina founded the inclusive design firm Prime Access Consulting (PAC) to support building a more inclusive world. He is a recognized expert in accessibility as well as computer science, where he holds multiple degrees and continues to contribute to the academic field.

Sina enjoys collaborating with both colleagues in the field and individuals of diverse professions to devise innovative and user-centered solutions to significant real-world problems. Highlights from his extensive accolades include being recognized in 2012 as a White House Champion of Change by President Barack Obama for his work enabling users with disabilities to succeed in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields; in 2015, the international accessibility community represented by the annual Knowbility Community Heroes of Accessibility Awards recognized Sina as an Emerging Leader in Digital Accessibility; and in 2017, Sina served as the invited co-chair of the Museums and the Web conference.

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