Accessibility and autonomy in cultural attractions

Alistair is shown outside against a bright blue sky and water. His hair is in a side parting, and he has a short white beard and thin-rimmed glasses. He is wearing a light blue shirt and light grey cardigan.Invitations, welcomes and information architectures for independence.

Using project experience from work with UK Research and Innovation, English Heritage, National Trust, and the pan-European NEO project, this talk is about how digital, physical and mixed reality design enables agency and autonomy for people visiting museums and other cultural attractions.

  • How to think about human perception and emotion in terms of anxiety and anticipation.
  • How to use content and service design to invite and welcome people to new spaces and enjoy new experiences.

Accessibility is the start.

  • How do we let go of control and meaningfully support autonomy and independence?
  • How do we use design for diversity and divergence so people can flourish and bring out their own ways of being and creating into the mixture of spaces we invite them into?


Alastair Somerville is a sensory design consultant. He provides expert advice on cognition and person-centered design to companies and public organisations who provide both physical and digital products or services. He facilitates workshops on sensory and emotional design as well as accessible information architecture and wayfinding for corporations and cultural attractions and conferences across the world. He is currently working on wayfinding projects for the National Trust in England and museums in Germany and Sweden.