Becoming Authentically Digital

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Museums have been hanging out on the web for almost two decades now, but are still not truly digital. Held back by metaphors left over from their brick-and-mortar operations, museums continue to under-resource, under-prioritise, and under-think their digital efforts. As a result, museums’ digital presences still exist primarily as surrogates for their buildings, and have failed to become the digital temples of innovation, interaction, and experience that they could be. So museums are at a crossroads. They can continue on our current trajectory — a path towards slow death paved with blockbuster exhibitions — or they can become authentically digital, and evolve into the museums that the 21st century needs them to be.

In this talk, Koven J. Smith (museum consultant to the stars and the guy who thought up the phrase “Drinking About Museums”) will address what it will mean for museums to address digital practice as a core function, and how doing so will transform both internal practice and external interaction. Sacred cows will be slaughtered, strawmen will be knocked over with reckless abandon, and half-baked theories will abound. Let’s roll.

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Becoming Authentically Digital

  1. 1. Becoming Authentically DigitalKovenJ.Smith KineticMuseumsConsulting Denver,CO,USA @5easypieces
  2. 2. “...there’s no prize for the best 19th Century enterprise still operating in the 21st Century.” Khoi Vinh (subtraction.com)
  3. 3. TheWebisthefuture!
  4. 4. MichaelEdson(Smithsonian)- “MuseumsInthe AgeofScale” • NGA-4.6millionannualvisitors • Wikipedia-5+billionannualvisitors • Morethanhalfoflearninggoalsnotmet
  5. 5. We’remakingalltheright moves: • Wehave,like,blogsandstuff • We’regettinglikesonFacebook • We’recreatingDigitalMediadepartments • We’rehiringChiefDigitalOfficers • WehavesomanyiPadsonrailings
  6. 6. We’vetrickedourselves.
  7. 7. Tada.
  8. 8. Microsoftdesignprinciples: • Prideincraftsmanship • Befastandfluid • Domorewithless • Winasone • Authenticallydigital
  9. 9. Authenticallydigital: "Insteadoflookingtotherealworldtoinformourdesign metaphors,thisprincipleembracesthelimitlesscapacityof innovationthatisfoundinadigitallandscape.Insteadof awkwardlytryingtotiedigitalassetstotheirreallife counterparts,weembracethepowerofourmedium."
  10. 10. SPARS codes
  11. 11. Yes,indeed.Carloadsof teenagers.
  12. 12. AdrielLuis: Ifmyco-workerssay“Idon’tgetthis,”it’sautomatically inthedigitaldepartment.
  13. 13. (mySociety reviewof Parliament’s onlineofferings) "[D]igital is shorthand for ‘we accept the internet values of usability, needs focus and agility’.”
  14. 14. Yrmuseum’sSPARScode: • Dforusability • Aforagility • Dforneedsfocus
  15. 15. Authenticallydigital: "Insteadoflookingtotherealworldtoinformourdesign metaphors,thisprincipleembracesthelimitlesscapacityof innovationthatisfoundinadigitallandscape.Insteadof awkwardlytryingtotiedigitalassetstotheirreallife counterparts,weembracethepowerofourmedium."
  16. 16. Skeuomorphism: “...designelementsbasedonsymbolsborrowedfromthe realworld,forthesolepurposeofmakinganinterfacelook familiartotheuser...theyarealsorelicsofanothertime, relicsthattieaninterfacetostaticreal-lifeobjectsthatare incompatiblewiththefluidityanddynamismofdigital interfaces."
  17. 17. Ourentireapproachtothe webisbasedon skeuomorphs.
  18. 18. LACMA,1997
  19. 19. Anti-Pattern: Afrequentlyuseddesignpatternthateitheroutrightdoesn’t workoriscounter-productive.
  20. 20. So,um,howdo wedothis?
  21. 21. Keeptheseprinciplesinmind: • Createusableproducts • Focusonrealneeds • Structureforagility • Eliminateskeuomorphsandanti-patterns
  22. 22. 1.Createusableproducts. DanHon:“Onceyou’veseensomethingwithagooduser experience,it’shardtojustifyotherexperiencesinthesame categoryhavingash*ttyuserexperience.”
  23. 23. 2.Focusonrealneed. Bewareof“CaseStudyEnvy.”(h/ttoColleen!)
  24. 24. 3.Structureforagility. Or,whyIdon’tbelieveinDigitalMediadepartments…
  25. 25. 4.Eliminate skeuomorphsand anti-patterns. • “Planyourvisit.” • Objects • Collections • Exhibitions
  26. 26. 5.Touchscreens.
  27. 27. Thanks!KovenJ.Smith KineticMuseumsConsulting readme:kovenjsmith.com hireme:kineticmuseums.com disagreewithme:@5easypieces

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