Visitors want to know 'Why?' (museum handheld guides)

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An exploration of successful mobile interpretation experiences, as seen from the visitors perspective. Presented at the 2009 American Association of Museums conference, Philadephia.

For more info see my blog post at http://musematic.net/?p=639

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  • Great presentation! Relevant to my own research exploring how portable media devices can be used in environmental interpretation to enrich people’s experience and understanding of the natural world.
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Visitors want to know 'Why?' (museum handheld guides)

  1. 1. Visitor’s just want to know ‘why?’ Understanding Museum Handheld Guides Loïc Tallon May 2, 2009 American Association of Museums Conference
  2. 2. My definition: Handheld Guide = audio multimedia GPS RFID pod phone guide
  3. 3. My research question is asked from the visitor’s perspective: “Why in the devil is there an handheld guide, and why should I take it?” (especially if I have to pay extra for it…) This presentation explores that question, (and I tell you why later).
  4. 4. THE SAMPLE GROUP… :-)
  5. 5. A summary of my travels and museum visiting
  6. 6. http://www.wordle.net/
  7. 7. http://www.wordle.net/
  8. 8. Piramids of Giza, Cairo, Egypt.
  9. 9. Reptile Centre, Alice Springs, Australia
  10. 10. Archeological Museum, Amman, Jordan
  11. 11. 257 museums visited History Museums 77 Art Galleries 66 Discovery Centre 55 Historic Site 40 Zoo/Aquarium/Aviary 13 Natural History Museum 6
  12. 12. 63 museums ‘used’ handheld guides 50 were audio 13 were audiovisual / multimedia
  13. 13. 54 museums used dedicated players 9 used consumer devices 20+ different players But that’s all I’m going to say about the hardware, as its not the hardware that struck me as the important part.
  14. 14. SOME PRACTICE EXAMPLES… Pecha Kucha style, I.e. 20 slides, 20 seconds each
  15. 15. Mahrangarh Fort, Johpur, India
  16. 16. 228 Memorial Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
  17. 17. 228 Memorial Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
  18. 18. Future Lab / Louvre DNP, Tokyo, Japan Image ©Photo DNP
  19. 19. Future Lab / Louvre DNP, Tokyo, Japan Image © Photo DNP
  20. 20. Future Lab / Louvre DNP, Tokyo, Japan Image ©Photo DNP
  21. 21. Future Lab / Louvre DNP, Tokyo, Japan Image ©Photo DNP
  22. 22. Ubiquitous Art Tour, @ Galleria, Tokyo, Japan
  23. 23. Ubiquitous Art Tour, @ Galleria, Tokyo, Japan
  24. 24. National Museum of Science & Nature Tokyo, Japan
  25. 25. National Museum, Singapore
  26. 26. National Museum, Singapore
  27. 27. Underwater World, Senosa Island, Singapore
  28. 28. Underwater World, Senosa Island, Singapore
  29. 29. Underwater World, Senosa Island, Singapore
  30. 30. Our Space @ Te Papa, Wellington, New Zealand
  31. 31. Our Space @ Te Papa, Wellington, New Zealand
  32. 32. Our Space @ Te Papa, Wellington, New Zealand
  33. 33. Our Space @ Te Papa, Wellington, New Zealand
  34. 34. The Museum of City and Sea, Wellington, New Zealand
  35. 35. The Museum of City and Sea, Wellington, New Zealand
  36. 36. The Museum of City and Sea, Wellington, New Zealand
  37. 37. WHY DO I SINGLE OUT THESE HANDHELD GUIDES? Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur 228 Memorial Museum, Taipei Future Lab / Louvre DNP, Tokyo Ubiquitous Art Tour @ Galleria, Tokyo National Museum, Singapore Our Space gallery, Te Papa, Wellington Museum of City & Sea, Wellington
  38. 38. What do they all have in common? Not technology / hardware Not type of experience
  39. 39. Moreover, in these museums the… Handheld guide integral to the experience. And invariably: • created an entirely new experience, one otherwise not available • designed for one specific audience
  40. 40. Moreover, in these museums the… Handheld guide integral to the experience. And invariably: • created an entirely new experience, one otherwise not available • designed for one specific audience AND this was communicated to the visitor
  41. 41. To develop & run a handheld guide requires the following: • Hardware / Technology • Content / (an activity) • Content navigation • Content management • In-gallery design • Hardware distribution (infrastructure) • Hardware management • Marketing • Financial
  42. 42. For a museum, all this goes into creating a handheld guide. Content Navigation Hardware In-Gallery Design Content / Activity A Handheld Guide Marketing / Hardware Communication Management Hardware Financial Distribution Content Management System
  43. 43. But, a… Handheld Guides = Visitor Service. It’s the visitor’s perspective that’s important
  44. 44. From the visitors perspective, the most important thing is: “Why in the devil is there an handheld guide, and why should I take it?” (especially if I have to pay for it…)
  45. 45. How do we expect visitors to answer that question?… • Has the museum ‘given’ it to me? • Do I like handheld guides? • Is it important to my visit? • Does it cost extra? • Why do I need it?… But how often do museums provide visitors with information to make that decision?
  46. 46. So, in conclusion, the two most important questions when developing a handheld guide are: 1. Why are we using a handheld guide? • Is it designed into the experience? • Who is the target audience? 2. And how is this communicated to the visitor? And note that neither are about the technology
  47. 47. loic.tallon@gmail.com

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