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Presentation on participatory design research process undertaken by CHS for now unbuilt Connecticut History Center.

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  1. 1. Community Participation in Defining the Connecticut History Center The Connecticut Historical Society Museum Results of the participatory design activities conducted by SonicRim
  2. 2. Who We Are <ul><li>James Jensen, Lead Exhibit Developer, CHS </li></ul><ul><li>Kate Steinway, Deputy Director for Interpretation, CHS </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Couldn’t be with us today… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Uday Dandavate, Principal, SonicRim </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Couldn’t be with us today… </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Introduction to CHS <ul><li>Located in Hartford, CT </li></ul><ul><li>7th oldest state historical society in the nation </li></ul><ul><li>Museum and research library, public programs </li></ul><ul><li>Actively moving to audience focused activities since 1995 </li></ul><ul><li>Still has a fairly low profile in local marketplace </li></ul><ul><li>Constrained by a converted mansion with little exhibit space </li></ul><ul><ul><li>less than 8, 000 sq ft </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Introduction to the CHC <ul><li>Project to develop 120, 000 sq ft “Connecticut History Center” began in 2001 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Move to new site </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Concept document outlines variety of experiences for CHC </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Exhibits and programs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Proposed exhibit sizes range from 2, 000 sq ft to </li></ul><ul><li>5, 000 sq ft </li></ul>
  5. 5. Introduction to the Project <ul><li>The concepts are really just outlines </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ranging from a few paragraphs to several pages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Totally lacking in detail – content or interactives </li></ul></ul><ul><li>CHS wanted to explore potential visitors’ reactions to the concepts outlined prior to investing additional efforts in developing them more fully </li></ul>
  6. 6. Need for a New Approach <ul><li>We hope the CHC will be innovative and fresh in approach </li></ul><ul><li>Thought it made sense to get “ WAY out of the box” to achieve that </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional audience research approaches “feel” too reactive, not proactive or “involving” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Too easy for good ideas to “die” because they are not actually experienced </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Pen and paper survey, interviews out </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We lacked sufficient detail to develop comprehensive questions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Focus groups out </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How do you convey and test such loose ideas? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Felt showing sketches/visuals would be misleading </li></ul></ul><ul><li>So how would we test what we had? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Who Are SonicRim? <ul><li>Provider of “design research” </li></ul><ul><li>Spin-off from Fitch Inc., an international design house. </li></ul><ul><li>Multi-disciplinary teams comprising of design, psychology, anthropology, marketing and business strategy backgrounds. </li></ul><ul><li>Brought user experience understanding to Blockbuster Video, TCBY, Petsmart, BJ’s, Hush Puppies. </li></ul><ul><li>They’re in Columbus, OH, and also San Francisco. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  8. 8. SonicRim’s Role <ul><li>Inform and inspire the conceptualization process through innovative research </li></ul><ul><li>Conceptualize tools for innovation </li></ul><ul><li>Explore collective creativity </li></ul><ul><li>Help understand everyday people. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  9. 9. Participatory Design <ul><li>When designers need user input that can be used in design, both for generating new themes for design and for evaluating existing concepts, it is most valuable to talk to the end users in a language that they think in when they choose new products or places </li></ul><ul><li>People think in the language of experience </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For example, people are more comfortable imagining how they want to feel and what they want to find in an environment than about how the environment should change </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. When you involve ordinary people in the design development process, you begin to see with new eyes. Participatory Design
  11. 11. Participatory Design mindset requires respect for new principles. Participatory Design mindset
  12. 12. Implication: Use their dreams as “design seeds” All people have dreams 1
  13. 13. 2 People are creative Implication: Give them different types of participatory tools to promote creativity in their thinking.
  14. 14. Implication: Encourage people to externalize their imagination. People will fill in what is unseen and unsaid based on their imagination. 3
  15. 15. 4 Implication: Use ambiguous visual stimuli to make the tacit explicit. People project their needs onto ambiguous stimuli because they are driven to make meaning.
  16. 16. Participatory Design <ul><li>Searches for patterns in user needs in experiential terms </li></ul><ul><li>Focused on the potential experience as opposed to the desired features </li></ul><ul><li>In traditional research, when offered choices of features, users react based on momentary or limited understanding of how those features might impact their experiences </li></ul><ul><li>Design ideas developed around such momentary considerations are more likely to fail than those developed around experiential criteria </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>In order to cover a broad range of user perspectives, we conducted research at the following locations: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Minnesota History Center, St. Paul, Minnesota </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, Connecticut </li></ul></ul>Where Did We Go?
  18. 18. <ul><li>SonicRim uses a Path of Expression model for developing the research plan and tools </li></ul><ul><li>Each step along the Path of Expression uses different methods and tools to prepare people to imagine new ideas and be able to express the ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Each step along the path is described on the following slides </li></ul>Our approach: The Path of Expression Project ideal experiences Integrate designer concepts Generate personalized concepts Explore current experiences
  19. 19. <ul><li>1. Ethnographic observations at museums: </li></ul><ul><li>• We observed visitor: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>behaviors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>emotions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>moods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>interactions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>questions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>frustrations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Short participatory workshops at museums: </li></ul><ul><li>• We recruited visitors at MHC and at CHS. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We gave them a workbook and Polaroid camera to record their observations and feelings during the visit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Invited them to join the research team for a half-hour workshop where we elicited ideas for the new museum experience </li></ul></ul>How Did We Do It? Explore
  20. 20. <ul><li>3. Participatory workshops with recent visitors to museums: </li></ul><ul><li>• Pre-recruited 24 individuals in Hartford who had visited a museum within the past six months; </li></ul><ul><li>• Conducted four two-hour participatory workshops where we tapped their creative imagination through the Path of Expression </li></ul>How Did We Do It?
  21. 21. <ul><li>We recruited 4 groups of users: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Families </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Individuals in the age group of 7- to 10-years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Individuals in the age group of 30- to 40-years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Individuals in the age group of 41- to 55-years </li></ul></ul>Who Participated?
  22. 22. <ul><li>The participants were then involved in activities that facilitated their imagining and expressing ideal experiences at museums </li></ul>How Did We Do It? Project
  23. 24. <ul><li>Finally, we provided generic design components to the participants so that they could embody a concept of their personalized museum experience/ space </li></ul><ul><li>They had the option of imagining multiple ideas to serve multiple needs </li></ul>How Did We Do It? Generate
  24. 26. <ul><li>We presented the participants a visual collage and written description of seven CHC concepts </li></ul><ul><li>The collages were then projected on a screen and the written descriptions were read to them </li></ul><ul><li>They were then asked to rank the concepts on a scale of 1 to 7 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I like it 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 I don’t like it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I need it 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 I don’t need it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I want it 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 I don’t want it </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The participants used the framework of their ideal experiences (articulated in the previous step) for comparison </li></ul>How Did We Do It? Integrate
  25. 27. Immerse Yourself in History
  26. 28. Encounters
  27. 29. Ingenious Products
  28. 30. How Did We Do It? Sample Prompt
  29. 31. <ul><li>We used multivariate scaling techniques to find patterns in people’s aspirations for experiences. </li></ul>Analysis
  30. 32. <ul><li>Visual tools of representing information helps communicate patterns in people’s aspirations quicker than volumes of reports. </li></ul>Analysis
  31. 33. Findings I <ul><li>Too many to report here… </li></ul><ul><li>Overall, the research suggested a significant expansion from the traditional focus of a historical society </li></ul><ul><li>Documented the patterns discovered in the experiences people want in their ideal experience at the CHC </li></ul><ul><li>These patterns will serve as user-experience criteria for design </li></ul><ul><li>We have a good sense of which concepts resonate, which don’t and what we need to do to move them forward </li></ul>Now Past Nature Culture Creativity
  32. 34. Findings II <ul><li>The Model/Framework </li></ul><ul><li>Strengthen connection to the world around them. </li></ul><ul><li>Cultivate a sense of comfort in who they are, in the midst of a seemingly chaotic world. </li></ul><ul><li>Discover inspiration from exploring the nature, culture, and creativity that surrounds them. </li></ul><ul><li>Understand the present with an appreciation for the influence of the past. </li></ul><ul><li>Good use of time with family. </li></ul>
  33. 35. Findings III <ul><li>CHS now has a template/model for the site of the new building </li></ul><ul><li>CHS has a strong conceptual model for the entire experience of visiting the CHC </li></ul><ul><li>This conceptual model also ties together the various exhibit concepts </li></ul>
  34. 36. Implications/Impact at CHS <ul><li>We are excited and energized by the results and what the findings mean </li></ul><ul><li>We are convinced that we could not have discovered what we did using any other means </li></ul><ul><li>We can begin to revise and adjust concepts without having expended a great effort to make them “testable” </li></ul><ul><li>Impacting significantly how we approach the design and development of exhibits and programs for the existing facility too </li></ul><ul><li>Calling CHS a museum </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Calling it a society is perceived as a club with restricted membership” </li></ul></ul>
  35. 37. Lessons for Other Institutions <ul><li>Talking to your visitors and involving them in the development of the products you offer is important </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Helps escape “expert” syndrome; they see the problem space with fresh eyes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s usually fun too! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If you need to, do research somewhere else! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Try your local library, or other museum </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Looking outside traditional audience research methodologies and suppliers can be useful </li></ul><ul><ul><li>But doing ANY audience research is better than doing none – interviews, surveys, focus groups are OK! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Audience research need not be this complex or expensive to pay real dividends </li></ul><ul><ul><li>There are organizations and publications that can help you get started </li></ul></ul>
  36. 38. Places to Start <ul><li>Visitor Studies Association </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>AAM Committee on Audience Research and Evaluation (CARE) </li></ul><ul><li>AAM Bookstore </li></ul><ul><li>AASLH Bookstore </li></ul><ul><li>Me! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Call or email with questions… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>860-236-5621 ext. 257 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul>
  37. 39. Thank You!