Multimedia for families

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As more and more art museums develop multimedia and mobile guides to be part of their interpretive offerings for visitors, some are developing guides specifically for family audiences. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art have both made that decision, and are using evaluation to develop and refine their guides in order to provide engaging and valuable experiences for families. A front-end study at the Nelson-Atkins surveyed parents about their preferences for mobile guide content from their own perspectives as adult learners, from their perspectives as parents, and from the perspectives of their children. A summative study of the Whitney’s Biennial 2012 multimedia guide explored the ways families use this type of interpretive device, as well as the their perspectives about the impact and value of the multimedia guide experience. Hear what lessons have been learned through evaluation at these two museums about developing family multimedia and mobile tours, and discover how they are impacting family visitor experiences.

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  • Primarily make use of the audio componentsAccess the guide near the artLocate the # on the wall label and key into keypadLack of awareness that features existedPerceived as distractingSome overwhelmed by all the optionsChildren used the adult audio feature, although less frequently than they used the Kid’s Tour. Reasons they gave for using the adult audio include: Not all artists had Kid’s Tour audio (adult only option) Curiosity to hear the adult version Perception that the Kid’s Tour was “too easy”Kid’s Tour primarily used by childrenAdult non-users felt it was either “not for them” or they “didn’t have time”Parents were more likely to listen to the Kid’s Tour than other adultsdesire to know what children were listening to desire to evaluate developmental appropriatenessAdults users (without children) mostly listened to Herzog stop (no adult audio)Were curious about Whitney’s approach to interpretation for childrenPerceived the Kid’s Tour as more accessible / lively than adult version Children more likely to watch videos (Sample size small: more research needed to know if trend would hold up with a larger sample)
  • All of the children (100%) were observed having conversations with others in their group68% were observed intentionally synching their guides with their parents’ to ensure a shared experienceSome children spend time using the guide alone – however, less so than adult only groups
  • Focus group participants were asked to discuss what they enjoyed most, as well as what they perceived were the greatest benefits and value of, the multimedia guide.
  • Encourages more focused viewing of the art-worksDescribed by some as “slowing down the experience”
  • Focus group participants were asked whether there were any suggestions for how they might improve the multimedia guide.
  • Questions as a valuable and effective strategy for encouraging looking skills (e.g. What made you think of that?Have things moving or flashing to stimulate interest
  • During one of the Family focus groups, a discussion about ways to make the multimedia guide more social led to a discussion among the group about whether a Kid’s Tour is really the same thing as a “Family Tour.” By and large, most participants (adults and children)
  • Due to quick turnaround time for exhibitions, small staff, and relatively small budgets – multimedia guides have not been created for family audience since the biennialHowever, we have been creating more print-based family resources – such as drawing guides, and family guides for special exhibitions
  • Multimedia for families

    1. 1. Multimedia & Mobile Tours for Families: How are they used and valued? Presented by: Jeanine Ancelet, Audience Focus Emily Black, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Sharisse Butler, Slover-Linnett March 7, 2013 National Art Education Association Annual Meeting
    2. 2. Front-End Research: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art The Situation The Approach The Key Findings
    3. 3. Front-End Research at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: The Situation• Limited budget• Acknowledgement of the work of other organizations• Awareness of multiple perspectives: adult learners, parents, and children
    4. 4. Front-End Research at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: The Situation• IMLS GOALS – To target and cultivate a growing population of mobile users onsite at the Nelson-Atkins. – To offer opportunities for families to learn and discover together. – To foster intergenerational experiences using mobile devices. – To employ mobile as a platform for uncovering multiple perspectives and unique stories about art. – To encourage multiple visits.
    5. 5. Front-End Research at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: The Approach• Online survey format – Landscape review and prioritization of online assets – Survey hyperlinks to these existing assets – Respondents rank and rate, and respond to open-ends – Frequent reminders to respond to content (rather than design) and see them as examples• Recruitment of parents – Collaborative – Similar recruitment process as focus groups – Method allows for parents flexibility in responding
    6. 6. Front-End Research at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: The Approach (continued)• Deliberately capturing multiple perspectives: adult learners, parents, and children – Asked to respond to individual questions 3 times: 1. according to your own personal preference 2. according to what you as a parent would want your child(ren) to experience 3. according to what you believe your child(ren) would prefer
    7. 7. Front-End Research at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: The Key Findings• Content preferences – Parents are highly interested in hearing the perspectives of artists (for themselves and for their children), and less interested in hearing from “experts” – Parents want their children to see how objects are made and/or used – Some differences emerged depending upon the perspective applied – Parents want the content to inspire their children’s creativity• Who is the audience? – Parents, children, or families?
    8. 8. Front-End Research at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: LESSONS LEARNED• Family Mobile Guide • Current state: Working with IMAlabs to produce game modules that fulfill the needs revealed in the front-end evaluation. – Picture taking and upload: User sends a postcard or posts photos to social media outlets – Polls – Likes/Ratings – Word Scramble – Spot the Difference – Word Cloud – Picture Scramble • Create content and mobile experiences that offer opportunities for families to learn together. • Experiment weekly with visitors onsite about content modules and themes. Wireframes and design are also informed by weekly visitor input.
    9. 9. Biennial 2012 Multimedia Guide Summative Evaluation Study
    10. 10. The Multimedia Guide Features artists’ voices 50 audio stops for adults 14 audio stops for children 19 videos (intros to art, voices of curators and artists) + 1 access video Access components (transcripts, sound descriptions, variable text size, CC)
    11. 11. Purpose of the StudyHow do families use the multimedia guide? What do they perceive is the value?Build staff capacity in evaluation methods and approaches, specifically observations Inform future multimedia approaches at the Whitney
    12. 12. EVALUATION DESIGNMethods Focusedobservations 2 Focus groupdiscussionsParticipants 33 adults and childrenbetween the ages of 8-13
    13. 13. KEY RESULTS USE OF DEVICE Used like a traditional audio guide Adults listen to Kid’s Tour; Kids listen to Adult audio Videos used less frequently  Kids used the videos more Transcripts used by some as a “portable wall text”
    14. 14. Key ResultsChild/Family Interactions  Children more likely to use guide socially than adults  Variety of family social approaches –  Let’s stick together  Split and rejoin, Split and rejoin  Go it alone – then debrief
    15. 15. Key ResultsFamilies especially value multimedia guideexperiences that:  Engage children – stimulate interest/curiosity  Stimulate thinking  Encouraged focused and careful looking  Stimulate conversation
    16. 16. Thought-ProvokingParents and children especially value inquiry-based approaches – including questions, pauses for reflection, opportunities for connections, and prompts for follow-up discussions/conversation. I like how it asked questions… it made me actually think about the art. - childWith questions, you have time to actually think about it. - child
    17. 17. Focused LookingParents, in particular, value experiences that focus and engage their children Sometimes children just walk around a little and then are like “oh, let’s go.” This keeps them a little more focused and engaged with what they are looking at.
    18. 18. Stimulates Conversation Parents and children discussed the value of having future guides function with the goal of conversation in mind We like to talk about how people create things or the process. – Parent Overall, [the guide] could have been more ways to get engaged. It might have added more value if it transformed into ways to discuss the work. - Parent
    19. 19. Recommenda t i onsThe “voice” mattersIf you WANT to make it social…Our definition of “Interactive” and “Multimedia”Let us choose (and have lots of options)Kid’s Tour is NOT the same as a Family TourIf you want us to watch the videos…
    20. 20. The Voice Matters Have children narrate children’s audio Use child-friendly vocabulary and language No lecture-style approach Tone more conversational and natural If you have curators and artists, have them have a conversation or a back-and-forth exchange of ideas Have the same content for the adults and kids, but use different narrators
    21. 21. If you WANT to make it social… Incorporate a “splitter” Incorporate [clearly indicated] stopping points Have more comfortable seating Incorporate social media functions Incorporate question Have different versions – group experience; solitary experience
    22. 22. Our definition of “Interactive” Incorporate “questions” Make the home screen more “live.” Have pop-up question prompts NO lecture-style narration approach Have opportunities to sketch or draw Have the option to “like” your favorite artworks Click on specific areas within artwork to find out more Have something akin to a treasure hunt for children
    23. 23. Let Us Choose (and have lots of options)Want multiple options for interpretationValue choice over level of information they wanted Always include a “2nd level” way of listening every time Have the option to use your own device (smart phone), or borrow one from the museum
    24. 24. Kid’s Tour is NOT the same as Family Tour Kids tour is different from a family tour determines how families approach and engage with the experience With a Kid’s Tour, we are free like birds, but a Family tour with questionswould put us together as a family, rather than kid and adult.
    25. 25. If you want us to watch the videos…Have comfortable seatingHave “Google goggles” for a “heads- up” display that projects graphics onto a screenMake the videos shorterVideos should be more than “talking heads”
    26. 26. Lessons Learned at the Whitney Should content for families be interactive or solitary? Should we have interactive discussion prompts? How can we make it less of an adapted audio guide and more of an “experience?” For games or interactive multimedia – how do we make it adaptable enough to stand up over time, but specific enough to be interesting? Is it really worth the money and energy to produce multimedia guides, or could they get the same experience and value some other way?
    27. 27. Discussion Question #1• Have you seen examples of interpretive materials that hit the mark in being designed for families (not only children or only parents)?
    28. 28. Discussion Question #2• What issues, challenges, questions are you currently facing when thinking about family audiences and engagement with new media?

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