Design and Development Strategies for Building a Museum iTunes U Site, and the Perplexities of Apple’s Site Design
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Design and Development Strategies for Building a Museum iTunes U Site, and the Perplexities of Apple’s Site Design

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iTunes U is a rapidly growing international platform for institutions interested in distributing their educational content broadly. Although there are more than 1,000 institutions contributing content ...

iTunes U is a rapidly growing international platform for institutions interested in distributing their educational content broadly. Although there are more than 1,000 institutions contributing content to iTunes U, iTunes U is much less noisy than other platforms such as YouTube. Understanding the iTunes U environment, and audience behavior is critical to competing favorably in that space. Through an extended process of planning and investigation, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) peeled back the layers of iTunes U and developed strategies for target audiences, market segmentation, and promotion. The approach was methodical, thorough, research-based, and creative, and it followed best practices for site development from Apple Inc. and user-centered design. This presentation will outline the design and development process for creating an institutional iTunes U site and also the strategy NMNH used to position this media platform to be successful.

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  • iTunes U is the educational branch of iTunes. It started with just hosting content suitable at the university level, it has since expanded and now offers content to grade schools Kindergarten through 12th grade. \n
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  • This is a map of where iTunes, which iTunes U, was available in 2011. In June of this year, Apple launched iTunes in 32 more countries increasing their worldwide access, and, by extension, your content’s worldwide access. \n
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  • two screenshots from videos from harvard and a university in Germany (ludwig-maximillians-universitat munchen)\n
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  • There’s a limit to the number of characters that can be displayed, especially on ipad/iphone which lacks mouse-over support, so it’s important to get across your important ideas in the first words. \n
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  • it’s really critical to brand your collection thumbnails because of how users get to your itunes page\n
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  • So this is what the page looks like if I clicked on that Volcanoes with Liz collection. \n
  • Here you see that branding again on the thumbail. \n
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  • A major issue for Apple is their use of the term ‘collection.’ For us, we want a collection to be a big group of objects. Like having an Anthropology collection. This doesn’t work for Apple. In Apple nomenclature, a collection is a specific playlist like videos on Etruscan Pottery and a “tag page” (in this case a tag page of Anthropology) would brings multiple playlists like Etruscan Pottery and Greek Archaeology together. \n
  • A major issue for Apple is their use of the term ‘collection.’ For us, we want a collection to be a big group of objects. Like having an Anthropology collection. This doesn’t work for Apple. In Apple nomenclature, a collection is a specific playlist like videos on Etruscan Pottery and a “tag page” (in this case a tag page of Anthropology) would brings multiple playlists like Etruscan Pottery and Greek Archaeology together. \n
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  • Clean vs explicit.\niPads being used in the classroom can set preferences to exclude content\n
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  • Here’s an example of a collection that is too broad, much like our Anthropology collection would be. \n\nWant users to know what they can expect out of your collection because they subscribe. \n
  • Here’s an example of a collection that is too broad, much like our Anthropology collection would be. \n\nWant users to know what they can expect out of your collection because they subscribe. \n
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  • Tag pages can have unique URLs, meaning you can link to them from your website. Don’t assume people are coming to your main page and that you bury this organizational feature at the bottom of this main page. \n
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  • To give context, YouTube had 123,338 plays during this same year period. \n\n\n
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  • So if we take a look at our iTunes U plays on a graph, this is what we get. \n
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  • I cannot understate the value of museums utilizing iTunes U for delivering educational media, especially with the rising popularity of smartphones and tablets. For NMNH, adding iTunes U as a media dissemination platform has almost tripled the reach of media and educational content just in the past year. \n
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Design and Development Strategies for Building a Museum iTunes U Site, and the Perplexities of Apple’s Site Design Design and Development Strategies for Building a Museum iTunes U Site, and the Perplexities of Apple’s Site Design Presentation Transcript

  • Design and Development Strategies forBuilding a Museum iTunes U Site, and thePerplexities of Apple’s Site DesignKatie Velazco / velazcok@si.edu; @velazcok Smithsonian National Musem of Natural History
  • Milestones 2001: iTunes is introduced as Apple’s digital media player application 2003: iTunes Music Store launched and is now the #1 music vendor in the world 2004: iTunes service added to other countries besides the US 2007: iTunes U announced to manage, distribute, and control access to educational audio and video content and PDF files for students 2012: iTunes U launches Courses
  • Why iTunes U? over 1.5 million iPads in use in education institutions over 1,000 one-to-one iPad deployments in K-12 schools over 700 million downloads at iTunes U over past 5 years over 500,000 learning objects available on iTunes U over 1,000 institutions around the world using iTunes U over 40,000 ‘education and learning’ applications available for iPad
  • Availability of iTunes Store *countries in green are where iTunes Store is currently available as of 2011
  • NMNH iTunes ULaunched October 2011
  • Development ProcessDiscovery benchmarking sites for best practices
  • Development ProcessDiscovery benchmarking sites for best practices
  • Development ProcessDiscovery benchmarking sites for best practices
  • Development ProcessDiscovery benchmarking sites for best practices
  • Development ProcessDiscovery benchmarking sites for best practices site design and IA
  • Development Process
  • Development ProcessDiscovery benchmarking sites for best practices site design and IA gap analysis
  • Development ProcessDiscovery benchmarking sites for best practices, site design, site design and IA—Each person gap analysis--key word searches against NMNH t
  • Development ProcessDiscovery benchmarking sites for best practices, site design, site design and IA—Each person on the team gap analysis--key word searches against NMNH
  • Development ProcessDiscovery benchmarking sites for best practices, site design, site design and IA—Each person on the team cre gap analysis--key word searches against NMNH
  • Development ProcessDiscovery benchmarking sites for best practices site design and IA gap analysis quality analysis
  • Development ProcessDiscovery benchmarking sites for best practices site design and IA gap analysis quality analysis - are we game?
  • Development ProcessDiscovery benchmarking sites for best practices, site design, site design and IA gap analysis--ke quality analysis
  • Development ProcessDiscovery benchmarking sites for best practices site design & IA research gap analysis quality analysis information architecture assessed NMNH assets for 1) topics, 2) iTunes U appropriateness, 3) decided what collections we wanted and what we could create (need min # of assets)
  • Development ProcessAudiences Gen Y and Millennials—raise awareness of NMNH research and collections, using shorter video podcasts on behind-the-scenes and popular topics Students, pre-professionals, and professionals—scientific lectures Museum professionals and pre-professionals—video podcasts on museum studies
  • Development ProcessDesign
  • Development ProcessDesign
  • Development ProcessDesign
  • Development ProcessDesign
  • Development ProcessDesign
  • Development ProcessDesign Developed major IA categories and subcategories & used wire frames Featured, Research Areas, Museum Edu & Lectures
  • Development ProcessDesign Developed major IA categories and subcategories & used wire frames Featured, Research Areas, Museum Edu & Lectures
  • Development ProcessDesign Developed major IA categories and subcategories & used wire frames Featured, Research Areas, Museum Edu & Lectures Created titles that show key words that work with key word searches
  • Development ProcessDesign Developed major IA categories and subcategories & used wire frames Featured, Research Areas, Museum Edu & Lectures Created titles that show key words that work with key word searches
  • Development ProcessDesign Developed major IA categories and subcategories & used wire frames Featured, Research Areas, Museum Edu & Lectures Created titles that show key words that work with key word searches Created descriptive text for each collection
  • Development ProcessDesign Developed major IA categories and subcategories & used wire frames Featured, Research Areas, Museum Edu & Lectures Created titles that show key words that work with key word searches Created descriptive text for each collection
  • Development ProcessDesign Developed major IA categories and subcategories & used wire frames Featured, Research Areas, Museum Edu & Lectures Created titles that show key words that work with key word searches Created descriptive text for each collection IA design was restricted by Apple’s method of featuring collections
  • Best Practices
  • Best PracticesRedo the entire IA
  • Best Practices
  • Best PracticesRedo the entire IA
  • Best PracticesRedo the entire IA Nonmenclature issue: “Collections” are small groups of content, alike in topic, format, and duration (e.g., video podcast on Etruscan Pottery or an audio podcast about Greek Archaeology by a particular curator) “Tag Pages” are pages that group collections together (e.g., Anthropology)
  • Best Practices
  • Best PracticesRedo the entire IA
  • Best PracticesRedo the entire IA Collections should contain between 5–15 pieces of media Collections should be SPECIFIC (i.e., Darwin, not Evolution in general) Optimize for possible promotion Focus on the search function of iTunes and not your storefront
  • Development Process Review TRUST and WAG committees at NMNH, 40+ people were invited to provide feedback
  • Development Process Strategic Promotion NMNH timed the launch of site with Dinosaur month, a topic our gap analysis indicated was thin on iTunes U, so we could stand out.
  • Development Process Strategic Promotion NMNH timed the launch of site with Dinosaur month, a topic our gap analysis indicated was thin on iTunes U, so we could stand out. Need to have a marketing plan!
  • Year 1 Metrics Total Browses: 301,766 Total Subscriptions: 31,805 Total Previews (streams): 113,150 Total Downloads: 160,707 Total Plays (downloads + previews): 273,857
  • Didn’t add any newcontent for ~8 months.
  • Another view of content plays over1 month, 6 months, and 12 months.Most plays of our top collectionshappened right after initial launch.
  • Top 10 Collections Most plays come in the form of downloads.
  • 4 of top 10 collections featured lectures.
  • How To Get StartedLink from iTunes U page on Apple to the Public SiteManager Enrollment form (https://eduapp.apple.com/) Application and approval process
  • How To Get StartedLink from iTunes U page on Apple to the Public SiteManager Enrollment form (https://eduapp.apple.com/) Application and approval process Thank you! Katie Velazco velazcok@si.edu; @velazcok SmithsonianNational Musem of Natural History