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MW2011: J. Flemming +, Launching the MFA Multimedia Guide
 

MW2011: J. Flemming +, Launching the MFA Multimedia Guide

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For the opening of the Museum's new Art of the Americas wing, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston embarked upon a sweeping new program to transform the traditional audio guide into a new iPod Touch-based ...

For the opening of the Museum's new Art of the Americas wing, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston embarked upon a sweeping new program to transform the traditional audio guide into a new iPod Touch-based multimedia guide. This ambitious endeavor was fraught with challenges as diverse as managing content production at a new scale and determining how to reliably charge 750 devices at a time.

In this session, MFA New Media team members will share lessons learned from our large-scale project, including points such as:

Strategy - determining the best direction for our visitors and institution
Planning and evaluation - prototype testing of content and the device
Offerings - features and tours (adult, kids, foreign language, special exhibition, and audio described guides)
Content production - moving production in house while still leveraging experts
CMS - selecting and enhancing the guide content management solution
Updating content - crafting a solution for making content updates manageable
Security - protecting the investment
Equipment - cases, headphones, lanyards, chargers and more
Operations - managing workflow, training, and rental and return
Future growth - where we'll be heading next
The MFA uses TAP as the CMS, with a modified/customized TAP app as the user interface. We use the Nous case and a homegrown charging solution.

A presentation from Museums and the Web 2011 (MW2011).

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MW2011: J. Flemming +, Launching the MFA Multimedia Guide MW2011: J. Flemming +, Launching the MFA Multimedia Guide Presentation Transcript

  • Launching the MFA Multimedia GuideLessons Learned9 APRIL 2011
  • Launching the MFA Multimedia GuideIt’s Alive!9 APRIL 2011
  • Goals• Build a terrifying monster• Delight and surprise our visitors• Leverage multimedia for interpretation• Gain greater flexibility to make content updates• Preserve revenue from program• Reuse media across channels
  • 1In-Gallery Rental 2 Mobile Resources 3 Download ToursRental devices (iPod Touches) Visitor’s own smartphone or iPad Visitor’s own deviceMFA CMS and custom app Mobile web site with media assets Packaged apps and bundles
  • So what did we do?• Produced content for 120 objects in the new Art of the Americas Wing – Each stop with 2-3 media features – All with audio descriptions – Included 50 new stops for kids – Included 50 highlights translated into in 7 languages – Threw in a special exhibition tour for good measure• Bought 750 iPod Touches and accessories• Customized TAP to create an MFA Guide app – Entered all our existing and new stops into TAP – Created a wireless updater module• Designed our own charging and remote device management solutions• Prayed.
  • Don’t try this at home!But here’s what we learned…
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel. We got lucky. Good stuff existed, so we built on it.
  • It’s okay to make new friends.• Public television stations• Radio stations• Interactive agencies• Documentary writers• Videographers• Scavenger hunt designers• Actors
  • The bigger you are, the harder it is.• Everything is tougher with 750 devices. For example, rinse and repeat for each device: 1. Remove device from packaging. 2. Enter it in inventory tracking system, noting UDID. 3. Name the device. 4. Perform OS upgrade. 5. Load the config profile. 6. Load the app. 7. Load the content. 8. Test the content. 9. Put screen protector on. 10.Put case on. 11.Put lanyard on. 12.Put sticker on. 13.Thread earphones. 14.Dock and charge.
  • Yes, you will need more staff…• …but not forever, we hope.• We added support in a few places: – One full-time staff member added to a volunteer-only desk – One weekend technical support role in New Media (P/T) – One contract production support role in New Media (P/T)• Existing staff took on demanding new responsibilities for training, fleet management, software troubleshooting, and vendor/partner coordination.
  • We can deliver more for visitors.Then Now
Two
special
exhibi1on
guides Two
major
special
exhibi1on
guides
and
one
 secondary
exhibi1on
guideA
few
permanent
collec1on
stops
 More
than
150
new
stops
added
covering
more
than
added
every
year 65
galleries;
a
few
addi1onal
permanent
stops
being
AD
stops
few
and
far
between added
each
month
as
needed More
than
120
new
AD
stops
added
this
year;
up
to
 almost
150
by
year’s
endKids’
stops
few
and
far
between
 More
than
50
new
kids’
stops
added
this
year;
about
 70
by
year’s
endNo
ability
to
do
ASL ASL
video
stops
in
produc1onNo
ability
to
do
unplanned
tours Released
a
La1n
American
Ar1sts
tour
in
8
weeks
for
 less
than
$2,000
  • It’s not an audio guide.• Expectations are different. The bar has been raised. – It’s delivered on a desirable consumer device. – It’s packaged as an app. – Delivering a typical audio guide inside a multimedia device won’t satisfy those expectations. – We feel increasing pressure not just to interpret wonderfully, but to generate exciting features.• So what are the markers of a successful multimedia guide? We’re still learning… – …ideally with the help of trial and error, formal evaluation, usability studies, and on-device feedback methods (polling).
  • Questions?• Thank you! – Jenna Fleming jfleming@mfa.org – Jesse Kochis jkochis@mfa.org – Phil Getchell pgetchell@mfa.org