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Design for Participation: Three Lessons from Museums
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Design for Participation: Three Lessons from Museums

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A presentation about participatory design techniques that can be applied to reduce participation inequality, increase the quality of user-generated content, and support social interaction among users. …

A presentation about participatory design techniques that can be applied to reduce participation inequality, increase the quality of user-generated content, and support social interaction among users. Presented by Nina Simon of Museum 2.0 at the BayCHI program on March 9, 2010.


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  • 1. design for participation: lessons from museums nina simon, museum 2.0 nina@museumtwo.com @ninaksimon on twitter slides at http://bit.ly/baychinina
  • 2. where i live
  • 3. what i do balboa park online collaborative boston children’s museum calgary science center chabot space science center chicago history museum denver art museum experience music project girls math and science partnership international spy museum monterey bay aquarium oakland museum SFMOMA smithsonian museum of natural history statens museum for kunst tech museum of innovation
  • 4. what i focus on the participatory institution is a place where visitors can create, share, and connect with each other around content.
  • 5. in cultural institutions, that can mean... Stanford Art Center upper: chicago children’s museum Minnesota History Museum lower: Science Museum of Minnesota
  • 6. and it requires some changes Authority is content provider Authority is platform provider
  • 7. how do you design a space to support community engagement & meaningful visitor participation?
  • 8. three core challenges on the web ✴ participation inequality ✴ variable quality amateur content ✴ limited tools for social interaction
  • 9. three design techniques ✴ scaffold participation ✴ design for thoughtful response ✴ design from “me” to “we”
  • 10. three design techniques ✴ scaffold participation ✴ design for thoughtful response ✴ design from “me” to “we”
  • 11. 90,000 visitors, 37,000 posters made average time poster-making: 25 minutes
  • 12. social participation also requires scaffolding GoMA Statens Museum of Kunst
  • 13. giving good instructions SFMOMA
  • 14. SFMOMA
  • 15. three design techniques ✴ scaffold participation ✴ design for thoughtful response ✴ design from “me” to “we”
  • 16. web 2.0 is software that gets better the more people use it -Tim O’Reilly, technologist and publisher
  • 17. turning trash into data Auckland Museum Minnesota History Museum
  • 18. an exhibit that gets better the more people use it? Worcester City Gallery and Museum
  • 19. all of this hinges on responsiveness Chicago History Museum Staff of Life grocery store
  • 20. and asking good questions Ontario Science Centre
  • 21. DAISY: How do I know I'm talking to a human and not just another machine? DAISY: Are you sure that I'm not a real person talking to you by e-mail? What would it take to convince you? EXPLORATORIUM
  • 22. Lowell National Historical Park
  • 23. three design techniques ✴ scaffold participation ✴ design for thoughtful response ✴ design from “me” to “we”
  • 24. less like this more like this Photo by cybertoad on Flickr
  • 25. who are you relative to the institution?
  • 26. social infrastructure for interaction Advice, University of Washington
  • 27. I’ve never had a gay friend. It was unbelievably exciting to find myself facing him with his body, opinions and identity. It seems he was not very different from me and especially he was not an alien. From now on, I will not disrupt my communication with the gays, I will enhance it. - Reader in Istanbul, 2007
  • 28. what’s next? the participatory institution is a place where visitors can create, share, and connect with each other around content.* * it doesn’t have to be a museum
  • 29. BAR MUSEUM venue that creative, + encourages interactive, interpersonal content-rich engagement social objects
  • 30. continue the conversation... @ninaksimon http://bit.ly/baychinina nina@museumtwo.com