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Not all Screen Time is Created Equal: Developing interactives that transcend technology


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As the debate continue over technology for children, like what the right age is for a child’s first smartphone, the Cleveland Museum of Art is exploring ways to use digital interactive experiences to facilitate learning and play. By focusing on technology as a platform rather than technology for technology’s sake, we have attempted to most past the screen-time debate into kinesthetic and action-based experiences. The new Studio Play is a manifestation of human-centered design, focusing on ways that screens can become irrelevant as users employ technology to further their creativity and curiosity. Explore how the CMA team, working with Design I/O, attempted to consider the intricacies of designing interactives that feel relevant for a broad range of audiences, from school age children, to teens, to adults. Consider the ways that the team placed the needs of the visitor at the of the design process. Finally, understand how the space was developed to offer visitors variety, from small motor and large motor activities, from knowledge-based games to creativity-based experiences, from close-looking activities to exploratory virtual art-making. The final product, an experience that places the visitor into the position of actor, can convince even the most screen-critical visitors that technology, screen-based or not, can truly enhance the museum-going experience. Come learn about how the CMA found that balance in the latest iteration of Studio Play.

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Not all Screen Time is Created Equal: Developing interactives that transcend technology

  2. 2. Jane Alexander Chief Information/Digital Officer Seema Rao Director of Intergenerational Learning
  3. 3. GALLERY ONE “People come to museums for storytelling and engagement… and technology needs to facilitate that” The New York Times (2013)
  4. 4. Studio Play: The First Iteration (Opened 12/12/2012)
  5. 5. IN THE BEGINNING… Initial Goals for Studio Play • Build a space for families and children • Facilitate creative interaction with art • Propel visitors into the rest of Gallery One and the primary galleries • Develop and galvanize visitor interest
  6. 6. What Worked • Space especially for families with young kids • High-touch and non-digital interactives • Place for parents to decompress, relax while kids (5 and under) played in safe environment What Didn’t • Not fully intergenerational • Not engaging for older kids, 5+ • Not totally fulfilling mission of Gallery One • “Playroom feeling” of the space deterred visitors and families without young children from exploring Gallery One
  7. 7. “[CMA Visitors] have high expectations of what the museum will offer them… and want an experience that they cannot find elsewhere” Elizabeth Bolander, CMA Director of Research and Evaluation
  8. 8. Evaluations and the Decision to Renovate • Hands-on interactives were perceived more negatively if visitors saw them as something that could be found in other bookstores, libraries, at home • Parents wanted a stronger connection between Studio Play and the artwork on view • Not perceived as accessible and exciting for elementary, middle schoolers and up • “The two existing technology interactives, Line and Shape and Matching and Sorting, were positively received…many participants, even those visiting without children, enjoyed the creative process”
  9. 9. What Had to Change in Studio Play 2.0 • Strengthen Studio Play’s relationship with the museum collections • Emphasize connections between interactives and art • Allow visitors more avenues to exercise creativity • Enhance digital components • Expand the line-and-shape interactive • Remain welcoming for families to enjoy privacy and downtime • Eliminate games that are broken or seldom used
  10. 10. New Goals for Studio Play • Utilize barrier-free technology that allows for virtually hands-free interaction • Create a space for intergenerational learning, ages 5 and up rather than 5 and below • Inspire gallery exploration with greater understanding and enthusiasm • Connect what visitors do in Studio Play with what they see in the museum
  11. 11. Greenlight • Excitement about: • New cross-collaborative team: Digital/Tech, Education, Curatorial, Collections • Sponsorships from Christie Microtile and Microsoft • Hiring an interactive, immersive, and cutting-edge design firm: Design I/O • What could go wrong? Instagram Ready!
  12. 12. …not everyone likes changes
  13. 13. Some Problems with Communication… • Closing vs. renovating • Many thought Studio Play was being completely shut down • Perceptions of “screen-time” • “Where all are the toys? You used to be CREATIVE and use your IMAGINATION! Now it’s just SCREENS!!” • Worried that Gallery One would no longer be family friendly • “It feels like CMA would prefer to not have children in the museum”
  15. 15. Studio Play Cleveland Museum of Art on YouTube
  16. 16. Looking Closer at Studio Play • The Create Gallery Stations: Paint Play, Pottery Wheel, Collage and Portrait Maker • Memory, Matching and Sorting • Line and Shape • Reveal and Zoom
  17. 17. • Allows visitors to creatively explore and play with different mediums and connect to the museum collections • Encourages more playful techniques and uses touch-free technology to add a new dimension to the experience Create Gallery: Paint Play and Pottery Wheel
  18. 18. • Connects visitors to the museum using artworks and artifacts from the collection as the raw materials to create their own artwork • Created content is sent to the Studio Play Tumblr or to oneself Collage Maker and Portrait Maker
  19. 19. Memory, Matching and Sorting Interactives • Supports visual and verbal literacy within the context of art • Fosters further understanding of artworks while providing a connection to the museum’s collection • Look closely at elements within works and match or sort based on constituent elements of artworks
  20. 20. Line and Shape • Centerpiece of Studio Play 2.0 • Self-initiated exploration for visitors to examine the museum’s collection using their own lines and shapes • Focuses on details within artworks and objects
  21. 21. Reveal and Zoom • Using movement to explore art • Allow visitors to dynamically reveal paintings, drawings, and objects from the museum collection using body motion • Dramatic movement reveals the content in a looser, abstract way • Smaller movements resolve the content in more detail • Zoom: magnifies the artwork using body movement, explores details and techniques
  23. 23. Summative Research on New Studio Play, 2016 Overall Experience: 66% rated excellent (5/5), 87% rated 4/5 or 5/5 Elizabeth Bolander Favorite Aspects of Studio Play: • “Allowing children a space to use gross motor skills within the museum” • “Interactive technology” • “Kids recognized pieces in Studio Play we had seen on this visit” • “The art is responsive” • “Hands free for mom. Nothing to clean up” • However, families with children under 3 still desire a reflective and private space during their visit
  24. 24. Success of Studio Play 2.0 interactives and feedback informed design for new Gallery One 2.0 Open June 2017 • Visitors introduced to interactives through artwork, rather than the other way around • Zero barriers to entry: intuitive and dynamic design, NO TOUCH SCREENS! • Interactives build on lessons of each other • Incentivizes continued, thoughtful engagement • Art history thematic groupings: purpose, symbols, composition, personal taste
  25. 25. Potion Design Gallery One 2.0 Video
  26. 26. Thank You @jalexander @artlust