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By Brian Hewitt, Corning Museum of Glass, USA
Anonymously used in-gallery digital interactives may have lower barriers to visitor usage than downloaded apps, purpose-built devices, or even Web apps. But because of that anonymity—and their typical nature as single “page,” limited purpose, context-sensitive, nonlinear, or non-conversion oriented applications—they can present challenges in meaningful engagement data collection and user experience analysis. Both high-tech and low-tech tools and techniques exist, but these can be expensive, imprecise, intrusive, or time-consuming. In this paper, we examine methods and techniques to gather user experience and engagement data in inexpensive and unobtrusive ways, which we have been exploring over the course of several exhibitions and multiple installed digital interactives. The use of inexpensive security-style cameras combined with data forms geared toward rapid, simple input allows for more naturalistic observation of more visitors in less time, and for the collection of standardized, quantitative data.
Programming of the interactives can include custom analytics events and rough session estimations based on user activity and idle times. These methods are not necessarily meant to be definitive but may provide alternatives where other methods are not feasible or desirable. In cases where other tools are available, combining these techniques may provide a richer picture of the overall effectiveness of installed interactives.