Evaluating Online Museum Games– Formative EvaluationHannah ClipsonAudience Research and Advocacy Unit, May 2012
Introduction Using a case-study to explore the benefits of evaluating online museum games during the development stage – Formative Evaluation. Methodologies.
Why Develop Museum Online Games? To go beyond the walls of the museum – reach out to a large, diverse audience, providing those that can’t or won’t visit with an experience of your content or collections. To articulate and engage the user with difficult / boring science content. To deliver enjoyable learning experiences. The market for games is huge!
Formative Evaluation – What’s the Point?Why do we evaluate a game during the development stage? To improve it! To investigate if the game is meeting the objectives you set at the start of the project. To explore if the game is meeting the needs of your target audience. To identify and remove the barriers to usability, motivation and comprehension.
Futurecade An online suite of arcade style games where teenagers can explore the way contemporary science and technology affects their everyday lives.Brief Overview:To communicate specific areas of complex science content: Space Junk Synthetic Biology Geoengineering – Cloud Brightening Robo-LobstersLearning embedded in the gameplay – subtlety essential. Primarily targeted at teenagers, both inside and outside the classroom.
Aim: To foster critical thinking, informed decision-making and interest in science.Objectives: To be thought-provoking, stimulate and promote discussion. To provide challenges and rewards. To result in the players walking away from it wanting to find out more.Learning Outcomes: An understanding that developments in science and technology will affect our lives. An understanding that there will be upsides and downsides of new science technologies.
MethodologyEvaluation Strategy – Why: To enable you to understand how you will create a high quality game that meets your objectives and meets the needs of your audience.When developing your strategy, what to consider: Who is the target audience? What do you want to find out from the evaluation? How will you find this out? What are you going to do with your findings?
MethodologyConcept Testing Thoughts on the game proposal, the science and the look and feel. Focus Group – 6 teenagers.
MethodologyWireframe Testing Focusing on navigation, content, suitability for the target audience and engagement. 6 participants to test.
MethodologyPrototype Testing 2 prototypes – focusing on comprehension of the science, usability and engagement. Game testing with small groups of teenagers.
MethodologyRobustness Testing Identifying bugs. Recruit as many testers as possible!
MethodologyUsing your findings – feeding back to designers. After each stage, findings used to inform direction and to make positive changes. Ideal to meet face-to-face with designers to enable conversation.
MethodologyWhy Conduct the Formative Evaluation? ‘Cloud Control’ representing inaccurate science to users.
Hannah Clipson Audience Advocate Audience Research and AdvocacyLearning and Audience Development Unit Science Museum Exhibition Road London SW7 2DD 020 7942 firstname.lastname@example.org