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Multimedia for families

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As more and more art museums develop multimedia and mobile guides to be part of their interpretive offerings for visitors, some are developing guides specifically for family audiences. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art have both made that decision, and are using evaluation to develop and refine their guides in order to provide engaging and valuable experiences for families. A front-end study at the Nelson-Atkins surveyed parents about their preferences for mobile guide content from their own perspectives as adult learners, from their perspectives as parents, and from the perspectives of their children. A summative study of the Whitney’s Biennial 2012 multimedia guide explored the ways families use this type of interpretive device, as well as the their perspectives about the impact and value of the multimedia guide experience. Hear what lessons have been learned through evaluation at these two museums about developing family multimedia and mobile tours, and discover how they are impacting family visitor experiences.

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Multimedia for families

  1. 1. Multimedia & Mobile Tours for Families: How are they used and valued? Presented by: Jeanine Ancelet, Audience Focus Emily Black, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Sharisse Butler, Slover-Linnett March 7, 2013 National Art Education Association Annual Meeting
  2. 2. Front-End Research: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art The Situation The Approach The Key Findings
  3. 3. Front-End Research at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: The Situation• Limited budget• Acknowledgement of the work of other organizations• Awareness of multiple perspectives: adult learners, parents, and children
  4. 4. Front-End Research at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: The Situation• IMLS GOALS – To target and cultivate a growing population of mobile users onsite at the Nelson-Atkins. – To offer opportunities for families to learn and discover together. – To foster intergenerational experiences using mobile devices. – To employ mobile as a platform for uncovering multiple perspectives and unique stories about art. – To encourage multiple visits.
  5. 5. Front-End Research at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: The Approach• Online survey format – Landscape review and prioritization of online assets – Survey hyperlinks to these existing assets – Respondents rank and rate, and respond to open-ends – Frequent reminders to respond to content (rather than design) and see them as examples• Recruitment of parents – Collaborative – Similar recruitment process as focus groups – Method allows for parents flexibility in responding
  6. 6. Front-End Research at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: The Approach (continued)• Deliberately capturing multiple perspectives: adult learners, parents, and children – Asked to respond to individual questions 3 times: 1. according to your own personal preference 2. according to what you as a parent would want your child(ren) to experience 3. according to what you believe your child(ren) would prefer
  7. 7. Front-End Research at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: The Key Findings• Content preferences – Parents are highly interested in hearing the perspectives of artists (for themselves and for their children), and less interested in hearing from “experts” – Parents want their children to see how objects are made and/or used – Some differences emerged depending upon the perspective applied – Parents want the content to inspire their children’s creativity• Who is the audience? – Parents, children, or families?
  8. 8. Front-End Research at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: LESSONS LEARNED• Family Mobile Guide • Current state: Working with IMAlabs to produce game modules that fulfill the needs revealed in the front-end evaluation. – Picture taking and upload: User sends a postcard or posts photos to social media outlets – Polls – Likes/Ratings – Word Scramble – Spot the Difference – Word Cloud – Picture Scramble • Create content and mobile experiences that offer opportunities for families to learn together. • Experiment weekly with visitors onsite about content modules and themes. Wireframes and design are also informed by weekly visitor input.
  9. 9. Biennial 2012 Multimedia Guide Summative Evaluation Study
  10. 10. The Multimedia Guide Features artists’ voices 50 audio stops for adults 14 audio stops for children 19 videos (intros to art, voices of curators and artists) + 1 access video Access components (transcripts, sound descriptions, variable text size, CC)
  11. 11. Purpose of the StudyHow do families use the multimedia guide? What do they perceive is the value?Build staff capacity in evaluation methods and approaches, specifically observations Inform future multimedia approaches at the Whitney
  12. 12. EVALUATION DESIGNMethods Focusedobservations 2 Focus groupdiscussionsParticipants 33 adults and childrenbetween the ages of 8-13
  13. 13. KEY RESULTS USE OF DEVICE Used like a traditional audio guide Adults listen to Kid’s Tour; Kids listen to Adult audio Videos used less frequently  Kids used the videos more Transcripts used by some as a “portable wall text”
  14. 14. Key ResultsChild/Family Interactions  Children more likely to use guide socially than adults  Variety of family social approaches –  Let’s stick together  Split and rejoin, Split and rejoin  Go it alone – then debrief
  15. 15. Key ResultsFamilies especially value multimedia guideexperiences that:  Engage children – stimulate interest/curiosity  Stimulate thinking  Encouraged focused and careful looking  Stimulate conversation
  16. 16. Thought-ProvokingParents and children especially value inquiry-based approaches – including questions, pauses for reflection, opportunities for connections, and prompts for follow-up discussions/conversation. I like how it asked questions… it made me actually think about the art. - childWith questions, you have time to actually think about it. - child
  17. 17. Focused LookingParents, in particular, value experiences that focus and engage their children Sometimes children just walk around a little and then are like “oh, let’s go.” This keeps them a little more focused and engaged with what they are looking at.
  18. 18. Stimulates Conversation Parents and children discussed the value of having future guides function with the goal of conversation in mind We like to talk about how people create things or the process. – Parent Overall, [the guide] could have been more ways to get engaged. It might have added more value if it transformed into ways to discuss the work. - Parent
  19. 19. Recommenda t i onsThe “voice” mattersIf you WANT to make it social…Our definition of “Interactive” and “Multimedia”Let us choose (and have lots of options)Kid’s Tour is NOT the same as a Family TourIf you want us to watch the videos…
  20. 20. The Voice Matters Have children narrate children’s audio Use child-friendly vocabulary and language No lecture-style approach Tone more conversational and natural If you have curators and artists, have them have a conversation or a back-and-forth exchange of ideas Have the same content for the adults and kids, but use different narrators
  21. 21. If you WANT to make it social… Incorporate a “splitter” Incorporate [clearly indicated] stopping points Have more comfortable seating Incorporate social media functions Incorporate question Have different versions – group experience; solitary experience
  22. 22. Our definition of “Interactive” Incorporate “questions” Make the home screen more “live.” Have pop-up question prompts NO lecture-style narration approach Have opportunities to sketch or draw Have the option to “like” your favorite artworks Click on specific areas within artwork to find out more Have something akin to a treasure hunt for children
  23. 23. Let Us Choose (and have lots of options)Want multiple options for interpretationValue choice over level of information they wanted Always include a “2nd level” way of listening every time Have the option to use your own device (smart phone), or borrow one from the museum
  24. 24. Kid’s Tour is NOT the same as Family Tour Kids tour is different from a family tour determines how families approach and engage with the experience With a Kid’s Tour, we are free like birds, but a Family tour with questionswould put us together as a family, rather than kid and adult.
  25. 25. If you want us to watch the videos…Have comfortable seatingHave “Google goggles” for a “heads- up” display that projects graphics onto a screenMake the videos shorterVideos should be more than “talking heads”
  26. 26. Lessons Learned at the Whitney Should content for families be interactive or solitary? Should we have interactive discussion prompts? How can we make it less of an adapted audio guide and more of an “experience?” For games or interactive multimedia – how do we make it adaptable enough to stand up over time, but specific enough to be interesting? Is it really worth the money and energy to produce multimedia guides, or could they get the same experience and value some other way?
  27. 27. Discussion Question #1• Have you seen examples of interpretive materials that hit the mark in being designed for families (not only children or only parents)?
  28. 28. Discussion Question #2• What issues, challenges, questions are you currently facing when thinking about family audiences and engagement with new media?

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