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Four Tests in Three Summers: Assessing visitor preferences in handhelds at SFMOMA Peter Samis Associate Curator, Interpret...
Case Study:   Matthew Barney .
Matthew Barney sculptures in the gallery
Our problem: subtract the man/film from the gallery, and…  How to make the mute plastic speak?
Traditionally, this would have been cause for a multimedia feature. … online, by the galleries, in the Koret Center.
To this, we added   multiple format audio tours: <ul><li>Podcast:  download  from home </li></ul><ul><li>Gallery X-plorer:...
Downloadable podcast map
Cell phone promotional card - collab w/ Guide by Cell
At first, we thought we were setting out to measure visitor preferences for three different types of audio tours. And we d...
What did we find out? <ul><li>There is no clear winner </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional devices skew  older </li></ul><ul><li...
Different devices support  different touring styles : <ul><li>Cell phones  averaged   4.6 stops  out of 10, indicating à l...
<ul><li>iPods  and  traditional  audio tour devices averaged  70-80% stop use : a more  immersive , custom experience </li...
Those who chose the iPod and cell phone formats rated them more highly than traditional headset tour users rated theirs. (...
Phone logs enabled us to see patterns in where visitors wanted information most: (or perhaps where they or could find the ...
In fact, GuideBy Cell now mashes up area codes and Google Maps to reveal where visitors are from:
Stats: Cell-phone Tours <ul><li>Good News: Guide by Cell records </li></ul><ul><li>1st exhibition with over 10,000 calls <...
So somewhere along the way,  the target   shifted.
The   elephant  in the room   is that: The vast majority of our visitors   do not   use technology during their museum vis...
If our goal is to use technology, we may just  nod   and move on . But if our goal is to enhance visitor experience, we ha...
“Variable on-demand mediation.” –Brad Johnson, Second Story Interactive
Interpretive Menu:  analog + digital <ul><li>One curatorial intro panel </li></ul><ul><li>Exhibition brochure </li></ul><u...
Here’s what that looks like:  Use of offerings by respondents:
But on the other hand:  What helped make meaning?
So what did we learn? What did visitors prefer? <ul><li>Audio:  Different people opt for different devices </li></ul><ul><...
Or put another way:   This is our Opportunity  Space! Is it time to re-train our visitors? Change their expectations? Chan...
How do we activate that opportunity space?
Next Tests: 2007 Traditional audio tour  vs.  iPod Picasso & American Art & Brice Marden Matisse: The Painter as Sculptor ...
When visitors were  given the choice … 49% 51% Eliasson / Cornell / Wall 45% 55% Matisse 41% 59% Picasso &  Marden iPod An...
Do we detect  a trend?
Visitors liked the fact the iPod showed an image of the work. But the menu function was poor.
Fast forward to summer 2008 (right now):
Enter   Frida Kahlo <ul><li>MENU: analog + digital mix </li></ul><ul><li>Brochure </li></ul><ul><li>Wall texts </li></ul><...
 
 
 
Antenna  XP-Vision  multimedia player
 
 
 
 
 
Visitor Feedback
 
 
 
 
 
 
NEXT STEPS
Purpose-built  or  Visitor-supplied ? <ul><li>Controlled platform </li></ul><ul><li>Hi-fidelity audio, video & interactivi...
Unless we rewrite the spec for what a  quality tour experience   is to a low enough threshold that it can be delivered wit...
Does that mean  we bypass the bells and whistles of  Flash  and the  iPhone ?
Or do we opt for that expressive power  and  continue to supply the hardware  on the old lease contract model ?
I, for one, no longer believe it will all sort itself out… “ in two years.”
Soon to come… an SFMOMA iPhone title: In the meantime…
Don’t worry, folks— <ul><li>This is only a test! </li></ul>
Thank you.
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Four Tests in Three Summers: Assessing visitor preferences in handhelds at SFMOMA

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Talk given at Tate Handheld Symposium, Sept. 5, 2008.

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Four Tests in Three Summers: Assessing visitor preferences in handhelds at SFMOMA

  1. 1. Four Tests in Three Summers: Assessing visitor preferences in handhelds at SFMOMA Peter Samis Associate Curator, Interpretation San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Tate Handheld Symposium • 5 Sept. 2008
  2. 2. Case Study: Matthew Barney .
  3. 3. Matthew Barney sculptures in the gallery
  4. 4. Our problem: subtract the man/film from the gallery, and… How to make the mute plastic speak?
  5. 5. Traditionally, this would have been cause for a multimedia feature. … online, by the galleries, in the Koret Center.
  6. 6. To this, we added multiple format audio tours: <ul><li>Podcast: download from home </li></ul><ul><li>Gallery X-plorer: rent in Atrium </li></ul><ul><li>Cell phone: turn on in show </li></ul>Collaboration with Antenna Audio to develop content for all three.
  7. 7. Downloadable podcast map
  8. 8. Cell phone promotional card - collab w/ Guide by Cell
  9. 9. At first, we thought we were setting out to measure visitor preferences for three different types of audio tours. And we did that.
  10. 10. What did we find out? <ul><li>There is no clear winner </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional devices skew older </li></ul><ul><li>iPods and cell phones seem to skew younger * </li></ul><ul><li>Visitors appreciate multiple experience options </li></ul>* statistics not fully conclusive
  11. 11. Different devices support different touring styles : <ul><li>Cell phones averaged 4.6 stops out of 10, indicating à la carte, on demand use </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>iPods and traditional audio tour devices averaged 70-80% stop use : a more immersive , custom experience </li></ul>In fact, iPod and traditional headset tour users had more in common than these users might suspect…
  13. 13. Those who chose the iPod and cell phone formats rated them more highly than traditional headset tour users rated theirs. (although the content was identical!)
  14. 14. Phone logs enabled us to see patterns in where visitors wanted information most: (or perhaps where they or could find the labels!)
  15. 15. In fact, GuideBy Cell now mashes up area codes and Google Maps to reveal where visitors are from:
  16. 16. Stats: Cell-phone Tours <ul><li>Good News: Guide by Cell records </li></ul><ul><li>1st exhibition with over 10,000 calls </li></ul><ul><li>Average message selection in other museums is only 33% </li></ul><ul><li>Bad News: </li></ul><ul><li>Still only averaging 45 visitors/day </li></ul><ul><li>Only 3.7% of exhibition visitors </li></ul>
  17. 17. So somewhere along the way, the target shifted.
  18. 18. The elephant in the room is that: The vast majority of our visitors do not use technology during their museum visit. So how do we reach them?
  19. 19. If our goal is to use technology, we may just nod and move on . But if our goal is to enhance visitor experience, we have to think larger.
  20. 20. “Variable on-demand mediation.” –Brad Johnson, Second Story Interactive
  21. 21. Interpretive Menu: analog + digital <ul><li>One curatorial intro panel </li></ul><ul><li>Exhibition brochure </li></ul><ul><li>Docent tours </li></ul><ul><li>Audio tour delivered via: </li></ul><ul><li>Antenna MP3 gallery guide </li></ul><ul><li>Downloadable podcast </li></ul><ul><li>Cell phone tour courtesy GuideByCell </li></ul><ul><li>Learning Lounge in show: </li></ul><ul><li>Plasma screen with Barney video interview clips </li></ul><ul><li>Barney FAQ wall graphics </li></ul><ul><li>Interactive feature/website </li></ul><ul><li>Books & catalogs </li></ul>
  22. 22. Here’s what that looks like: Use of offerings by respondents:
  23. 23. But on the other hand: What helped make meaning?
  24. 24. So what did we learn? What did visitors prefer? <ul><li>Audio: Different people opt for different devices </li></ul><ul><li>Video: Visitors want to see and hear the voice of the artist above all else </li></ul><ul><li>and perhaps most surprisingly: </li></ul><ul><li>Visitors opt for the analog first. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Or put another way: This is our Opportunity Space! Is it time to re-train our visitors? Change their expectations? Change our approach? All of the above?
  26. 26. How do we activate that opportunity space?
  27. 27. Next Tests: 2007 Traditional audio tour vs. iPod Picasso & American Art & Brice Marden Matisse: The Painter as Sculptor Take your time: Olafur Eliasson/ Joseph Cornell /Jeff Wall
  28. 28. When visitors were given the choice … 49% 51% Eliasson / Cornell / Wall 45% 55% Matisse 41% 59% Picasso & Marden iPod Antenna XP - “Classic”(mp3) Exhibitions in 2007 (in sequence)
  29. 29. Do we detect a trend?
  30. 30. Visitors liked the fact the iPod showed an image of the work. But the menu function was poor.
  31. 31. Fast forward to summer 2008 (right now):
  32. 32. Enter Frida Kahlo <ul><li>MENU: analog + digital mix </li></ul><ul><li>Brochure </li></ul><ul><li>Wall texts </li></ul><ul><li>Multimedia tour with low price barrier to entry </li></ul><ul><li>Learning Lounge </li></ul><ul><li>Supplementary galleries to add context </li></ul><ul><li>Kiosk / Website </li></ul><ul><li>Video </li></ul><ul><li>Podcasts </li></ul>
  33. 36. Antenna XP-Vision multimedia player
  34. 42. Visitor Feedback
  35. 49. NEXT STEPS
  36. 50. Purpose-built or Visitor-supplied ? <ul><li>Controlled platform </li></ul><ul><li>Hi-fidelity audio, video & interactivity </li></ul><ul><li>Free of associations & hassles of home & office </li></ul><ul><li>Only about the art </li></ul><ul><li>Focused, optimized for tour experience </li></ul><ul><li>Rewrites the economic model: No need for museum to lease fleets of players </li></ul><ul><li>No need to staff and sell players to visitors </li></ul><ul><li>Free to visitors </li></ul><ul><li>More casual </li></ul><ul><li>but </li></ul><ul><li>Quality of experience cannot be assured </li></ul>Questions we have now:
  37. 51. Unless we rewrite the spec for what a quality tour experience is to a low enough threshold that it can be delivered with confidence to a wide variety of visitors in a non-proprietary manner
  38. 52. Does that mean we bypass the bells and whistles of Flash and the iPhone ?
  39. 53. Or do we opt for that expressive power and continue to supply the hardware on the old lease contract model ?
  40. 54. I, for one, no longer believe it will all sort itself out… “ in two years.”
  41. 55. Soon to come… an SFMOMA iPhone title: In the meantime…
  42. 56. Don’t worry, folks— <ul><li>This is only a test! </li></ul>
  43. 57. Thank you.

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