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Designing mobile technology for visitors A game of snakes & ladders.

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Presentation on theme: "Designing mobile technology for visitors A game of snakes & ladders."— Presentation transcript:

1 Designing mobile technology for visitors A game of snakes & ladders

2 Ben Gammon Consulting Many ladders Digital technology can provide Vastly more information –10,000’s of words instead of 60 In easily readable portions Under the control of the visitor –Search or browse Using wide range of media –Animation, audio, video, images, text …

3 Ben Gammon Consulting Many ladders Digital technology can provide High quality simulations of what cannot be experienced in the real world –Too fast/slow; too big/small; too expensive Game-play, problem-solving Capture & take away images, information

4 Ben Gammon Consulting Many ladders Mobile technology has all of these plus It’s ready to hand when needed Out of the way when not required A personalised experience A personalised record of visit Opportunities to interact with other visitors

5 Ben Gammon Consulting But there are also snakes How do visitors react to the use of digital technology in museums? Can visitors make effective use of the technology? Does it distract attention from other exhibits? Does it disrupt social interaction?

6 Ben Gammon Consulting Do visitors want digital technology? Emphatically yes! Some of the most popular exhibits –High attracting & holding power –Sandifer – technological novelty & open- endedness associated with high attracting & holding power

7 Ben Gammon Consulting Do visitors want digital technology? Wide-spread support –Among children & adults –In museums of science & technology –In art galleries & fine art museums And mobile technology? Yes but …

8 Ben Gammon Consulting Can they use the technology? Yes - if appropriately designed Appropriate design? –Pacing –Quick to learn, intuitive to use (no lengthy instruction) –Clear chain of cause & effect –Unhelpful ‘help’

9 Ben Gammon Consulting Can they use mobile technology? Yes - if appropriately designed A seamless match between the virtual & the real –What I see & hear matches what is in front of me Design provides a useful conceptual model

10 A useful conceptual model? The hamster powered car!

11 Ben Gammon Consulting Conceptual models for mobile technology An unhelpful conceptual model –The ghostly presence of cassette tape audio guides

12 Ben Gammon Consulting Problematic conceptual models Terminology –Bookmark or ? How it functions –Free or fee? Purpose of system –Introductory, complementary, supplementary Who is it for?

13 Ben Gammon Consulting Does it distract attention? No Many examples of digital technology increasing engagement with objects –British Galleries at the V&A –Computer Information Points in the Energy Hall and Nanotechnology exhibition at the Science Museum –PDA guided tours at Tate Modern

14 Ben Gammon Consulting Getting it to work with objects For fixed kiosk exhibits Oriented so user can easily view object Purpose is clear to visitors –Introductory, supplementary or complementary? –Location, orientation of terminals –Seating –Design & content of first few screens

15 Ben Gammon Consulting Getting it to work with objects For mobile technology Seamless match between virtual & real experience –What I see / hear matches what is in front of me Content that directs attention to the objects

16 Ben Gammon Consulting Disrupts social interaction? Yes - Sellen & Harper: The myth of the paperless office Museum visiting is a social activity Social interaction promotes learning –Scaffolding children’s learning –Consolidating ideas –Bringing misconceptions to the surface –Importance of disagreement

17 Ben Gammon Consulting Disrupts social interaction? Less conversation … sometimes –Compelling experience –Ease of use But sometimes more! –No inherent barrier to social interaction Gelman et al. – computer label as aid to parental support Eberbach & Crowley – more conversation (of certain type) at computer than at real plant –Amplified scale, reduced complexity, ability to repeat experience

18 Ben Gammon Consulting And mobile technology? Two major potential barriers to social interaction Ear-pieces / head- phones Not being able to co- ordinate actions with companion –“Like going to a party & reading a book”

19 Ben Gammon Consulting But … Not necessarily The Sotto Voce project (Woodruff et al) An innovative hand-held digital audio guide at the Filoli Historic House, Woodside, CA –http://www.archimuse.com/mw2002/papers/w oodruff/woodruff.htmlhttp://www.archimuse.com/mw2002/papers/w oodruff/woodruff.html

20 Ben Gammon Consulting The Sotto Voce project Close match between virtual & real experience Audio broken into short sections (6-27 seconds) Single ear-piece headset ‘Eavesdropping’ facility over WLAN Found improved social interaction compared to traditional audio guide

21 Finding the ladders, avoiding the snakes Developing mobile technology that works for visitors

22 Ben Gammon Consulting Object & label Device 1Device 2 Visitor Companion Other Visitors Each line could be a snake or a ladder. It all depends on the design of the system


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