Thursday, June 07, 2012

#iel12 Thinking Differently with Mobile

Presenter: Nancy Proctor (Smithsonian)

Background in audio tours and art history

Audio Tour 1.0 - Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
- Used tool for accessibility
- For museums - this was the foundation
- Accessibility - for translations
- Challenges: hygene, getting the equipment back etc

The experience
- passive
- sequential
- guided / one-way

- ease (of design)
- herd people through the museum
- easier to check for accuracy
- unintelligent technology - so better predictive ability

Technologists - supports a passive experience.  True but....
Despite the platform, you can still do a lot with the content and experience design.
Don't have to go with the audience

Example - same technology but have them scatter, do exercise, then talk about color theory

In the beginning - soundtracks and sound bytes
- First museum tours linear
- Exhibits strung as pearls of wisdom
- Value measured in numbers of stops
- But the magic happened in between
  + filled with directions AND contextual information
  + Building a narrative
- many visitors got lost in the linear space
  + distracted
  + fast forward / rewind
  + flat out lost
  + abandon the herd

With digital technologies in 90s - random access
- dial in the stop number
- Supposed to liberate us
- But lost the connective narrative / context

Despite innovations in the technology - the audio tours have low takeup rate (5%)
- Museums trial technologies
- Higher in places with multiple languages (but still only 15-20% at most)

Why is the audio tour falling on deaf ears?
- problem with lost narrative

Video example
- Screen-based devices help craft narrative - allow you to hyperlink to learn about things being talked about.

How do the interfaces help us structure the content?

Ultimately - it is NOT about the technology.
- Content and user experience design
- How can we think outside the original models

- (Can you make the tour part of a fully immersive experience)
- This was done through mobile phones.
- Interactive - making own recording as overlay....
- (Participant immersed AND involved..not just passive)

Mobile in museums meant to open the eyes to see clearly and open hearts to feel more deeply

Also want to Understand more completely

SCAPES is taking early audio tours and structure - transform the audio tour experience and the user
- Physical - triggers audio that have been recorded at that location

- Stops become soundtracks
- Soundtracks become a-linear
- Body becomes the interface
- The mobile tour becomes social - also hearing from everyone else who has shared in this experience
- Asynchronous - share and changes over time

There are question prompts....

People seeded games in the content

Mobile IS Social Media
- Have to understand social behaviors
- Forrester Engagement Ladder
- Watching -> Sharing -> Commenting -> Producing -> Curating (engagement pyramid)

Thinking outside the audio tour box
- From headphones (passive) to microphones (active)

From we do the talking to helping you do the talking
- Interpretation to conversation

SI Mobile Vision - Recruit the world to increase and diffuse knowledge by using mobile platforms to enlist collaborators globally in undertaking the real and important work of the Institution.
- Smithsonian in people's hands vs pockets

Smithsonian Mobile App - set up to fail
- Big donor - I want to pay for Smithsonian Uber App
- Audience: visitor to National Mall
  + Interviewed to find how people used
- No budget for maintenance and content (familiar?)
- Built in crowdsourcing (comments and images) out of necessity
  + Then decided the visitors knew better about visiting smithsonian

Stories from Main Street
- Reskinning of SCAPES ap
- Exhibitions explicitly going to small towns
- Want to use app to listen as much as speaking and invite people to add their oral history re: life in small town
- Include prompts
- 288 contributions

Access American Stories
- So few verbal descriptions of objects - we are not accessible
- Can we record descriptions?  But millions of objects
- Only practical way is to crowdsource
- Again - reskinned SCAPED
- Can vote up good descriptions
- Can flag inappropriate
- Please go to American History museum and try this!

None of the apps have had dedicated budget or staff
Internal clients don't have budgets or staff

Measuring success
- What are the benchmarks?
- Looked at Wikipedia for crowdsourcing benchmark
   - 400 million per month watching / reading, 85,000 producing, 1487 curating
- Smithsonian Mobile App
   - 35k watching, 70 producing, .01 curating
- Stories from Main Street
   - 16K watching, 288 producing, .01 curating

Crowdsourcing vs. Communitysourcing
- Crowdsourcing - you don't know your audience
- Communitysourcing - you know your target audience

Ichyologists - IDed 500 fish specimens using facebook.  Because they are all friends on facebook

Product or Process
- The process of crowdsourcing projects fulfills the mission of digital collections better than the resulting searches. - Trevor Owens
- Getting people to engage is more important than the work product - leaving a tip is more important than the QUALITY of the tip.  The person has become a stakeholder

Mobile is not JUST social media

We need to think of  it as an engagement eco-system
- We may move through all of the positions of watching, sharing, commenting, producing and curating

Don't forget the audio tour - audience MAY want to hear from the experts as well as contribute and engage

Mobile is a distributed network

Museums also a distributed network
- Outside of walls
- Now can look on flickr - not just created by Smithsonian but having to do with Smithsonian

The Museum is Mobile

Smithsonian Mobile Wiki


- Leveraging what people already doing - help people learn
- People more likely to reach out and take picture.  Location dependence may not reflect what people are looking at

Google goggles may be important - but not there yet

Content is the biggest challenge.
- When we do produce content - it is cross platform and portable
- Museum Mobile Wiki

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